The word Links is a derivative from an ancient Scottish word “hilinc” which means rising ground or ridge. This referred primarily to land in a coastal region often comprising sand dunes or lathe park areas.
Most of the original Links courses were found in Scotland and are still most common in the UK. To date the Open Championship has always been played on a Links course. Although most Links courses are due to their natural location, many courses worldwide have been designed to emulate the experience, including the PGA tournament course at Pebble Mill in the United States.
In direct contrast to manicured fairways, lush foliage and manmade bunkers and water hazards of regular courses, a Links course will have uneven fairways, natural pot bunkers, and thick roughs. Moreover, the lack of trees means wind speed is a major factor and rain, sleet and even snow can make the challenge even more challenging!
To play a decent round of Links golf you will need to make some fundamental change to your game.
When you tee off keep the ball low to avoid the wind. Take a wider stance, grip down on your driver and use a slower swing.
At some point, you are bound to find yourself in a pot bunker. To get out safely use a pitch shot, you will want the ball, the sand, and your club all to go in the right direction. Try approaching the ball slightly forward in your stance. If your shot is uphill a little more weight on your back foot will help.
Approach shots to the green will benefit from the “bump and run” shot. Take a putting stance and use a straight back, straight forward stroke keeping your hands ahead of the clubhead.
For tight lies keep your grip light and concentrate on making your full swing and don’t rush or slow down, you will be surprised how effective this will be.
Greens can be really daunting for long putts so try aiming for an area rather than a specific spot. Examine the area carefully and play with enough break to keep the ball on track for the hole.
The first time you attempt a Links course you may be frustrated, but if you fine tune the tips, we have given you and incorporate them into your game it won’t be long before you appreciate the rewards you will gain from conquering the “Daddy” of all golf courses.