7 tips to playing the links course
By: B.T. Pilarcik
The game of golf may have been invented in Scotland, but it was perfected by the Irish. Or so says a common Irish saying about their beloved game. The fact that Ireland has over 400 courses, and some of the best in the world, certainly bolsters the claim.
And while there are plenty of great courses in the Emerald Isle, one of the most special is found on the southwestern coast: Ballybunion Golf Club. This venerable club has two 18-hole courses, a Castle Course and a Cashen Course (renovated in 2000 by Robert Trent Jones II), both named after nearby rivers. But it’s the seaside Old Course that will leave you speechless and make you fall in love with links golf all over again. It’s also considered one of the top 20 courses in the world (often making Golf Digest’s Top 100 list). Here are some tips to playing this historic links course (or any links course for that matter):
1) Don’t get caught up on your score here. Sure it’s a great course and you want to play well, but when you’re playing on such an historic site, just enjoy it for
The links course is characterized by a few key features. It is typically stripped of trees and features tall grasses and sand dunes, a sandy soil, and it often incorporates water hazards. In other words, it is very different from the lush golf courses we are used to in the U.S. Here are some tips for playing the links course:
1. Make Sure You Have The Right Clubs: The links course requires a different set of clubs than what you typically use on other courses in the U.S. Suggested clubs include 3-wood, 3-iron through pitching wedge, sand wedge, and putter. You will not need long irons or hybrids unless you plan to play a lot of golf courses that are not links courses on your trip as well.
2. Practice Your Chipping: The most important shot on a links course is the chip shot, so get some practice in before you go!
3. Learn How To Play A Draw: On a links course you will have to play many shots with a draw. One day we will do a post specifically about playing draws but for now we’ll say that if you can hit a draw, you’ll be much more successful on the links course than if you try to play fade shots all
Playing a links golf course is a unique experience. The courses are typically situated on sandy, undulating ground and are often exposed to the elements, especially wind.
If you’re playing a links course and are not used to this type of course, it can be challenging. To help you out and make your game as enjoyable as possible, we’ve put together 7 tips to help you play better on a links course.
1. The Wind Is Your Enemy
The wind is usually blowing on a links course, so you need to learn how to play in the wind. If there’s a strong wind blowing into your face, for example, you need to hit the ball higher. That means using more lofted clubs such as hybrids and fairway woods instead of long irons or drivers.
If the wind is behind you, hit the ball lower by taking one club less than usual and make sure that your swing is smooth and controlled. Also aim at flags that are further away than normal since the wind will blow the ball further down the hole.
2. Don’t Tee It Up Too High
Many amateurs tee up their ball too high which results in a steep downswing that only produces low shots which often roll along the ground and don’t travel very far at
With the summer coming to an end and the wind picking up, it’s time to start thinking links golf. Here are my top tips for playing a links course:
1. Play in the Summer
This may sound obvious but links golf is best played in the height of summer when there is no rain and no wind. I’m lucky enough to be able to play plenty of links golf this coming August when I’m on holiday in Scotland.
2. Club selection
Links golf is all about using your lower irons as much as possible so you can flight the ball low through the wind. These courses are very different from courses with lush fairway and greens surrounded by trees and water hazards.
3. Pack a lunch
You’ll need some sustenance for these links courses! They’re generally quite long and don’t have any pubs or restaurants nearby so it’s best to take a packed lunch with you if you’re planning on playing a full 18 holes (or more!).
4. Beware of blind spots
The majority of links courses are situated right next to the beach so make sure you keep an eye out for stray balls that have been hit into traps or bunkers (and also out-of-bounds areas!). It’s also worth noting that although most
The links typify the game of golf. You’ll be challenged by the rugged, natural terrain, holes carved out of the landscape, and a sea breeze that changes direction without notice.
You’ll also find that your shot-making skills will be tested to the limit, since there is no such a thing as a flat lie on the links. The ball will always be either above or below your feet, forcing you to alter your stance accordingly. At times you’ll even have to play off the side of a dune or from a tightly mown swale between two hummocks.
Links courses are not for the faint of heart. If you’re playing this type of course for the first time, here are a few pointers that should help you avoid some obvious pitfalls:
1. The ball doesn’t always go where you want it to.
The ground is very hard and the ball can run along the ground.
2. If a hole is uphill, aim left and allow the ball to roll right.
3. If a hole is downhill, aim right and allow the ball to roll left.
4. Watch out for hidden bunkers.
5. When you are in a bunker, swing in soft sand (not hard) and swing low through the sand as not to hit the top of it and hit the ball in front of you.
6. When putting don’t be afraid to hit it past the hole as the ball will often roll back towards it; better than hitting it short!
7. Enjoy yourself, you are playing golf after all!