Our List of Ten
Everyone loves lists and Monarchs House is no exception. Lists bring order, weighting, and conversation. And just because it is our list, it doesn’t have to be yours as well.
Today, we decided to put together our list of 10 things you should know about playing links golf for the first time. It is by no means definitive but something for you to consider if you are playing true links golf in the UK and Ireland.
1. The greens are very consistent from hole to hole. Visually links golf greens look slow but don’t be fooled. They consistently run quick. And wind plays a huge part in putting (and every other part of your game for that matter) Factor wind direction along with the green’s break.
2. Fairway turf is hard and fast. Your drive will roll further than you have ever experienced before. And sometimes as a result, you will roll right into trouble.
3. Shape your shot with the wind Use the wind to your advantage. If it is blowing left to right, let your fade take you down the fairway by aiming further left than normal. Once on the ground, your ball will run on the hard turf. See #2
4. Take your medicine in the bunkers High walled bunkers are intimidating. Sometimes you need to let discretion be the better part of valour and hit to the side or even backwards toward the tee. You may recall the 2000 Open Championship when David Duval left 3 shots in the Old Course’s Road Hole Bunker before extricating himself.
5. A good caddy is an enormous help Caddies have seen it all many times over. Listen carefully. When you look at the fairway from the tee, there are usually many unseen obstacles waiting to blindside your round. A good caddy will help you avoid these and also prove invaluable around the greens. If you would rather tote your own clubs, a Strokesaver course guide is a good investment.
6. Get the ball on the ground quickly around the green Greens are where the game is won or lost. When you are off the green, putt or chip if at all possible. Use the shape and contours of the turf as opposed to lofting the ball into the wind.
7. Play quickly Watch Rory McIlroy play. He is always ready to hit or putt when it is his turn. His playing tempo is pure economy of motion. He assesses the situation quickly, takes his setup, and swings. Links golf should take no longer than 4 hours but 3 ½ or less is best. Lose the plumb bobbing.
8. Pick a base camp where there is density of links courses If you are in Scotland, there are 5 great hubs for playing links golf, St Andrews, North Berwick, Turnberry, Aberdeen and Inverness. Pick one and stay for a week. One thing you don’t want to do is spend your golfing holiday travelling around the country trying to tick all the boxes. It’s exhausting and impractical. See our previous posting here.
9. Get in a good stretch before your round Most courses don’t have driving ranges and as a result you will need to warm up and prepare in other ways. A good 15 minutes stretch will do the trick.
10. Bring your water proofs (not water resistant) It may only rain for a hole or two but you must be prepared. Why ruin the rest of your round because you were soaked in a flash rain storm.
There are many more things we could add to this list but these should provide a good jumping off point. Have fun and be courteous. If you have played links golf, tell us your tips.