What Is a Links Golf Course and How Can I Practice for One?

Written by on March 14, 2020 in Stuff with 0 Comments
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For most beginners, golf may appear to be a complex sport given the sport's unique lingua and rules. You can, however, perfect your craft at it by understanding the basic rules as well as familiarizing yourself with the equipment needed and the different types of golf courses there are. Not all golf courses are the same, with courses grouped by access, by size, and by design. In terms of setting or design, there are three main types of golf courses around the world, each with different characteristics. These are links, parkland, and desert golf courses. Compared to your typical standard golf course, a links golf course has several unique characteristics that set it apart. If you are looking to improve your golfing skill and enhance your mental fortitude, you may want to know what a links golf course is and how to practice to play on one.

What is a Links Golf Course?

A links is the oldest style of golf course you can play, one that was first developed in Scotland. The word “links” comes from the ancient Scots language and refers to coastal strips of land, typically characterized by sand dunes, a wavy surface, sandy soil, and very few trees if any. In its purest sense, this term specifically makes reference to the seaside areas in Scotland. One of the reasons why golf originated on this type of terrain is because the hard surface allowed the ball to run much farther, making it suitable for play. While some golfers enjoy the unobstructed course made possible by lack of trees, grass and the high dunes are unforgiving and can swallow the ball.

It is believed that golf originated in Scotland in the 15th century. Stretches of coastal land with sandy soil were considered useless as they were unsuitable for crops. Apart from the poor quality of the soil, the almost ever-present winds made it difficult for vegetation to thrive. Since farmers could not use the lands, golf course designers made alternate use of them by developing golf courses. From these humble beginnings, links-style golf courses emerged. Today, there are many beautiful and historic links golf courses not only in Scotland but also in Ireland, Wales, and England. However, Scotland has the highest concentration of this type of courses, with the famous St. Andrews regarded as the home of golf.

Links Characteristics

A typical links golf course is situated alongside a body of water and consists of sandy soil. Apart from a few trees and a tall, thick rough of native grasses, the course has very little vegetation. A true links course features many bunkers, most of them deep and known as pot bunkers. These help to prevent sand from blowing away. Due to the lack of trees, these courses are generally windier than the standard courses. The layout of the holes on a links course is such that the first nine go out to the farthest point from the clubhouse, while the second nine bring you back. In order to have a great game on a links course, you will need a different strategy of attack. There is a good chance the course will favor you if you can play low, accurate shots.

During the early years, course designers had limited resources to move the ground and shape a course in the manner they would have liked. Today, things have changed remarkably, with modern links-style having subtle differences from the original ones but maintaining the core design. Designers develop these courses to look like traditional links courses, but the style varies from one course to the other. However, many links courses are not built along the coast, with a good number situated inland provided they are made under the right circumstances.

How Can I Practice to Play on One?

Both amateur and seasoned golfers dream of playing a great game of golf on a links course. However, considering the challenges associated with the golf courses, it is important to practice how to play on one. Due to the winds, the challenges are very different from what you will experience in most inland courses. As such, you need to embrace the differences and learn how to handle them. Only after mastering the unique techniques and strategies will you have a fulfilling experience.

When preparing for your round, there are three shots you may need to work on. Here are tips to help you improve your golfing skills on the terrain.

The Knockdown Driver

If you want to play well on a links-type golf course, you should keep your tee shot in the fairway. While the fescue grass and gorse bushes are not comparable to the intimidating trees you may be used to, they can swallow the balls. For this shot, you should try to tee the ball low and grip down on the driver for increased control and a shorter swing. During the follow-through, keep the clubhead low to reduce the effect of the strong winds on your shot. Thanks to the firm fairways, your shot will still roll a good distance away. You can practice your tee shot at a night time driving range.

The Bump-and-Run

When playing on a links golf course, you will have plenty of shots around the green. The best way to play them is to get the ball on the ground as soon as you can. You may want to practice chipping and pitching using lower lofted clubs. Frequent practice will help to get comfortable with the different distances that the ball travels with every club.

Bunker Shots

When it comes to bunker shots, there are two types of shots you will need to familiarize yourself with. You may experience bunker walls of incredible sizes, making it necessary to use the right technique to get the ball up. For the high bunker shot, open the blade wide and concentrate on touching the sand behind the ball. Since most of the shots in links-style golf are difficult, you should consider relying on a smart bunker shot. This may involve hitting a shot away from your target so as to avoid a big number of shots and improve your score.

Even as you practice to play on a links course, it is recommended that you walk the course while playing. A stroll allows you to enjoy the beautiful vista that surrounds you, enjoy the traditions and architecture of the game as well as feel the undulations in the terrain as you plan and walk towards your next shot.

Practice at Home First

Apart from a good golf course, you should also have the very best equipment, including a reliable golf driving range mat. Rawhide Golf Ball Company stocks and sells high-quality golf mats and golf balls to help you improve your skill and mental fortitude. Visit our website today to place your order.

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