Links-specific skills advice sought

evemccc

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I’ve absolutely loved the links courses I’ve played (10 / 11 or so) and have got a few classic links courses lined up for 2022

What are the specific things or technique I should work on or adjust for when I play links golf?

I learnt that I’d previously been lucky with mostly benign weather conditions, but West Lancs this autumn was the first time I’d had severe wind to deal with. It was a challenge and something new for me to deal with..at first I had no clue really what to do in a strong headwind ?

So far I’ve got: bump-and-runs, punch-shots keeping the ball low into a head wind. But what else does links golf require, in terms of weather and turf conditions that is different to parkland / downland courses?
 

HomerJSimpson

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For me, as someone who doesn't play links golf enough, I wouldn't try and learn too many different shots but use what I have to my advantage and if its breezy let the wind do the work to move the ball. For me, the chip and run and the ability to get the ball up out of sand would be my key focus
 

Foxholer

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Don't forget that crosswinds can be as, or even more, destructive as/than head winds!
And as Homer may be infering....links bunker are often more pot like, so getting the ball up fast is a skill worth developing.
Links fairways are often not as 'flat' as parkland ones and the ball can run quite a bit further too, especially in Winter, so not getting 'depressed' when the ball bounces oddly - particularly occasionally into quite penal rough - is a 'mental skill' worth developing too!
Rescue/hybrid putt, from short of/around the green can be helpful too - compared to use of wedges/pitch&run.
 
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When playing a links I'll usually swap out my 5 wood for a 2 iron as it has a much lower flight. Another thing to learn is that you usually have to land the ball short of the green unless into the wind then let it run on rather than firing at flags.
 

SteveJay

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Ive been through this dilemma, having been a member at 2 inland parkland courses, then moving and joining a links course, having never played one in my life.

Most of the points above hold true. I hit the ball high, but actually don't try to change that. Biggest skill I think, is learning the likely impact of wind. Its amazing how sometimes a severe crosswind makes barely any difference to the direction of your shot, and on other days you need to aim way right or left, or take much more or less club.

The things I have done though,
- is play far more running shots into greens - up to 60-80 yards I rarely hit a lofted wedge.
- "chip" or "putt" with a 7 wood (or use a hybrid) on tight lies around greens.
- Don't worry too much about yardages to the flag. Play to land approach shots short of the green, otherwise you will run through most of the time.
- improve your bunker play, they are tough and numerous.
- practice getting out of the rough (have to use loft) and don't be ambitious. Sometimes getting back on the fairway a few yards nearer the hole is the best you can hope for.
- I play with a seasoned links 4 handicapper and learn a lot from him, worth playing with someone like that!!
 
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I’ve absolutely loved the links courses I’ve played (10 / 11 or so) and have got a few classic links courses lined up for 2022

What are the specific things or technique I should work on or adjust for when I play links golf?

I learnt that I’d previously been lucky with mostly benign weather conditions, but West Lancs this autumn was the first time I’d had severe wind to deal with. It was a challenge and something new for me to deal with..at first I had no clue really what to do in a strong headwind ?

So far I’ve got: bump-and-runs, punch-shots keeping the ball low into a head wind. But what else does links golf require, in terms of weather and turf conditions that is different to parkland / downland courses?

Don't fight headwinds, club up and then club up a bit more as most people don't club up enough.

Off the tee just accept the massive distance loss, don't try and hit it harder you will just spin it more and lose yardage or even worse just go further sideways.

Downwind, enjoy hitting it miles but you may be bringing trouble you thought out of range into play. Access quickly how far the ball is running and be prepared to hit fairway woods or irons off the tee.

Closer to the green you play all sort of shots. long distance putt is a favourite of our seniors, bump and run and standard lofted shots although the high floater best avoided into the wind/side wind. Having a variety of shots is handy, I work backwards from finding a flat landing area to determine the shot I want to play. In summer you will at some stage face a chip over a bunker off a hard pan lie, learn this shot it will save you a lot of pain. Links bunkers generally have superb sand, just hope you are not stuck in the corner of a deep one....

Most of all don't play shots that you are not comfortable with, play the shots you can play and just enjoy it. If its really windy and you are off your game you can run up a cricket score no matter how good you are. You certainly have been lucky to find benign conditions, you have missed out on so much fun though :D;)
 

clubchamp98

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Course management is crucial on links.
Laying up when you can’t get on is just as important given all bunkers seem to gather your ball.
Think where you want to hit your next shot from.
Just enjoy it.
 

SteveJay

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Don't fight headwinds, club up and then club up a bit more as most people don't club up enough.

This................!!!
Played today in 20 mph + winds. Shortest par 3 on the course, flag about 120 yards, straight into wind. Hit 6 iron and it went exactly.......103 yards :LOL:
Playing partner, a 4 HC, hit the same club and went about the same (only he found a bunker, I was on the fringe). It can be brutal.
 

evemccc

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Don't fight headwinds, club up and then club up a bit more as most people don't club up enough.

Off the tee just accept the massive distance loss, don't try and hit it harder you will just spin it more and lose yardage or even worse just go further sideways.

Downwind, enjoy hitting it miles but you may be bringing trouble you thought out of range into play. Access quickly how far the ball is running and be prepared to hit fairway woods or irons off the tee.

Closer to the green you play all sort of shots. long distance putt is a favourite of our seniors, bump and run and standard lofted shots although the high floater best avoided into the wind/side wind. Having a variety of shots is handy, I work backwards from finding a flat landing area to determine the shot I want to play. In summer you will at some stage face a chip over a bunker off a hard pan lie, learn this shot it will save you a lot of pain. Links bunkers generally have superb sand, just hope you are not stuck in the corner of a deep one....

Most of all don't play shots that you are not comfortable with, play the shots you can play and just enjoy it. If its really windy and you are off your game you can run up a cricket score no matter how good you are. You certainly have been lucky to find benign conditions, you have missed out on so much fun though :D;)

Some great advice here, thanks for the detailed response

Spin rates, and not hitting it too hard into a headwind is something that is so important to learn!

What clubs on hard-Pan lies should be used around the green for chips on links courses?

Re: benign conditions on links treat courses. Have to add though that @IanM and I didn’t have benign conditions the day we played (or attempted to play) Birkdale however. Everyone on the course were forced to walk off and the pro said it was the worst weather he’d ever seen ?
 

Jimaroid

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What clubs on hard-Pan lies should be used around the green for chips on links courses?

Depending on distance a 7,8 or 9 iron are generally my preferred club for chipping around greens.

Chipping with a low bounce wedge is generally hopeless. Unless it’s winter and off mats when it’s an absolute joy and feels like cheating.

Edit. I’ve settled on only carrying one wedge and for that to be a 52/8 as that does everything.
 
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IanM

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Remember Rob, the guy we played with at West Lancs was a wizard with his 6 iron! Anywhere he didn't need to lift it over an obstruction. J

I prefer a 8 iron, but get it rolling.

At W Lancs that day, the down wind par 3s were harder than those into it. Stopping the ball was really tough. Putting was also impacted.

Mind you, standing upright wasn't easy either
 
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What clubs on hard-Pan lies should be used around the green for chips on links

Safest shot is 8 or 9 iron chip and run but need to be able to float one over a bunker with the low bounce lobber at times.

Don't go digging after the ball, just be nice and shallow and brush the ball away. Failing that go around the bunker if it's not a shot you fancy.
 
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