Many is the Yankee who has crossed the Atlantic Ocean with golf clubs in tow, only to find out the way to hit certain shots in Philadelphia is not necessarily the way to hit those same shots in Fife.
The learning curve of links golf can be intimidating to some, but once you understand the ways the firm turf and ever-present wind can change the dynamics of golf, it is actually not that difficult to make the adjustments that will help you play well over there. What's more, embracing the differences between links golf and the more North American-type game you are likely used to can add some variety to your skills, to the point where you can save more shots at home, too.
Martin Hall, who hosts Golf Channel's School of Golf along with Blair O'Neal, has played lots of links golf in his life. We recently dipped into our archives and unearthed a series of tips he shot at the R&A's testing facility near St. Andrews that explains a bit of the science around the Open Championship, and how understanding it can make you a better golfer when next you visit Scotland or Ireland, as well as at home.
Escaping Deep Bunkers
You've heard the term "pot bunkers" many times at links-wannabe courses in the U.S., but they're more common in the UK and Ireland. At the ancient links there, they mean business, and you can end up feeling like you're having to hit a ball out of a bathtub if you're not careful.
Conquering Nasty Rough
Fescue is the dominant grass variety on links golf courses, and while it's typically fairly wispy, when it's wet, it can be a nightmare to play out of. Here, Martin shows you what to do out of deep rough lies.
Playing Downwind Approach Shots
On inland golf courses, golfers struggle to hit the ball far enough. But because the ground is so firm on links golf courses, it can often be more of a challenge to get the ball to stop rolling, especially on downwind shots. Here, Martin leans on the experience of Tiger Woods to help you tackle these tricky approaches.
Bonus Tip: Golf Ball Dimples
Why are there dimples on golf balls? How does this bit of physics affect your own game? This interesting look at the evolution of golf equipment will show you.