how to play links golf

Tips and Tricks for Success: How to Play Links Golf

Last Updated on June 8, 2023

Have you ever wanted to try your luck at links golf? It’s a traditional type of game originating in Scotland and Ireland. Links golf is unique compared to other types of courses because it requires players to use their imagination and skill to navigate the terrain. If you’re looking for an exciting challenge, read this blog post and learn how to play links golf. Let’s start!

History of the Game

Links golf has a long and storied history. It is believed to have originated in Scotland in the 15th century when players would hit stones into rabbit holes using clubs crafted from tree branches. Over time, these rudimentary courses evolved into the more organised layouts we know today, with marked boundaries and hazards such as bunkers and water features.

The first known professional golfer was Old Tom Morris, who worked for the Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland during the mid-1800s. He spearheaded many of the developments that shaped modern links golf, including smaller greens and strategically placed obstacles like sand traps. His work helped spread the popularity of the game across Britain and Ireland, where it remains popular even today.

Course Layout and Design

Links golf courses have a unique design that makes them so popular. They are typically located near the coastline, making use of natural hazards like hills and sand dunes to create an interesting layout. Here are some key elements to look for when playing links golf:

a sports area with trees
  • Links Golf Course Layout: The layout is often long with plenty of wide fairways but also features numerous rough areas, deep bunkers, and mounds along the sides of each hole.
  • Distance Variation: Each hole should provide enough distance variation throughout the course so that players can experience a variety of shots from different angles.
  • Greens Design: The greens on links courses tend to be quite large and undulating with subtle breaks and slopes. This allows for many more pin placements than other types of courses.
  • Hazards/Features: Other features, such as water hazards, blind tee shots, raised tees, false fronts, and pot bunkers, require careful planning and strategy by the golfer to score well.

The combination of these elements creates a challenging yet enjoyable round of golf that requires thoughtfulness and skilful play to master. With its unique layout and design, it’s no wonder why links golf remains one of the most beloved forms of golf around the world.

Equipment Requirements

When playing links golf, it is important to have the right equipment. For starters, golf clubs made for links courses are usually shorter and more flexible than regular golf clubs. The shafts of these clubs often feature a higher degree of flexion that allows players to generate extra power on their swings without losing accuracy or control over the ball. Additionally, balls designed specifically for links courses are typically firmer and spin less when hit compared to other types of golf balls.

The following table outlines essential pieces of equipment needed to play links golf:

Golf ClubsShorter and more flexible shafts with a high degree of flexion
Golf BallsFirmer and spin less than other types of golf balls
Golf GlovesEssential for gripping the club correctly during swing
Golf ShoesSpecialised shoes with spikes for increased traction on course

It is also important to note that wearing proper attire such as long trousers and sweaters can help protect against cold weather conditions which may be prevalent in certain areas where links golf is played. Furthermore, rain gear should always be handy since inclement weather could present itself at any time while out on the course. Taking all this into consideration will make sure you’re properly equipped before hitting your first tee shot!

Tee Shots

Tee shots are the foundation of a successful round of links golf. It is essential to master the tee shot technique and develop an appropriate strategy for each hole, as it will determine how you approach your next stroke. When executing from the tee box, pay close attention to power and accuracy; both should be balanced to achieve optimal results.

Be mindful that some holes require more power than others, so distances vary accordingly. Furthermore, take into account wind direction which can dramatically alter the trajectory of your ball. With practice, you should become comfortable with adjusting your swing on different types of terrain. Note that knowledge about proper tee shot distance and technique can help significantly reduce strokes throughout a round of links golf.

Approach Shots

Now that you know the basics of tee shots, it’s time to move on to approach shots. Approach shot technique is just as important in links golf as it is in any other type of course. When playing approach shots, make sure your clubface is square and the ball placement is off your left foot (for right-handed players). This will help ensure accuracy and consistency when hitting approach shots.

Fairway approach shots should be hit with a controlled high trajectory, which helps keep them from running through the green or into bunkers. It also allows for more control over distance in windy conditions. You can also play lower trajectory approaches depending on the hole characteristics; however, this requires more precision since there’s less margin for error if you miss the target area. Be aware of how much rollout you have after landing due to firm fairways and fast greens before considering club selection for an approach shot.

Pitching and Chipping

Pitching and chipping are two important skills in links golf. The history of the game is often associated with a challenging course layout, which includes large bunkers and numerous other obstacles that require pitching and chipping accuracy to get around them. Links courses usually have fewer trees than traditional courses, so players need to be prepared for more shots from uneven lies or even out of deep rough. Therefore, good technique and proper equipment are essential when it comes to playing links golf successfully.

a good angle shot to win the tournament

A player’s choice of club will depend on the yardage they want to travel and the situation they face on the course; wedges, irons, hybrids, and fairway woods can all be used for different types of pitches. For example, if you’re facing a long bunker shot, then you may use an iron such as a 3-iron or 4-iron depending on your distance requirements. On shorter bunker shots, however, you’ll likely use one of your higher lofted wedges like a sand wedge or gap wedge.

Chipping also requires precision to ensure the ball lands close enough to the hole so that only one putt is needed for par or better. A variety of clubs can be utilised here too based on how far away from the hole the ball landed after each chip shot. Again having quality equipment and knowing what type of club works best for different scenarios will help optimise scoring potential during rounds of links golf. All these aspects must be taken into account if one wants to play well in this classic style of golfing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best Clubs for Links Golf?

When it comes to links golf, having the right clubs can make all the difference. Whether you’re choosing clubs for links golf, playing with them or just want to know what are the best clubs for this style of game, there are some important things to consider.

Firstly, when selecting a club set for links golf, look out for equipment that is designed specifically for the conditions and terrain of the course you’ll be playing on. This might mean investing in heavier woods suitable for windy days, as well as wedges that offer increased spin control around the greens.

Here are 3 key points to keep in mind when deciding which clubs will work best:

  • Look at your individual needs and preferences – everyone has different swing habits, so choose clubs appropriate for yours.
  • Consider whether you should go with custom fit options – these may cost more, but they often provide better performance overall.
  • Think about how much time you’re willing to spend maintaining your clubs – if regular upkeep isn’t something you have time or interest in, then opt for more durable materials like graphite shafts and titanium heads.

So remember, while picking out your perfect set of links golf clubs requires some thought and research, it doesn’t have to be an arduous process! With the right knowledge and guidance, finding the perfect set-up can help take your game to new levels on any type of course.

How Do Wind and Weather Conditions Affect Links Golf?

Wind and weather conditions are essential elements to consider when playing links golf. On a windy day, the direction of the wind can dramatically affect how you play your shots. For example, it may be possible to hit longer drives on downwind holes than upwind ones. Similarly, the weather plays an important role in setting course conditions. It is common for courses near water or along coasts to suffer from wetter ground than other courses would experience due to exposure to sea air and rain. This can have a significant impact on how one approaches their shot selection; particularly with regard to ball placement around hazards like bunkers as these areas become more difficult to navigate in wetter conditions.


In conclusion, learning how to play links golf is a unique and exhilarating experience. As with all types of golf, it’s important to have the right clubs for the course. Irons are most commonly used since they provide more control in windy conditions. It’s also wise to factor weather into your strategy – playing toward the wind will often lead to less distance but greater accuracy.

The challenge of links golf comes from its narrow fairways and undulating terrain, so careful planning of each shot can be essential for success. Respectful etiquette should also be observed when playing this type of course – not only out of courtesy towards other players but also because many courses require you to stay on paths between holes or keep off certain areas altogether.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced golfer, taking time to understand how best to play Links golf can give you great satisfaction as you enjoy a different side to the game we love!

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