How to Play Links Golf

When sheep huddled in hollows of sandy linksland to shelter from freezing North Sea winds off the coast of Scotland, the first golf bunkers were created. When roaming livestock grazed on the tough links grasses man saw an opportunity to mark out hard running greens and fairways for a new sport called golf.

To this day, playing links golf – in Scotland and Ireland – or at one of the prestigious venues for the Open Championship, is the dream golf tour. Many golfers travel from all over the world on a pilgrimage to the world’s best links golf courses.

If you’ve never battled strong sea breezes, or aimed down a fairway lined by gorse bushes you’ll probably feel you are playing a different game.

Global Golfer’s editor Matthew Moore, a one handicap golfer, lived in St Andrews for four years and devoted himself to learning the art of links golf.

Here is a practical guide to playing links golf.

Learn to knuckle the ball off the tee

Fairways at links courses can be narrow and lined by gorse (a hard dense prickly shrub), pot bunkers and thick tall rough fescue grasses.

When the wind blows hard, it’s difficult to keep the ball in play and out of trouble, especially if you are used to driving the ball high through the air with a lot of spin and shape.

To play links courses well you need to drive the ball low and straight, under the wind, with less spin so that it lands and runs down the fairways.

You can do this by hitting the “knuckle ball” with your driver. This shot creates a low top spinning flight that releases and runs on landing.

Here’s how:

· Tee the ball low, quite tight to the turf

· Choke right down on the grip

· Address the ball out of the middle of your stance

· Stack 60% of your weight on your left side

· Swing with a three quarter length at a smooth tempo, resisting the temptation to hit the ball hard and focusing on making a sweet strike

Remember, as with all full shots in the wind, the harder you hit the ball the more spin you create and the higher you will hit it, exposing it to the wind.

The knuckle ball drive will be shorter than your usual drives, but will make up for it by running on the hard links fairways. Best of all, it’s accurate and great for beating the wind and keeping the ball on short grass rather than in the gorse – which almost certainly equals a penalty drop.

Play with Punch not Ego

It’s not unusual to find yourself facing a shot of 125 yards into a tiny raised up green with a gale force wind blowing into your face. This is when you have to leave your ego behind, forget you hit gap wedge 130 yards if you swing full out, and play smart by choosing a much longer club and punching it to keep the flight down and reduce spin.

To play links golf well, you have to accept you will sometimes hit a 4-iron from 140 yards or an 8-iron when you only have 85 yards left. You do this by playing the punch shot – the links golfer’s best friend.

To punch the shot means to play with a shorter backswing, de-lofting the club for a lower flight and using your forearms and body together to shorten your follow through and punch aggressively through the ball at impact.

Top tips for punch shots:

· Grip down the shaft

· Position the ball further back in your stance towards your right foot

· Move your hands slightly further ahead of the ball

· Shift 65% of your weight onto your left side

· Swing ¾ length and punch through the shot with a shortened follow through below shoulder height

The lower the flight the less likely it is to be affected by the wind.

Make adjustments for the ball flying in lower and aim to land it short of the flagstick and allow it to run out towards the hole.

Practical Putting

If you usually play on inland golf courses or at golf resorts, you probably use your lob wedge and your sand wedge most when chipping around the green, throwing the ball high and landing it soft.

At a links courses the strong winds can buffet the ball from the shortest of distances and make accurate chipping difficult. Also, it’s rare to find thick rough around a links green, the most common hazards are bunkers, run offs, bank sides and hollows, which makes it possible to put the wedge away and use the putter from off the green.

At The Open Championship you will have seen top professionals putting from 25 yards off the green with great results. This is because putting from off the green is one of the best short game choices you can make on a links. The fairways are usually extremely tight making nipping the ball off the hard turf a precise skill – and it’s easy to thin, blade or skull the shot.

Your worst putt will always be better than your worse chip, so look at the slope and undulation of the land, be practical and use your putter to get the ball up and down.

Bump and Run makes the game fun

You will have heard about the Scottish bump and run or seen it played. This low flying shot lands short of the green or just on the green and rolls out towards the hole like a putt.

If you have nothing between yourself and the flag then the bump and run is a brilliant option because once it lands it starts to behave like a putt and can track towards the hole. Links greens can be undulating and sloping and so landing a high chip or pitch onto a hard downslope can cause inconsistent bounces and erratic results.

How to bump and run:

· Address the ball off the right foot

· Use anything from a five iron to a 9-iron

· Weight 70% on the left side

· Sternum ahead of the ball

· Heads ahead of the ball, club sitting upright

· Make a putting stroke and hit crisply down into the back off the ball

· Pick a spot just on the green to land it and let it run towards the hole

Lie of the land

A caddie at The Old Course at St Andrews, Turnberry or Troon would tell you that it takes time to get to know the subtleties and nuances of links land and learn the bounce of the ball. Often slopes and natural features can funnel the ball towards the hole, squeeze extra yards from a drive or prevent a ball from going in a hazard.

Buying a yardage chart and studying the contours and slopes of each hole is a good idea but you can’t beat being alert and observant when you are playing the course. Watch how partners balls bounce, look at sloping fairways and anticipate if you need to play to the right for a kick to the left.

Sometimes on a links the last place you will aim is the flag, because you might need to hit it 30 yards right to catch a shoot that funnels the ball left to the hole.

Hybrid Heaven

The worst thing you can do when playing links golf in a wind is hit hard onto the back of the ball with a steep swing squeezing the ball up into the air and applying backspin to it. The shot will balloon and the wind will exaggerate the spin forcing it into trouble.

A good way to get around this is to have a number of hybrid clubs or utility clubs to pick from. By using a hybrid with a shallower flatter swing you can pick the ball off the top of the grass and sweep it towards the target.

It’s easier to hit lower shots that have less spin and are more accurate by hitting hybrids rather than trying to drive down hard on long irons.

Make the wind your friend

The chances are that it will be windy on your links golf tour. It’s vital you make the wind your friend not your foe. The easiest way is to play with the wind rather than against it. Instead of trying to cut a three iron into a right to left wind, take a 5-iron and aim further right allowing the ball to ride the wind. It’s the same with a driver, cutting a ball into a right to left wind can take fully 80-yards off your tee shot, but, set up for a right to left draw and aim further right can result in big drives and simpler second shots.

Use the wind to your advantage and remember the harder you hit, the higher it flies and the stronger the effect on the ball and its spin.

Take your medicine in Bunkers

Our final tip for playing links golf is to be able to take your medicine and play safe when you find yourself in bunkers. Have you heard of the “Sands of Nakijima”?, more commonly called the “Road Hole” bunker at the 17th on The Old Course at St Andrews.

It’s typical of the deep pot bunkers with riveted faces common on the links courses of Scotland, Ireland and Wales. I mention it here because it’s a classic example of how a round can come unstuck when a golfer tries to execute a miracle recovery from a deep bunker. If you aren’t at least 90% certain you can clear the lip don’t risk duffing it into a riveted face and having it drop straight down into an even worse spot.

It’s no shame to play out sideways or even backwards from a links pot bunker if it means you can save a bogey or even better stop yourself making a quad or scoring in double figures.

Opt for the conservative shot that will guarantee you have at least a chance of a reasonable score – if you don’t you might find a bunker named after you.

Once again, here’s the short version of Global Golfer’s top-tips for playing Links Golf.

· Knuckle ball your drives

· Play with punch not ego

· Be practical putt from off the green

· Bump and run to make the game fun

· Learn the lie of the land

· Hybrids are heavenly on the links

· Make the wind your friend

· Take your medicine in the bunkers

If Websites Are The Heart Of The World Wide Web, Linking Is Its Soul

Websites are the heartbeat of the World Wide Web. The activity, the noise of the World Wide Web, the bump and grind, all takes place at the website. That’s were the action is. People seek information when they come online. That information is found on websites.

Most of us know that when you hop on board the super-highway, you get a ride like no other. You may find yourself conducting business in the cold lands of Norway, and within the very same minute you have traversed the super-highway to Hawaii. It’s that easy my friends.

Stop and ask yourself this key question, how do we get from Norway to Hawaii? And how do we get there so fast?

Links! Pure and simple. Links!

Ever wonder about criss-crossing vast oceans and zig-zagging through international time zones with impunity? The super-highway takes you on a never ending story ride. Links are like little conduits that keep the super-highway connected. If Websites are the heart of the World Wide Web, then its interconnectedness through linking, has to be the soul.

Natural Links

Recently, while I was working on my website, my sons Godfather popped by to say hi. He asked about the computer work that I was doing, so I explained it to him as best I could. At the time I was working with links.

After he left, he went home and explained to his computer savvy wife what I was doing. She has a huge complex (to me) website. Her website is closely themed with my website. Certainly a link from her website wouldn’t harm me in any way. (Don’t know why I never asked.)

When the dust had settled, she gave me several links. I was most thankful, and I told her so. The links she gave me were natural links because I never planned on getting them. Nor did I pay or ask for them. They were naturally given. Although I must concede, my great friend may have had something to do with me getting them.

Deep links

Additionally, it appears as though my great friend (yes, he’s great now), convinced his wife to give me some deep links also. I have 12 pages of content on this particular website. She gave me links to 5 of those content pages, plus a link to my home page.

Those 5 links are considered deep links because she went beyond my home page and gave links to my content pages. Everyone generally gives links to my home page. But she went beyond my home page, deeper into my website and gave links to my content pages.
She was very generous.

Believe it or not roads are somewhat like links. What if you built this fantastic house for your family but without a road leading to your house? How would the mailman get to your house? What about your wife’s mother? Well, maybe that’s a bad example.

But you get what I’m trying to say here don’t you? Roads are like links. You can drive along the super-highway, and eventually end up right into your own garage. Links are important, so learn all you can about them. We’ll discuss back links next time. I call them the super links.

Understanding the Best Link Building Services

Have you heard of link building? Do you know what it’s used for and why it’s so important to search engine optimization and your online success? If not, then you may want to read on to understand more about this online marketing service that you can find from the best internet marketing service providers throughout the world.

Links are used by search engines to identify your web pages and even to determine your ranking in search results. Now you may not have known this, but links provide you with access to a global audience. As you probably know the internet has created one of the most competitive market places in the world and where your business may have been competing with a handful of other companies in the past, online you are competing with thousands, so you need to utilise all the online marketing tools to ensure your clients get to see your name and click on the link to visit your website.

The focus of link building is to get external sites that are in the same industry as you to link to a page on your website. Now as you may have guessed, this is not an easy task. How do you get someone else to direct their traffic to your website so you can benefit? With links of course. Links will navigate your customer and push them to your site to dramatically improve your website traffic and in turn, boost your online revenue moving forward.

As you probably have already imagined, link building is not a quick and easy task. In fact it is very time consuming and difficult, so unless you or one of your team have time on their hands, it is advisable to make use of the best link building service providers and get them to do the hard work for you. Not to mention, this is what they do every day, so they know what is needed to help you achieve online success.

That being said, it is imperative that any links to your website are of the highest quality and how do you determine this. Some sites are seen as more authoritative than others and search engines love authority websites. So you will need to find someone who has the experience to put your links onto these pages, so when they get traffic, you benefit as a result.

What you have probably figured out by now is that the best link building services are a major factor to Google rankings. Google, the leading search engine provider, relies heavily on links to enable their systems to crawl various websites and learn more about them. Which means that keywords, content and more is not really effective without superior quality links to appeal to Google and give them the opportunity to boost your ranking moving forward.

In addition to this, there is also the need for internal links. Now that you know about the best link building services to drive traffic to your website, you need to focus on making your website easy to navigate and provide an enjoyable experience for your clients. You want customers to stay on your site for as long as possible. The longer they stay the higher the chances that they will act, whether it’s contacting you with questions, making a purchase or calling you in to provide a service.

Internal links are links between the pages on your website. This means that you can redirect clients to your home page, your about us page and specific products and services to make their online experience that bit more enjoyable.