Five Shots You Need To Master Links Golf

Carnoustie Golf Links Spectacles bunkers 14

David Cannon/R&A

July 17, 2018

Links golf is an unusual experience for all of the land-locked golfers out there. The rolling, seaside courses are first striking in how visually different they are, but it doesn't take long to realize that's not all; links golf is a different game. If you feel lost on links courses, you probably are unaware of a few key shots that links courses demand. We worked with Bandon Dunes' Grant Rogers and Jeff Simonds to put together a compilation of shots you need to get around a links course. Below, you'll find their tips on everything from how to play out of pot bunkers, to how to drive it in the wind.

To access video instruction from top instructors, go to Golf Digest Schools.

Pot Bunkers


Approach it like a pitch shot, where you're gonna take a big golf swing and you want the ball and the sand and the club to go in the same direction. Another key part of that is to follow through with your hands high. The ball should be a little more forward in your stance than usual. On uphill bunker shots, have more weight on your back foot. - Grant Rogers

Long Putts


A little wrist break is normal. For long-range putts, it's easier to pick areas instead of spots to aim at. Plan ahead and make sure you play enough break so that the ball is always moving towards the hole. -G.R.

Tight Lies


The tendency is to hit the ball thin off a tight lie. Focus on making your usual swing and hitting the ball first, and make sure the grip pressure is light. The divot should happen right after the ball and should be about the size of a dollar bill. Make sure you make a full swing and don't hurry or slow down, make a normal swing. - Jeff Simonds

The Bump and Run


It's easier to control and dictate where this shot goes. Set up with a putting stance, with the ball middle or slightly back in your stance. Use a straight-back straight-through stroke, with your hands ahead of the clubhead at all times. If you get pretty far from the hole, you'll have to add some arc to your swing. - J.S.

Driving in the Wind


Embrace the wind, it's going to be there all day. You don't need to tee it down when you hit driver. Instead, change the tempo and speed. Hit it practice swing speed - which is usually a little slower than your usual swing speed. This will decrease ball spin, and keep the flight lower. Grip down on your driver, and take a wider stance if you feel out of balance. - J.S.