Junior Golf: A Links Golf Tale

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot, I am telling a story about a recent links golf experience our family had. It will give you some insight into the intricacies involved in links golf. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

When your son heads out to play a links course, the 1st thing you both need to pay attention to is the weather. Dry means the course will play as designed and wet means lower scores because the only defense the course has is wind, terrain and hazards when it is wet. It does not play as designed, it plays much easier.

S3’s college team has played in a tournament this year and the previous 3 years at the excellent Tribute Golf Club in The Colony, north of Dallas on the shores of Lewisville Lake. When the course is dry and hard, it plays as designed with lightening fast fairways and greens. Your son would not dare put an approach shot above the pin as his downhill putt would likely roll off the green if he didn’t make it. The Tribute is a tribute to 18 of the most legendary links holes in Scotland and each hole has a plaque telling its history and it is most interesting. Folks, this is a great golf course, a wonderful golf course and if you are in the DFW area I heartily recommend your son and you too, play it.

In Texas, we don’t complain about rain because we never know the next time we’ll get some. As fate would have it, it has rained cats and dogs every year just a few days before this event. What does that mean? It means the course is pretty much defenseless and there will be some low scores. Players can shoot right at the pin because the greens are holding and are way slower than they are supposed to be. So links golf creativity is reduced and taking dead aim at the pin is in play. Really, the guys like to make birdies, but I know they were relishing the challenge of playing on a true links course with it’s fangs bared.

So let’s look at S3’s final round last Tuesday. It’s a beautiful day with temps in the 60’s at tee time and rising to the mid-70’s, mostly sunny with light winds. And the course is still wet. So this means the guys can treat this round as a regular US-type golf course rather than a links course and shoot at the pin. Now there are some intimidating holes on this course, 1 particular stretch on the front 9 comes to mind, so there aren’t just gimme pars because it’s wet.image

S3 starts on #10 and blocks his drive into a native area. Well, he did this yesterday and made a good bogey so I expect he’s not thrilled, but thinking bogey and move on. Well, he ends up with a 3-putt triple and is not happy because his team was in 5th place not that many strokes out of the top 3. But everybody needed to play at or under par. Moving ahead in his round he hit so many great shots and after missing a bunch of short putts in his 1st 9-holes, he adjusted for less break and started making putts. Now in his 1st round he had no 3-putts and was 100% on putts 7-feet and less. So in what was 1 of his wildest rounds in a long time, S3 had a 3-over par 75 with a triple on his 1st hole. So a triple, a double and 4 3-putts and 4-birdies. 4 of the putts he missed were less than 5 feet and remember, he made all of those the day before. (photo thecolonyedc.org)

Welcome to links golf, sort of. S3 had his chances to be under par. If he had putted as he did the day before he would have been at least 1-under. Dad and Mom this is golf. This is for college golfers, junior golfers and us adults too. What worked yesterday may not work today. And some of what worked yesterday may be even better today. I mean, S3 in his round of 75 hit 11 of 14 fairways (78%) and 15 of 18 greens (83%). These are great numbers! Really the difference between this 75 and being under par is 1 poor drive, 1 poor chip, 4 3-putts and 2 additional missed short putts. Ya gotta love this sport!

See you on the links, looking Scottish…kilts anyone… Sam

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