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Steve_ Shaffer

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The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« on: July 25, 2023, 07:04:07 PM »
No matter which seaside, windswept course hosts the British Open, the final major tournament of the year puts a golfer’s imagination to work, and captures ours.
By Michael Bamberger


British Opens are always played, to borrow a phrase from the BBC commentator Peter Alliss, who died in 2020, “in sight and sound of the sea.” They are contested on links courses that are a century old — or much older. Royal Liverpool held its first Open in 1897 and is on Liverpool Bay, though you might think of it as the Irish Sea. The course is a mile from the train station in Hoylake — many fans will get there via Merseyrail — and about 15 miles from Penny Lane in Liverpool.
After Tom Doak graduated from Cornell in 1982 with the dream of becoming a golf course architect, he became a summer caddie at the Old Course at St. Andrews. Doak, now a prominent architect (and the designer of the Renaissance course), has been making a study of links golf ever since. In a recent interview, he noted that older golfers often do well in the British Open. Greg Norman was 53 when he finished in a tie for third in 2008. Darren Clarke was 42 when he won in 2011, and Phil Mickelson was 43 when he won in 2013.Links golf, Doak said, is not about smashing the driver with youthful abandon. When Tiger Woods won at Royal Liverpool in 2006, he hit driver only once over four days. Greens on British Open courses are typically flat and slow, notably so, compared with, say, the greens at Augusta National. There’s less stress over putting and the game within the game that favors young eyes and young nerves. What links golf rewards most is the ability to read the wind, the bounce and how to flight your ball with an iron.
“In links golf, you have to curve the ball both ways, depending on what the wind is doing and where the pin is,” Doak said. “You have to figure out what the ball is going to do after it lands.”

Read more:


https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/20/sports/golf/british-open-royal-liverpool-links.html
« Last Edit: July 25, 2023, 07:50:57 PM by Steve_ Shaffer »
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Ronald Montesano

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2023, 07:15:28 PM »
Alas...behind a pay wall.
Coming in 2024
~Elmira Country Club
~Soaring Eagles
~Bonavista
~Indian Hills
~Maybe some more!!

Matt Schoolfield

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« Last Edit: July 25, 2023, 07:53:31 PM by Matt Schoolfield »

Daryl David

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2023, 10:04:27 PM »
Bamberger sure missed the memo about not calling the Open Championship the British Open.  ;D

Niall C

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2023, 05:15:42 AM »
For the record, it was actually Willie Fernie who designed the original course at Western Gailes.


Niall

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2023, 01:18:41 PM »
I did wonder if Harman would have got himself in more trouble if he hit the ball further?


I feel the last two Open Championships (😁) have been won by the guy who chipped  and PUTTED best.
Let's make GCA grate again!

Tom_Doak

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2023, 08:35:10 PM »
I did wonder if Harman would have got himself in more trouble if he hit the ball further?

I feel the last two Open Championships (😁) have been won by the guy who chipped  and PUTTED best.


The R & A and their consultants have been moving fairway bunkers further downrange at all the Open rota courses [except The Old Course] over the past 10-15 years, and I wonder if they realize they may be encouraging players to lay back.  Those pot bunkers are the only hazards that the Tour players will take out of play even if it means laying up.  Essentially, Brian Harman was giving up less yardage to the field last week than he normally does, and that makes the result more about iron play and recovery play and putting.

Sean_A

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2023, 02:51:17 AM »
I did wonder if Harman would have got himself in more trouble if he hit the ball further?

I feel the last two Open Championships () have been won by the guy who chipped  and PUTTED best.


The R & A and their consultants have been moving fairway bunkers further downrange at all the Open rota courses [except The Old Course] over the past 10-15 years, and I wonder if they realize they may be encouraging players to lay back.  Those pot bunkers are the only hazards that the Tour players will take out of play even if it means laying up.  Essentially, Brian Harman was giving up less yardage to the field last week than he normally does, and that makes the result more about iron play and recovery play and putting.

Harman also seemed content to hit long approaches well short of greens and try for the bounce up. His tee shot layups created some long approaches. He completely trusted his putter to get the job done.

A side note...Fleetwood is unbelievably good with long putts. I never saw him outside of three feet from quite long range, sometimes from off the green. It was one of the most impressive things I saw last week.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2023, 03:10:46 AM »
Scoring on big links courses is about finding the fairway from the tee; and good lag putting from in and around the green. The odd chip if you don’t fancy your putter.


That’s it folks. Simple.

Sean_A

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2023, 03:17:23 AM »
Scoring on big links courses is about finding the fairway from the tee; and good lag putting from in and around the green. The odd chip if you don’t fancy your putter.


That’s it folks. Simple.

One of the most impressive things I saw last week was Fleetwood's long range putting. I never saw him outside of 3 feet, sometimes from off the green.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Thomas Dai

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2023, 04:50:10 AM »
The joys of links golf may never get old but with the excessive manicuring and unnecessary irrigation of links courses these days links courses sure ain’t the experience they once were.
Atb

Tony_Muldoon

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2023, 06:05:54 AM »
Perhaps if someone had challenged Harman...I've been to two Golf Clubs this week and the "man on the putting green" thought it was boring. I was watchinig from the Clubhouse at Dornoch when Tiger, adopting similar tactics,  won there in 2006.  I was the only one who stayed to watch the finish. Despite DiMarco getting within 2 shots, many watched a couple of holes and left saying they couldn't see him making a mistake and that it was a done deal.


Rory had a swashbuckling finish for his win there, but even he seems to have rolled that approach back.
If Hoylake is the future of links golf, it may be showing its age.


M&E are telling the Clubs they advise if they have less than the average no of bunkers on comparable "top" links courses. 
More evidence that courses will become more similar.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2023, 06:41:29 AM by Tony_Muldoon »
Let's make GCA grate again!

Duncan Cheslett

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2023, 02:33:34 AM »
I was working as a TV sound man at Hoylake and over the week covered the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 11th, 12th, 14th, and 15th fairways.


90% of the field were routinely laying up short of the fairway bunkers. The 4th hole was driveable for most of these guys, yet on my day covering the 3rd and 4th fairways I only saw Mickelson and a couple of others attempt it. The rest hit irons to 160 yards out.


The same on 11. The vast majority hit irons off the tee to make sure they didn’t catch a bunker. Bomb and gouge barely made an entrance at Hoylake.


Did it make for the most dramatic or exciting golf? Probably not… 🤔

Sean_A

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2023, 03:37:42 AM »
Perhaps if someone had challenged Harman...I've been to two Golf Clubs this week and the "man on the putting green" thought it was boring. I was watchinig from the Clubhouse at Dornoch when Tiger, adopting similar tactics,  won there in 2006.  I was the only one who stayed to watch the finish. Despite DiMarco getting within 2 shots, many watched a couple of holes and left saying they couldn't see him making a mistake and that it was a done deal.


Rory had a swashbuckling finish for his win there, but even he seems to have rolled that approach back.
If Hoylake is the future of links golf, it may be showing its age.


M&E are telling the Clubs they advise if they have less than the average no of bunkers on comparable "top" links courses. 
More evidence that courses will become more similar.

I think an issue with Hoylake is a sense of redundancy. Many holes feel similar because of the fairly same shape/size bunkers, less dynamic land and relatively tame greens. This is partly why losing some OoB holes was a serious blow to the overall thrill of the course.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

jeffwarne

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2023, 03:04:15 PM »
The joys of links golf may never get old but with the excessive manicuring and unnecessary irrigation of links courses these days links courses sure ain’t the experience they once were.
Atb


This.
Royal Liverpool was a sea of manicured green.
No doubt during the dry April-June period they used the irrigation and when the wet July hit they were stuck with a softer playing experience.
To be fair, I understand using the irrigation to  ensure there's no grass loss during extreme drought, but it just seems to take less rain to turn a modern irrigated links into a lush soft playing field-than it used to, as opposed to a course with no irrigation.


Southerndown, with no irrigation,was far more tawny, brown and bouncy, despite a lot of recent July rain.


It just seems the more money that pours into the game, the less variability of seasonal conditions courses experience.


It really frustrates me when the first question someone asks me about a course is "what kind've condition was it"?
Unless of course they are seeking the answer "brown and fiery with greens the same speed as fairways" :)
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Sean_A

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2023, 03:36:32 PM »
I take your point Jeff, but there is a limit. Southerndown in late June was too burnt out...it was beyond good nick. Burnt out sloping fairways with gorse at the edges in 25mph wind was ott. That said, I understand you get what you get. Just saying that if water is used judiciously it can be a huge boon. Burnham is a case in point. Their nearly ruined fairways were much greener than the S Wales counterparts because of watering. Watering was wise because the alternative was dire. Two droughts did terrible damage. At some point grass needs water.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Thomas Dai

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2023, 04:12:13 PM »
Golf has lost one of its great joys, one of its great experiences, ........ its seasonal aspects. And this loss has added a great deal to the expense of the the game. Manicuring and water and all the things that go with it cost money, lots of money, and spending that money increases the cost of subscriptions and greenfees.
Where once players accepted, enjoyed, even desired firm and fast conditions now so many are critical of it. Playing in firm and fast conditions, from tight lies, is a skill even more so with a bit of wind about.
No need to thrash away with a Driver. No need to attack pins. Position the ball. Keep the ball in play. Control trajectory and spin. Curve the ball with and against the wind. Use the slopes. Let the ball bounce and roll onto and around the greens.
The firmer and faster the conditions the more the 5" between the ears comes into play.
And when conditions are soft and stodgy use the 5" inches between the ears to play in a different manner.
And remember it's not compulsory to play when it's excessively hot, freezing cold or soggy wet.
atb

jeffwarne

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2023, 05:14:05 PM »
I take your point Jeff, but there is a limit. Southerndown in late June was too burnt out...it was beyond good nick. Burnt out sloping fairways with gorse at the edges in 25mph wind was ott. That said, I understand you get what you get. Just saying that if water is used judiciously it can be a huge boon. Burnham is a case in point. Their nearly ruined fairways were much greener than the S Wales counterparts because of watering. Watering was wise because the alternative was dire. Two droughts did terrible damage. At some point grass needs water.

Ciao


Compltely get it.
BTW, Southerndown had lost a lot of grass. (Goodness they could do with some gorse reduction-not sure what I was thinking when I chose that site again this year, though I lost no balls,my knuckes are still white from a few of those crosswind tee shots-three unplayables-two one one hole)


That's why I was asking when your pictures of Cardigan were taken.
I remember 2018 when I qualified at Lundin.
Incredibly fiery, but I know they lost grass and had to do some serious seeding in fall, like many other courses-same as France where I was later that fall at Morfontaine.


Needless to say, I'm sure once a club has spent money on irrigation someone's gonna get some grief if they go past the edge of fiery/dormant to dead...


Nonetheless, the romantic in me misses those old Open films with browned out patchy colored fairways.
and as Thomas states, we're losing the seasonality.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2023, 05:39:49 PM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Thomas Dai

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2023, 06:05:03 PM »


That's why I was asking when your pictures of Cardigan were taken.
Nonetheless, the romantic in me misses those old Open films with browned out patchy colored fairways.
and as Thomas states, we're losing the seasonality.

Jeff,

There are some photos of Cardigan GC taken last summer, 2022, on this brief thread I started - https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,71246.msg1712284.html#msg1712284


Just a tad firm and bouncy.
Shots bouncing and rolling forever even sideways at times. Challenging? Yes. Fun? Oh yes, definitely so.

And here’s a link to a great article by Mike Clayton on firmness, colour etc - https://www.golfcoursearchitecture.net/content/brown-is-just-fine

Atb
« Last Edit: July 30, 2023, 06:06:46 PM by Thomas Dai »

Sean_A

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2023, 07:23:31 PM »
I take your point Jeff, but there is a limit. Southerndown in late June was too burnt out...it was beyond good nick. Burnt out sloping fairways with gorse at the edges in 25mph wind was ott. That said, I understand you get what you get. Just saying that if water is used judiciously it can be a huge boon. Burnham is a case in point. Their nearly ruined fairways were much greener than the S Wales counterparts because of watering. Watering was wise because the alternative was dire. Two droughts did terrible damage. At some point grass needs water.

Ciao


Compltely get it.
BTW, Southerndown had lost a lot of grass. (Goodness they could do with some gorse reduction-not sure what I was thinking when I chose that site again this year, though I lost no balls,my knuckes are still white from a few of those crosswind tee shots-three unplayables-two one one hole)


That's why I was asking when your pictures of Cardigan were taken.
I remember 2018 when I qualified at Lundin.
Incredibly fiery, but I know they lost grass and had to do some serious seeding in fall, like many other courses-same as France where I was later that fall at Morfontaine.


Needless to say, I'm sure once a club has spent money on irrigation someone's gonna get some grief if they go past the edge of fiery/dormant to dead...


Nonetheless, the romantic in me misses those old Open films with browned out patchy colored fairways.
and as Thomas states, we're losing the seasonality.

Jeff

For sure. Clubs are guilty of over watering. It's more likely the case than under watering assuming a water system is in place.

Cardigan was very fiery, but a bit less so than Southerndown and Tenby which were past fiery. Southerndown had a few ropey driving holes in those conditions. Although generally I would think its wide enough most of the time. Could do with more gorse removal, but a cool course anyway. Tenby held up the best because it has very little of the evil weed gorse and is less slopey. Jeez, gorse generally sucks as a feature. I hate the stuff. It's ugly and creates look for balls situations. Why do clubs allow gorse to run wild?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Thomas Dai

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2023, 04:20:53 AM »
Gorse, and there are different varieties, can be, is good imo, certainly much better than trees. Acts as a natural windbreak, mitigates the spread of sound on the course but is not so high that shots can’t be hit over it relatively easily. Sometimes even acts as a barrier with the ball dropping and findable at the edge of it. Good for wildlife too.
Sure its overall coverage can get out of hand but it doesn’t do so at notably rapid speed. It does though need to be regularly reviewed and kept under control.
Atb

Sean_A

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Re: The Joys of Links Golf Never Get Old New
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2023, 04:50:16 AM »
Gorse, and there are different varieties, can be, is good imo, certainly much better than trees. Acts as a natural windbreak, mitigates the spread of sound on the course but is not so high that shots can’t be hit over it relatively easily. Sometimes even acts as a barrier with the ball dropping and findable at the edge of it. Good for wildlife too.
Sure its overall coverage can get out of hand but it doesn’t do so at notably rapid speed. It does though need to be regularly reviewed and kept under control.
Atb

Just like trees, most clubs don't seem willing or able to properly control gorse. I have also been told (and it makes sense when you look at grass around gorse) that gorse encourages broad leaf grasses...not good for fescue and bent grass courses. It's pretty rare to see gorse used so well as it is at Cleeve Hill. That said, I don't recall ever thinking that what a course needs is gorse.

Ciao
« Last Edit: July 31, 2023, 04:53:47 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Alnmouth & Cruden Bay St Olaf

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