The 3 Most Important Skills for Playing Links Golf: Mastering the Mental Game

July 13, 2023
3 mins

Excitingly, we're entering that time of year when links golf takes centre stage, with the best players in the world heading over to the Scottish Open and then the Open Championship. When it comes to golf, few experiences compare to playing on a challenging and historic links course. Links golf demands a unique set of skills and presents players with a variety of challenges, including ever-changing weather conditions, undulating fairways, and treacherous bunkers. While physical prowess certainly plays a significant role, the mental game becomes even more crucial in navigating these demanding courses. In this article, we will explore the three most important mental skills for playing links golf and how they can positively influence your game.

  1. Be Adaptable: Embrace the Elements

One of the defining characteristics of links golf is its exposure to the elements. Wind, rain, and shifting weather patterns are constants on these coastal courses. The first mental skill required to succeed in links golf is adaptability. The ability to adjust your game plan and make on-the-spot decisions based on prevailing conditions is essential.

Adapting to the elements requires a flexible mindset. Instead of lamenting unfavourable conditions, embrace them as part of the challenge. Recognise that every golfer on the course faces the same conditions, and the mental fortitude to stay focused and composed gives you a competitive edge.

Furthermore, adaptability extends beyond weather conditions. Links courses often feature uneven lies, undulating fairways, and deep bunkers. Cultivate the mental flexibility to adjust your swing, club selection, and strategy to meet the demands of each unique situation.

  1. Be Patient: Tame the Beast!

Patience is a virtue that holds tremendous value in links golf. The unpredictable nature of the course and the frequent challenges it presents require a calm and patient mindset. Links golf tests your ability to remain composed and focused even after a poor shot or a frustrating hole.

Understanding that links courses can be a grind, you must be prepared for a round that may not unfold as expected. Mental resilience is key. Instead of dwelling on mistakes or becoming disheartened, use the Golf Guru App to develop a patient mindset that allows you to rebound from setbacks and refocus before each shot.

  1. Be Creative: Enjoy The Freedom

Links golf demands a high degree of creativity and imagination. The unique terrain and conditions often require unconventional shots and strategic decision-making. This is where the mental skill of creativity comes into play.

Rather than sticking to a rigid game plan, successful links golfers embrace the freedom to be imaginative and adventurous in shot selection. By visualising different trajectories, considering the contours of the fairways and greens, and utilising the ground game, you can navigate your way round the course using a wide repertoire of shots.

Creativity is not limited to shotmaking alone; it also extends to course management. The ability to strategically plot your way around the course, taking into account wind direction and hazards, can be very helpful, working your way back from the pin to the hole. The mental skill of creativity allows you to see possibilities where others may not, giving you a significant advantage on links courses.

In summary, to excel in links golf, cultivating the right mental skills is just as important as working on your swing. Adaptability, patience, and creativity are the key attributes that will allow you to navigate the unique challenges presented by links courses. By embracing these mental skills, you can elevate your game and truly enjoy the experience of playing on some of the world's most renowned and demanding golf courses. So, the next time you tee it up on a links course, remember these three tips.


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