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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 294
LINKS GOLF – THE GAME’S GREATEST SELLING POINT F OR those who have an interest in golf courses and the way they can test the game’s elite – and even for those who don’t – the next three weeks will be a real treat. The Irish Open, Scottish Open and Open Championship will be played at Ballyliffin, Gullane and Carnoustie respectively and that’s good news for the game and those who watch it. For the most part, televised golf is played on courses best described as homogenous. They’re not completely indistinguishable from one another but pretty close. There are lots of reasons for that sameness, from the (understandable) wishes of the players to not be taken out of their comfort zone to risk averse administrators who see a formula that has worked for a long time and are loathe to mess with it. But links golf is the ultimate free form game, one not governed by straight lines and boundaries, and the opportunity to see courses which show off some of that variety not only makes for more compelling viewing but serves an important role in the game more broadly. Golf on television exerts an unhealthy influence on the game at the recreational level, with golfers worldwide led to believe the perfectly manicured, overwatered, unnaturally green, strip cut fairways and unfeasibly fast greens we see on the PGA and European Tours equals ‘good’ golf. There’s no question it’s one way for the game to be played and presented but it’s not the only way, or indeed the healthiest or most fun way, for most of us. The next three weeks will be a magnificent advertisement for golf of a much different, and frankly more democratic, kind. Rather than reward only the aerial game, where Trackman-perfected carry distances are the most important tool in the bag and the lob wedge is the preferred option around the greens, Ballyliffin, Gullane and Carnoustie will demand a more expansive style of golf. Without wind all three will be vulnerable to the ‘drop and stop’ golf the modern professional is so adept at but unlike most weeks there will also be other ways to ‘skin the cat’. Links golf occasionally demands and almost always encourages the ground game and all the associated imagination and touch it requires. For spectators, there are few better things than seeing the ball on the ground and players using contours to get close to the hole. The more multi-dimensional style of play required over the next three weeks will bring more golfers into the mix while at the same time promoting a form of the game more suited to the bulk of us weekend warriors. If you tend to consume golf on TV without giving it much thought, make a special effort to watch more closely between now and when the Claret Jug is presented on July 22. Compare what you see to what is on offer most weeks, then give some thought to which style of golf you’d prefer to see and play at your own club. Diversity is what makes golf such an endlessly fascinating game to both watch and play and the all too rare dose of ‘different’ we will see in the coming weeks is a welcome, and important, addition to the mix. VIEW THE ROD MORRI is an award-winning writer and podcast presenter. He hosts The iseekgolf.com Podcast weekly. CLICK here to listen. Carnoustie and The Open will be the climax of three weeks of wonderful links golf.
GA Express 293 Peter Thomson tribute
GA Express 295