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Firm and Fast

Firm and fast golf

The Open Championship is on its second day. The Course is baked out, brown, hard and extremely fast. The conditions resemble the works of a US Open with green speeds near 13 on the stint meter. I heard one player yesterday say the fairways were rolling 11.

Although most of us in the US are accustomed to seeing the Open Championship in Cool, wet, windy and sometimes Nor Easter conditions watching this year is a real treat. A lot of the courses in Scotland do not have irrigation for the fairways, just around the green or sometimes none at all. This means when the weather warms up in to the low 80s for a stretch of time the courses get fast. There has been little rain and none expected before Sunday.

Players will have to become very creative around the greens and hitting shots into the greens. If the player has 160 yard to the flag, typically they would try to hit a shot 152/153 to allow the ball to land just short and take a bounce and spin close to the hole. This week the 160yd hole plays about 140 yard landing either front edge of the green or sometime short of the green with a lot of release to the hole. It is fun to watch the players struggle with balls hitting and running out past the flag.

A few players like Ian Poulter and Phil Mickelson voiced their displeasure with a few pin locations yesterday because they were sitting on the edge of a swell in the green. I saw putts go by the hole 6/7 feet yesterday and saw Rory Mcilroy putt a ball off the green into a bunker.

This is how links golf is supposed to be played, Firm and Fast. It is up to the player to use their imagination to get the ball close to the hole. It opens up more variety in shot making and its only once a year. I hope the player are enjoying playing on the world hardest fastest course, because I’m sure enjoying watching them with confused looks on their faces.

By Claude Pope

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