Scottie Scheffler details how links courses require his game to change
The PGA Tour doesn’t often play on links courses, meaning many of its players presumably don’t practice on that style very frequently.
But they’ll face one at this week’s Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club, a 7,237-yard par 70 with fescue grass greens. The conditions always make for an adventure, with the bipolar weather forecasts an added element of surprise for players. And one that will largely dictate scores.
So how different is it to play on a links course compared to another type of golf course? World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler provided some insight, saying he enjoys the challenge — especially because it requires creativity on almost every shot.
“It’s fun to play,” Scheffler said. “I like the ability to have to hit all different kind of shots. I like the way that around the greens I can use any type of club.
“I think it’s more the way golf was designed to be played, and coming over here, and getting to do it for a few weeks a year is definitely great fun. So yeah, I love it.”
What’s interesting about Scheffler’s answer is this: Despite being a dominant force on Tour for the past several years, he said he only played a links course for the first time at the Scottish Open last year.
Scheffler said the layout, conditions and textures of a links design forces him to be much more inventive with his approach.
“When I do come over here and play links golf, there is a lot of opportunity to try new things and hit all different kinds of shots, especially when you get around the greens,” he said. “You can hit huge flops and long bump-and-runs with a 7-iron.
“It really does sometimes feel like you’re playing golf like you’re a kid again. At home if we have 150 (yards) and a 10-mph wind, the ball reacts a certain way. But here, there’s a lot more factors that you have to dive into.”
Despite the oftentimes blustery conditions and difference in turf than what he’s more familiar with, Scheffler says he still uses feel to get a sense for how to hit a shot.
“So when you get 150 and you’re into the wind and the lie is sitting down and you’re on this new type of grass where the ball sits a little bit more and the wind is heavier here and makes the ball go shorter — everything changes,” he said. “So much that you really have to rely on your own feel.”
After missing the cut at the Scottish Open in 2022, Scheffler hopes that he’s able to discover the required feel to compete this week.
“I had an off-week here last year on a golf course that I like, so that was a bit strange,” he said. “I’ve made a couple mental errors, and I definitely made a few of those last year, so I’m always trying to refine my approach and approach everything with a good attitude, and just be very committed to what I’m doing out there.”