The Open 2019: 3 shots every player needs at Royal Portrush

July 17, 2019

The beauty of the 2019 Open Championship is the uniqueness of the test itself. Players are outside their comfort zone, and need to get creative from tee-to-green. But if they want to succeed this year, they’ll need to master each of these three golf shots…

1. The Low Knockdown

Royal Portrush is a true links golf course and on the water, the players will most likely have to deal with the huge factor that the wind can be on this course. Rather than taking a full swing and sending the ball up and into the wind, which makes the shot less predictable, you will see many of the golfers hitting a lower, knockdown shot. This allows the golfer to control their golf ball, even in the windiest of conditions.

The set up should change by playing the golf ball farther back in the stance to make the chosen club a bit less lofted. The farther back the golf ball is played in the stance, the more the forward foot should also be pulled back to realign the shoulders to the target.

As the forward foot is pulled back, this will also help the golfer’s weight to stay forward throughout the swing and this will help the contact to be solid and the ball flight to be lower and more driving.

The weight being forward also helps to limit the backswing size to a bit smaller and on the forward swing keep the grip of the club moving forward to decrease the loft at impact also helping the fall flight to be lower and more controlled.

Antrim , United Kingdom - 17 July 2019; Adam Scott of Australia tees off on the 1st tee during a practice round ahead of the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Portrush, Co. Antrim. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

2. Bump And Run

Controlling the ball flight and keeping it lower to be more predictable can also apply to the short game. The bump and run is a shot you see much more often in links golf because it’s so low maintenance.

The set up includes good golf posture, bending forward from the hips so that the arms can hang and you will also often see holding lower on the handle of the club and the stance more narrow. The weight should stay on the forward foot throughout the stroke, much like it did in the knock down.

The motion is like that of a larger putt, where the triangle formed by the arms and across the shoulders to a certain extent maintains it’s shape. You may or may not see wrists hinging and releasing, as both are OK, but this smaller stroke allows the golfer to cover great distances with a smaller swing due to changing the club selection.

The greater the distance the lesser the lofted club is a good general rule. That way, you can keep the size of your swing small while propelling the ball further.

All eyes will be on Rory McIlory at Royal Portrush.
Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

3. Hack It Out Of The Rough

Recovery shots will be a must at Royal Portrush. Off of the fairway, there are number of issues the golfers may face, including long rough and large bushes. This is a good time to get the golf ball back into play and understand proper technique.

After teaching in the Hamptons for many summers, you get very good at teaching and understanding how to get out of thick fescue rough and the technique is the same here.

Take a lofted club to offset that the thick rough may twist the face when it gets caught during the swing and you want to make sure there is enough loft to offset this and get the ball back in play.

Ball position should be back in the stance to help you to hit the golf ball earlier and before the grass has a chance to affect the club too much before it gets to the ball. Your weight should be forward dramatically at address and throughout the swing to the point that the forward shoulder should be much lower than normal. This steeper shoulder angle will help the club to come in more at an angle and once again help the club to hit the ball before the thick grass.

Finally, get “mad.” You need to swing down with speed into the ground, so commit fully.

PORTRUSH, NORTHERN IRELAND - JULY 17: Tommy Fleetwood of England (L) plays a shot during a practice round prior to the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club on July 17, 2019 in Portrush, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)