Some of the oldest links in the world exist in and around Gullane on Scotland's 'Golf Coast' with golf having been contested in these regions for more than three and a half centuries. This week Gullane hosts the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open and is sure to put up a tough contest for all players involved.
Fun Fact: Gullane's number one, two and three courses straddle a large grassed-over volcanic plug.
“Winning on a links golf course was another step forward in my career”
– Justin Rose
Having achieved one of his main career goals in 2014 when he lifted the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open trophy, Justin’s back and looking forward to the test of Gullane.
Justin has been working closely with Adrian Rietveld [European Tour Manager] the past couple of weeks in preparation for this week but also for the 147th Open Championship next week.
Justin has played a P790 4-Iron throughout the season and is one of his favourite clubs in his bag. Working closely with Adrian and looking at his bag setup, this club will be coming out of his bag and will be replaced by a P730 4-Iron. Justin has also added a P790 2 & 3 Iron as he’s used to playing the P790 range in which Adrian says that ‘"this is the cleanest switch Justin can make to get the performance he’s looking for to compete at Carnoustie". A unique insight into the testing of Justin’s 2 & 3 Irons when testing with Adrian a couple of weeks ago, Adrian had about 10 2 & 3 irons all in different options as it's a big change for Justin to make.
If your good at maths you might realise that with these changes it adds up to 15 clubs, to get this back down to 14, Justin’s made another change by looking at his wedge game.
“When you look at the lofts and the way its set up he’s trying to work the gapping, it actually makes sense, the idea is not for him to give up any part of the bag, and that's the best way we believe to”. Justin has removed the pitching wedge from his bag and now has a 50° wedge bent to 49°, a 56° bent to 54.5° and a 60° bent to 59°, bending it strong creates less bounce on the sole of the club which is why a 52° wedge and add loft as the team were trying to create a low bounce option.
Whilst on the range this week, Justin has been looking at his TP5 golf ball in the wind and looking at the lofts on his Iron set up to get the best ball flight. This is dictated by the weather conditions and being in Scotland – this can be unpredictable. If the wind is up and quite high, Justin wants to set up his clubs so that the golf ball spins more than average. Adrian talked us through the reason behind this;
"For example if he spins his 9 Iron 9000, his 6 Iron 6000, his 7 Iron at 7000 he's trying to create maybe 3-400rpms higher than that. You wonder why and its basically becuase of the knockdown shot, so when players start to play in the wind, there are a lot of shots where they're trying to keep the ball low and sometimes in order to do that you might have to swing a bit softer or you're trying the take the spin off the ball, but he [Justin] doesn't want to take the spin off the ball, he wants to hit it lower. So we're thinking if we can increase the spin a little bit when he hits these shots he can actually hit them with spin which for him he calls spin control, so if it spins too much he feels like he can control the carry distance a lot better than something that isn't spinning"
So much is dictated by how comfortable players are off the tee when it comes to playing a metalwood or driving iron. There are a number of shots to play to get the ball onto the fairway and attack the greens. It's a cliché for Links golf, but a lot of golfers have mentioned that the key is to avoid the bunkers, the sand is inconsistent when it comes to links season and especially for those golfers who are used to playing on the PGA Tour it takes a while to get used to.
Fun Fact: The championship course at Gullane Golf Club features a staggering 123 bunkers- nearly seven on each hole.
Our team received a low bounce option in our HiToe wedge and has seen an increase in player requests as it's an option for the playing conditions this week. When looking around the chipping green a lot of players are getting to grips with the firm playing conditions and when the club interacts with the turf you can hear how firm the conditions are.
Haotong Li has been working on his metalwoods this week and has swapped into an M4 3 wood in a Tensei Blue 80g shaft. Haotong's working on getting the ball to move left to right and in order to do this a piece of lead tape was added to the toe of the club to move the CG which encourages the fade. Haotong’s 3 wood was shortened from 43.5 to 43 1/8 in length which leads him feeling more in control.
One thing you might not know is that Haotong plays all his clubs at a D2.5 swing weight. The team weighed his M3 Driver in which his head weight was 195g in a TPT shaft coming in at a swing weight of D6, when taking weight out of the head of a driver you can lose speed. The team built a M4 Driver 8.5° in a counter balance Tensei Orange 70g shaft in which the swing weight came out at D2.75 and a head weight of 195g which is perfect for Haotong.
Six of the last eight Open champions have played the Scottish Open the week before winning golf's oldest major. Good Luck Team TaylorMade!
Take a look at Team TaylorMade as they prepare for the Scottish Open: