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Luke Donald's Diary


It's time for some intensive links practice in preparation for The Open Championship at Turnberry
I’ll be playing a bunch of courses ... Western Gailes, Troon, maybe Dundonald

We had a really enjoyable time, attending a wedding in Rivello on the Amalfi Coast and then went over to the Costa Smeralda in Sardinia for a few days. From the Italian rivieras, though, it’s now to the west of Scotland coast. I’ll be playing a bunch of courses there on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be at Western Gailes, Troon, maybe Dundonald one day and maybe a round at Turnberry, too. It will entail a lot of links golf – my new plan to prepare for the Open Championship.

I’ll be driving up on Thursday just when the Scottish Open is due to start at Loch Lomond. I’ve always had good results at Loch Lomond but I felt it was time to change my pre-Open ideas, try something different.

My record hasn’t been great in the Open. I feel the reason is that we just don’t play enough links golf, so I need some experience on links before the week of the Open. Really, the only links golf I play is the Open Championship. To go there on a Monday and expect, after just a couple of days practice, you’ll be ready, is a tough prospect.

So I’m going up to Scotland to try to give myself a little better preparation this year.

Coming into the Open, things have been a little bit disappointing. I need to get back to not really thinking about results but more about making sure I’m doing the right things to give myself the best chances – and, hopefully, let the results come. That way I feel I’ll not put too much pressure on myself expectation-wise.

As far as the Open course is concerned, I played Turnberry four or five weeks ago, only 12 holes of a company day, though. It was so slow out there, we never got to finish the round. I played the course fully quite a long time ago. It’s one of those links courses where you walk away and think that it’s very, very fair. The fairways are reasonably flat, nothing too special, and the greens, well you just have to hit good, solid shots. There are no tricks out there. As usual, scoring is going to be determined by the weather. Hopefully, with a few good days of practice I’ll be prepared for anything.

As far as the game is at this stage of the season, I do have things to work on. My last event in Munich was a one-off as far as the putting went. We had a lot of rain and the greens were a little bit on the bumpy side and I struggled to read them. Overall, my putting’s been good this year. I can’t see that changing for the Open.

If there is anything I need to improve it’s a little bit more consistency off the tee and with my irons. I’ve been working on a few changes but I haven’t quite seen the results yet. I’m working on good fundamentals to start the swing, trying not to get too much knee-bend. That gives me better posture. With the driver, especially, it’s easy to allow swing-faults to creep in. My main work is on the backswing but also a little bit of leg-work through impact to be a little more solid. I’m trying to get the butt in a little bit more as I go back, while the clubhead stays out. I’ve been tending to get the club just a little bit shut on the way back and that makes it hard for me on the way down.    

Hopefully all of this, links practice and the slight swing changes are going to add up to a successful week at Turnberry.

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