THE COLONY — The British Open starts Thursday, which makes playing The Tribute Golf Links a little more special this week.
"It's great because the Open Championship is televised in the early morning hours," said Andrew Phillips, first assistant golf pro at The Tribute. "So people can get up and watch TV and then they get that bug to come play in the afternoon."
The Tribute is named because its 18 holes are a tribute to some famous holes in Scotland. Two of those holes are modeled after Muirfield, site of this year's Open Championship — including number 9.
"See how these bunkers guard that green?" asked Chip Graham, head golf pro at the Tribute, pointing to five bunkers protecting the right side of the 9th green. "Obviously, if you're going to roll the golf ball up with the hard, fast conditions, you're going to want to come up from the left side and let the ball roll up by the green."
The clubhouse at the Tribute was even designed to look like the one in Muirfield, so golfers can get a taste of the 2013 British Open without leaving North Texas.
The Tribute does a good job of simulating the courses in Scotland, but being here in the Colony, it can only do so much. One big difference across the pond is the wind.
Recreational golfer Vince Vickers has played in Scotland and saw for himself how much different golf is over there.
"If I had to do it all over again in Scotland, I never would have brought my pitching wedge over there," he said as he played his first round at The Tribute. "As soon as you hit it up in the air, the wind just takes it, boomerangs it."
The bunkers are a lot different, too. American sand traps are well manicured and usually not too deep.
In Scotland, they are true hazards.
"If your golf ball comes to rest close to the wall, your best shot may be to turn around and hit the ball back outside," said Graham, standing deep in one of the course's pot bunkers.
Those differences make the British Open so much fun for us to watch... and so difficult for the pros to play.