Cameron Smith has only played Royal Portrush twice, but already he loves it.
Smith didn't exactly arrive for this week's Open Championship in sparkling form, having missed four cuts from his past 10 starts on the PGA Tour.
But the World No.42 feels inspired to raise his game at the famous Irish coastal venue that hasn't been used on the Open rota for 68 years.
"This is my third one and this is my favourite so far," Smith told AAP ahead of the first round on Thursday.
"It's probably just the simplicity of it. It's pretty as well, but also how hard it is.
"The course is set up so that if you don't hit it well enough, you're going to get punished and if you hit a good shot, you're going to get rewarded.
"That's at the end of the day what you want to see. It doesn't matter how hard or easy it is, you just want to see good shots get rewarded.
"We definitely don't want one of those tournaments where it's even par winning golf tournaments again."
Known for his world-class short game, Smith believes driving will be the key to around this tight links layout.
"The course is set up so that if you don't hit it well enough, you're going to get punished and if you hit a good shot, you're going to get rewarded.” – Cameron Smith
"I think No.1 is getting in the fairway for sure," he said.
"You just want to drive it straight. It's not over the top with the humps and hollows. You've just got to hit good golf shots.
"There's a few really tough holes out there where four's a good score, but there's plenty of opportunities also."
While Smith has struggled of late, the two-time Australian PGA champion found something at the Travelers Championship three weeks ago.
The 25-year-old's tie for 28th was his best result since reaching the quarter-finals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March, which gives him hope.
"My game's kind of coming along. Obviously the last three or four months haven't been my best stuff," he said.
"I felt like I played really good in Detroit in my last start a few weeks ago. Just didn't get much from it.
"Just felt like I'd have two or three birdies and then have a silly bogey or something like that.
"But my game feels good. I've had a couple of weeks off. It kind of needs to just all blend together and I'll be back."
- Darren Walton, Australian Associated Press