In my opinion Links is the most realistic golf game to date, and believe me I've played about all of them. One of the biggest advantages Links has is the three different skill levels it offers: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. So you've tried the rest, now try the best, I actually consider this to be the only golf game that can come close to being called simulation.
What's In Your Bag
If you have never played video golf before then I suggest that you start with the beginner level. It is very user friendly and even shows you on the swing meter how far back to pull the club on each shot, even putting.
For you hardcore golfers out there that have played many golf games I would suggest not even wasting your time and going straight to Intermediate. You will still have a swing meter only this time you will not have a line to let you know how far back to pull the club on each shot. You will notice the difference in levels in many other ways as well.
If you are a real golfer then you know how important ball position is to your shot, if the ball is below your feet and you're right handed then you can expect the ball to automatically go more right off the club than normal. The same is true of the oppisite, ball above feet means it will go left depending on how far above it is of course; these are called slice and hook stances, slice being right to a right hander and thus below your feet. This theory is also true on up and downhill lies (or terrain). If the ball is on an uphill lie it will not go as far and it will go farther from a downhill lie, this is well known in real golf.
As you go up in skill levels these changes will become greater and so will the affect of the wind so you must make adjustments when you line up your shots.
Playing with the Pros
When you feel like you're ready, go ahead and create an advanced player, but be warned: there is no meter. You will simply be judging your distances using feeling, this is why there are so few players that play advanced online. I made the switch to advanced only after well over 1000 rounds of intermediate, and it was like having a brand new game at my fingertips. Do not be discouraged as it will take time to get used to playing advanced, but this is where the big dogs hang out. The hardest part of advanced play is of course putting and chipping, but practice makes perfect, and it takes a lot of it, but it's totally worth it.
Before You Tee Off
First off, create a profile, choose a golfer and dress him / her as you like. I suggest you do the tutorial and any skill challenges that are available; as you level up by playing tournaments and buying skill points you will notice your golfer getting better, just like you are.
Forget the swing meter, stop it on the line style that I grew up with, those days are gone; it's all about the analog and real-time swings now dude. The left analog will control your swing, but I won't get into that too much, the quick tutorial at the beginning of the game will explain this all to you.
From Tee to Green
Any golfer will tell you, 'it's not how you drive it's how you arrive', but not so fast there Tiger. You have to work that analog in a straight line back and forth unless you want to be hacking it like a soldier: left, right, left-right-left. It's very important to drive the ball on the fairway because your shots can vary in distance from the rough. There is an auto-caddy that will basically give you the club that you need for the shot but do not always trust it, always double check your distances.
You can also shape your shots for a draw or a fade but I suggest you not try this until you are a highly skilled player and even then only when you have to. There is also, as with most golf games, an overswing area; when you overswing you can get more distance but you have to really be careful as your more likely to slice or hook when you overswing. With practice, of course, this will be a total non issue.
There are a few tips for your approach shots I can give you, but I refuse to give up all of my secrets, they were very hard earned and I would need a whole new section to include all of them.