Triple Track Tuesday: A visualisation technique to help hole more putts

Gary Nicol has teamed up with National Club Golfer, Callaway and Odyssey’s Triple Track ball and putter technology to create a special series of putting videos.

Using techniques from The Lost Art books, co-author Gary Nicol will help you look at putting in a new way. These videos are guaranteed to give all variety of golfers a whole new perspective on the greens.

All of our videos were filmed at Archerfield Links in Gullane.

Triple Track Tuesday: Widen your target to hole more putts

Gary Nicol has teamed up with National Club Golfer, Callaway and Odyssey’s Triple Track ball and putter technology to create a special series of putting videos.

Using techniques from The Lost Art books, co-author Gary Nicol will help you look at putting in a new way. These videos are guaranteed to give all variety of golfers a whole new perspective on the greens.

All of our videos were filmed at Archerfield Links in Gullane.

Thoughtful Thursday: Then there were three

Just over four years ago, my very good friend Karl Morris and I decided we would write a book together. We had talked about it for some time and while we knew it was going to be a book on golf, we weren’t entirely sure exactly which direction it would take initially.

We had been hosting some putting schools and Master Classes at Archerfield Links where I am based and were seeing some quite astonishing results with players of all abilities, from relative newcomers to the game to seasoned professionals.

Our initial aim was to help players hole more putts, shoot lower scores and perhaps, more importantly, have more fun on the golf course. We wanted to avoid traditional “technical instruction”, as we had seen too many players over the years lose their natural ability by drowning in a sea of information in their pursuit of a “perfect stroke”, whatever that looks like?!

Decision made, we would write a book about how to become more efficient on the putting surfaces and the concept of “The Lost Art Of Putting” was born.
Fast forward a few months and with the help of 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie, who was kind enough to write the foreword, we launched our first book at the 2018 Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open just along the road at Gullane.

We joked at the time that if we didn’t actually sell any copies of the book, at the very least we would have some very nice 150-page business cards! We needn’t have worried as it soon became an Amazon best-seller and continues to sell around the world. 

As satisfying as that was and still is, what gives us a far greater sense of satisfaction are the thank you notes, letters, and emails we continue to receive from golfers from all four corners of the globe. The words which keep popping up in these notes of thanks are “liberating, freedom, gratitude, and enjoyment”. If we have helped even a small number of golfers to experience any of these, then we feel we have done our job.

On the back of the success of our first collaboration, we were encouraged to embark on another journey to follow on from our thoughts and ideas on putting in the form of another book.

After much deliberation, we decided this one should be about “The Lost Art of Playing Golf”. During the process of putting this together, a chance meeting and subsequent conversations Karl had with Rudy Duran, who was Tiger Woods’ first coach, in China of all places, confirmed we had chosen the right topic.

Rudy very generously agreed to write the foreword where he talked a lot about the young Tiger and his desire to learn how to create all sorts of different shots with different clubs. Something we feel has been lost to a certain degree in recent years.

With the help of some great guest contributors, as we had with our first book, combined with countless hours of research, writing, and re-writing, in October 2019, we launched “The Lost Art Of Playing Golf”.

Naturally, we experienced a certain amount of trepidation as to whether this one might sell and whether we had got the content, flow, and tone of this one right.

Once again, we were delighted not only when this too became an Amazon best-seller but the content seemed to resonate with a far greater number of golfers than we could ever have expected or wished for. We really weren’t sure that the opening chapter about “Gratitude” would be welcomed by people wanting to play better golf but from the feedback we have since received, we are glad we choose to include it.

Over the last couple of years, Karl and I, just like pretty much everyone else on the planet, have had certain issues to deal with due to this global pandemic. We both had longer periods of not having any income from our day-to-day coaching than we would have liked but it did provide us with the opportunity of dust off our respective laptops and get writing again.

This time we felt we should provide an alternative viewpoint on the short game, having already covered putting and actually playing the game.
Once again, we have had tremendous support from a variety of guest contributors (you’ll need to buy the books to find out who they all are), including the legendary Bob Vokey, the godfather of wedge design, who wrote the foreword for “The Lost Art Of The Short Game”.

As with our previous two books, the waiting game we have to play while the publishers and printers turn all our collective thoughts from Word documents into books, as anyone who has written a book will tell you, is a period when the second and hour hands on our clocks and watches appear to be working in slow motion.

Having said that, there is light at the end of the tunnel and we hope to have hardback and Kindle versions available on Amazon and the newly revamped online shop very soon at – thelostartofgolf.com – where we are now taking pre-orders.

In addition to the three books, we are also offering a “The Lost Art Of Golf Collection” box set which contains all three books in a very stylish cover.

What started out as an idea just over four years ago, turned into a book, then a follow-up, and then there were three!

Despite the fact Karl and I have read, re-read and proofread this third book more times than we care to count, we can’t wait to share our thoughts and ideas on the short game with the golf world and we wait impatiently for “The Lost Art Of The Short Game” to be held in the hands of golfers all around the world.

Until next time, appreciate every opportunity you have to play this great game.

Enjoy!
Gary Nicol

Pre-Order your copy of The Lost Art of the Short Game

Triple Track Tuesday: A drill for working on pace putting

Gary Nicol has teamed up with National Club Golfer, Callaway and Odyssey’s Triple Track ball and putter technology to create a special series of putting videos.

Using techniques from The Lost Art books, co-author Gary Nicol will help you look at putting in a new way. These videos are guaranteed to give all variety of golfers a whole new perspective on the greens.

All of our videos were filmed at Archerfield Links in Gullane.

Triple Track Tuesday: The key to hitting putts consistently

Gary Nicol has teamed up with National Club Golfer, Callaway and Odyssey’s Triple Track ball and putter technology to create a special series of putting videos.

Using techniques from The Lost Art books, co-author Gary Nicol will help you look at putting in a new way. These videos are guaranteed to give all variety of golfers a whole new perspective on the greens.

All of our videos were filmed at Archerfield Links in Gullane.

Triple Track Tuesday: A green reading tip to help with longer putts

Gary Nicol has teamed up with National Club Golfer, Callaway and Odyssey’s Triple Track ball and putter technology to create a special series of putting videos.

Using techniques from The Lost Art books, co-author Gary Nicol will help you look at putting in a new way. These videos are guaranteed to give all variety of golfers a whole new perspective on the greens.

All of our videos were filmed at Archerfield Links in Gullane.

Tripe Track Tuesday: A ladder drill to stop those three putts

Gary Nicol has teamed up with National Club Golfer, Callaway and Odyssey’s Triple Track ball and putter technology to create a special series of putting videos.

Using techniques from The Lost Art books, co-author Gary Nicol will help you look at putting in a new way. These videos are guaranteed to give all variety of golfers a whole new perspective on the greens.

All of our videos were filmed at Archerfield Links in Gullane.

Thoughtful Thursday: Good things happen to good people

Only a few weeks ago, I wrote about an enforced layoff due to a niggling hip injury providing Grant Forrest the opportunity to rest, reassess, recuperate and reset. 

Grant could have viewed this untimely incident as bad luck and extremely annoying as it was slap bang in the middle of the season. Thankfully, as frustrating as it was, he took the time to reflect on where he was with his game and think about what needed to improve in order to achieve his goal of winning on the European Tour. Something that anyone who has seen him play will know he is more than capable of.

Forrest thinks deeply about his game and he made the decision to end his working relationship with his swing coach and seek the opinion of Matt Belsham, who is probably best known for his work with Alex Noren. What he had been working on wasn’t quite going to plan. The intention having been to improve his accuracy off the tee and with his iron play.

His ability to strike the ball solidly and hit it prodigious distances has never been the issue but his accuracy had been letting him down more than he was prepared to accept.

Decision made, after a couple of sessions, he felt he could finally take more ownership of his game and hit the shots he was visualising and intending to hit, which is obviously a very nice place to be on the golf course. Especially when playing tournament golf is how he makes his living.

Having spent a good deal of time with Grant over the last 18 months or so, helping him with his short game and putting, I have got to know him fairly well. He is always polite and punctual, two traits that cost nothing but are to my mind, invaluable. 

Grant is not afraid of hard work, he puts in more than his fair share of hours and effort in the gym and on his game. He is also learning, very quickly I might add, the value of working smart. While integrating the changes he was making to his long game, he recognised he had perhaps been neglecting his putting and his recent stats backed that up.

With that in mind, he knew he wasn’t going to improve his putting stats or his scores by merely noticing he had been spending too little time honing his putting skills. He knew he would have to actually do something about it.

On the Monday preceding the Hero Open at The Fairmont, St. Andrews, Grant arrived at the Archerfield Performance Centre at 9am sharp, just as we had agreed. As always, we discussed what his INTENTION was, where his ATTENTION was and it goes without saying, we were going to tackle the situation with a good ATTITUDE.

When his putting goes slightly “off”, it is rarely anything drastic or dramatic. A little tweak here or there, a shift in focus of attention or a slightly different feel. In this instance, the strike off the putter was less than optimal, therefore making his pace control a bit of a challenge. Moving the ball slightly further forward in his stance seemed to do the trick along with experimenting with a left hand below right grip on a few putts.
The data we were picking up on TrackMan was virtually identical with both a conventional grip and left hand low. The difference was something only he could feel.

Long story short, six days later, Grant Forrest was crowned as Hero Open champion 2021 with an astonishing four round total of 24 under par.
Statistically, this was his best ball striking tournament of his professional career in terms of fairways and greens hit by some considerable distance. Opening with consecutive four under par 68s on Thursday and Friday, using a conventional putting grip was pretty solid but somewhat disappointing, considering how well he had played from tee to green. On Saturday he decided to go left hand low with the putter and 62 (10 under par for the day) shots later, he was tied for the lead.

Sunday was going to be a new experience for Grant as he headed out in the last group, tied for the lead with fellow Scot Calum Hill at 18 under par.

Despite making a bogey 5 on the opening hole, just as he had done en route to his 62 the previous day, he didn’t let that phase him. He and his caddie John McLure stuck to their task of assessing and playing one shot at a time, something else Grant has been working on. Being more present in the here and now, focusing on the task and trusting his technique. This shot and this shot alone. “Our big thing all day was one shot at a time, let’s just keep hitting shots and I hit a great 9 iron into 17 nice and close and that really helps and then two great shots into 18. It was a great way to finish.” 

I hope for Grant’s sake, he wasn’t as nervous as I was watching him play the back 9. I think he added a few more grey hairs to my ever increasing collection. To his credit, he stuck to his task and played some outstanding golf shots, eventually making birdies on the last two holes to edge out James Morrison who chased him down with a spectacular final round of 63. Thankfully those closing birdies and a final round of 66 was good enough to clinch his first win in the European Tour.

“There are so many emotions”, said Forest after his victory. “To do it in front of everyone who has come up to support me – the last year and a half has been a real challenge on and off the course so I’m just delighted.”

With his mum Audrey, sister Ailsa and girlfriend Christie walking every step and feeling the full spectrum of emotions, in attendance, this was a very proud moment for Grant who dedicated his victory to his late father Graeme.

“I wish he was here to see this, he’d be so chuffed. He’s been the big inspiration and a lot of the reason why I’ve really knuckled down when times were tough.”

With sentiments like that, I doubt there has been a more popular winter on Tour in recent times and it is easy to understand why.

Good things really do happen to good people.

Until next time,
Be good.

Triple Track Tuesday: Why are we so bad at asking good questions?

Gary Nicol has teamed up with National Club Golfer, Callaway and Odyssey’s Triple Track ball and putter technology to create a special series of putting videos.

Using techniques from The Lost Art books, co-author Gary Nicol will help you look at putting in a new way. These videos are guaranteed to give all variety of golfers a whole new perspective on the greens.

All of our videos were filmed at Archerfield Links in Gullane.

Thoughtful Thursday: Rest, recuperate, reassess and reset.

We have all heard the expression “practice makes perfect” and have been lead to believe that is not only the truth but the best way forward. I beg to differ.

Regardless of your chosen endeavor, you can practice or train all you want but if you aren’t practicing or on working on the right things, that practice may well be a waste of time and effort. Working hard doesn’t always mean working smart.

Sometimes a different perspective and approach to working hard can bear fruit. Often when you’re least expecting it. 

Over the last 18 months or so, I have had the pleasure and I do mean pleasure, of working with one of Scotland’s brightest young stars, Grant Forrest, on certain aspects of his game.

Grant is clearly an exceptional golfer. His finish for tied 4th in last week’s Irish Open at Mount Juliet provided further evidence of that. While tied 4th was an excellent result, Grant was disappointed that he didn’t win. That is part of what makes him so good. 

Despite such a high finish, he knows he can do better and is prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve what anyone who has seen him play knows he can. 

As recently as six weeks ago, Grant was struggling with a hip injury that severely restricted his ability to work on his game and his fitness. I’m not sure which frustrated him more as he is just as committed to working in the gym as he is to his golf. He’s a very strong young man and playing golf with him is definitely not good for my self-esteem! Trust me, when he can carry his 2 iron as far as I can hit my career-best drive, it really isn’t a fair fight on the golf course.

On the flip side, his injury provided an opportunity to rest, recuperate, reassess and reset.

Initially pretty down about not being able to play, we arranged to meet up to work on his putting. Grant had looked at his putting stats in 2019, saw they weren’t great, and got in touch to see if I could help. From being an “average” putter, that relative weakness has become statistically the strongest part of the game. For the record, he has holed the putts when it matters, not me, so therefore he deserves the credit for that.

Going back to more recent times, having identified and rectified an issue with his putting posture, we sat down to chat on a bench outside the Archerfield Performance Centre. This is where I believe a lot of our best work is often done. We’re not hitting putts, pitches or bunker shots but talking about where his game is, where he wants it to be and how he plans to achieve his goals

I don’t tell him what to do, I simply ask questions. Thankfully, young Mr. Forrest is a smart, thoughtful and very articulate individual. As such, he comes up with the answers.

On the surface, his niggling injury may have held him back from “hard” work but the reality was that it afforded him the time to rest up, recuperate, reassess his current situation and press the reset button.

Questions were answered, decisions were made and the journey to becoming an even better golfer began. As an amateur, Grant Forrest won his fair share at every level and he understandably wants to repeat and recreate those winning ways in the professional game. I have no doubt that will happen. It is a matter of when, not if.

This week he will be competing in the Abrdn Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club in East Lothian, alongside the very best in the world. He knows the course well and can play all the shots required, regardless of whatever weather Mother Nature has in store over the next four days.

Every aspect of his game is in great shape. His ball striking is sickeningly impressive. His short game and putting are razor sharp. Perhaps more importantly, his attitude, hunger and desire, are as strong as I have ever known them.

Look out for Grant Forrest. Excellent golfer, good fun to be around, thoroughly decent human being and in my mind, someone who will win golf tournaments in an entertaining manner in the not too distant future. It might not be this week but then again, why not? It is definitely possible.

Until next time.

Enjoy and appreciate everything golf has to offer.

Gary Nicol
www.performanceprinciples.co.uk