TLAOP – One year on

A little over a year ago, we launched The Lost Art Of Putting at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane.

At the time, we had no idea what kind of response the book would receive, what kind of impact it might have or if we would actually sell any copies! In fact, we joked at the time that if nothing else happened, we could use the books as very nice business cards. It was very much a journey into the unknown but what a journey it has turned out to be.

Thankfully The Lost Art Of Putting has been extremely well received. Sales have exceeded our expectations, it has been serialised in magazines and online platforms in the UK, USA, Germany and Australia. Thanks to Today’s Golfer, The Morning Read, Golf Journal and Golf Australia, we have been able to reach a global audience. We even did our first ever webinar to 144 PGA Professionals in Australia which was a different but very enjoyable experience.

The book has been the number 1 best selling golf book on Amazon on numerous occasions where the 5 star reviews keep coming in. All of which is extremely rewarding and gratifying. It certainly makes us feel that all the hard work and long hours have been worth the effort.

Karl and I have been invited to talk about the book on numerous podcasts which are always good fun. If you had asked me what a podcast was 18 months ago, you would have been met with a bit of a blank expression. I really didn’t know much about them but now that I have been a guest on a few, including Karl’s Brain Booster which is an absolute must, I’m a big fan of the concept. Webinars and podcasts, not something I thought I would ever be writing about if the truth be told.

Thanks to the help we have received to spread the word, on an almost daily basis, we receive notes and emails from golfers all around the world to thank us for writing ‘the little black putting book’. Tour Pros and amateur golfers alike, have given us tremendous feedback about how it has allowed them to look at their putting through a different lens. 

The word we hear more than any when our students and readers contact us to tell us how the book has changed their putting is ‘liberating’. It has freed up so many players minds and bodies from the shackles of ‘searching for perfection’ with their putting strokes.

By encouraging golfers to go through a mental de-cluttering process and focus on creating putts rather than perfecting their techniques, our readers and students are now holing more putts than ever before and perhaps more importantly, they are having fun on the golf course again.

We have had golfers from all over the UK, Europe, The Middle East and the USA visit us at the Archerfield Performance Centre to learn more about the Putting Performance Principles we talk about in the book. 

The process of writing the book was something Karl and I had a lot of fun with. Initially, we wanted to put our collective thoughts from over 60 years combined coaching experience down on paper (or laptop) and before knew it, we had written a book. One year on and these thoughts have turned into a best seller. We honestly did not see that coming.

So what next? Well we haven’t exactly been idle since the book went on sale in July 2018. In addition to our day to day coaching, and everything else we do on a daily and weekly basis, Karl and I have been busy with a couple of new and exciting projects.

While The Lost Art Of Putting has been and we hope will continue to be a great success, we understand that in today’s world, people look to other platforms for information. Yes you can download the book onto your laptop, tablet or smartphone thanks to Kindle but with the likes of YouTube etc… there is a whole world out there who consume information visually.

As a result, we spent a few days at Archerfield Links a couple of months ago filming a video version of The Lost Art Of Putting which will be available as a digital download in a few weeks time. The videography team at Sports Publications are working their magic on the footage we shot as we speak and we believe this video will be the perfect companion to the book.

In the digital download which will be available from The Lost Art of Golf – we show you how to practically apply the principles and training exercises outlined in the book and demonstrate how to put hem all together. Exciting times!

Over and above that, Karl and I have been working hard on our next book – The Lost Art Of Playing Golf. The print and Kindle versions are with our editor Dan Murphy, who is meticulously correcting all our typos and generally structuring our musings into what we believe will be both an educational and entertaining read. We have planned release date of September 23rd and we will keep you up to date with progress on that.

As with the putting book, there will be a digital video download to follow up and compliment The Lost Art Of Playing Golf which we will be shooting at Archerfield next week. Lots going on at Lost Art HQ.

Until you can get your hands on a copy of The Lost Art Of Playing Golf, we’ll leave you with something to consider. Does the swing create the shot or does the shot create the swing?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Gary Nicol.

Win: A copy of The Lost Art of Putting

The Prize

We have five copies of the Amazon Kindle best-seller, The Lost Art of Putting by Gary Nicol and Karl Morris to giveaway.

RRP: £19.95

About The Lost Art of Putting

Does the stroke create the putt or does the putt create the stroke?

To be child-like is to have a simple fascination in getting the ball into the hole and to love the task of doing so. To be childish is to expect a certain outcome will come your way, that you deserve to hole the putt or that you shouldn’t miss from a certain distance.

The Lost Art of Putting will help you become more child-like on the greens and less childish. Leading tour coach Gary Nicol and performance coach Karl Morris have 60 years’ combined coaching experience. It is their belief that the game of golf is not about finding ‘the’ way to do it but more a case of discovering, or perhaps more importantly uncovering, ‘your’ way to do it. The perspective and concepts they share with you in this book have the potential to liberate you so that you can experience what you are truly capable of on the greens.

You can purchase The Lost Art of Putting by clicking here.

How to enter

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Competition closes August 31, 2019

Keep calm and carry on – it will improve your golf and life

I have always felt very lucky to do what I do for a living. To coach a sport I love and get the chance to work with players to see what is possible with their game, both with individuals and in groups.

I really enjoy presenting my Mind Factor workshops up and down the country where I get chance to share some of the ideas with club members that I have worked on with PGA Tour and European Tour players over the past 25 years or so.

However, increasingly one of the major downsides is the travel aspect. In particular the amount of time in my life that has ebbed slowly away as I have been stuck in stationary traffic surrounded by cones in endless miles of roadworks. At times it seems like the entire motorway network in this country is one long stretch of cones as we aim to embrace the concept of ‘smart motorways’.

I often travel back home from workshops late at night and the sense of rage that often wells up in me after a long journey gets towards the finish line and then I see the dreaded ‘M6 closed’ sign and know what should have been a 30 minute conclusion to my driving adventure may well now become another hour plus. There is something unique about sitting on motorway gone midnight going nowhere. A mixture of tiredness and anger late at night can be a very potent cocktail resulting in corresponding spike in my cortisol levels.

First world problems, I know, but these situations often remind me of how easily we can be ‘triggered’ and how that relates to our golf.

How does the game ‘trigger’ you?

Can you be sailing along blissfully with your medal round, everything well in your world and then suddenly the fourball in front starts to lose golf balls and you spend your time on the tee placing your hands on your hips in classic ‘teapot’ pose fuming at your lost momentum?

Or the time you hit a great drive and then an even better 4-iron right into the middle of the green, only to three-putt? You just cannot believe how unfair the game is, especially as your playing partner has just hacked his way down the hole before sliding in a 20-footer for par!

Our emotional rip chord is yanked and we descend into a sea of lament as yet again a round that looked so promising at the start gets away from us.

How many rounds can we look back on that have been ruined not by circumstances but our reaction to those circumstances?

Tips to stay calm on the golf course

Tips to stay calm on the golf course

For the good of my health, and in particular my blood pressure, I have come to realise that in those M6 moments I have a really clear choice to make. I can either let an external situation that I have no control over make me feel very bad or I can choose to respond differently and respond in a way that may not make me happy but does at the very least keep me neutral and away from the downward spiral of self-induced misery.

The concept is very simple but incredibly important for our game and our life. We can either react or we can respond. We can react to slow play like a spoilt child who has been taken out of the sandpit, or we can respond by choosing to put our attention in a more useful place for the presumed goal of playing the very best golf we can.

It is key to ask yourself the question before you play: Am I going to react or respond today? Because one thing is for certain, as certain as there will be more traffic cones to come on my M6 journeythat the golf course will provide you with numerous situations and that anger and frustration can and will take over if you continue to react. Anger at golf makes us very stupid and the tension created in our bodies as a result very rarely helps to swing the club in any other way than badly.

So much of what we do on a daily basis is a result of auto pilot responses as we allow circumstance to dictate how we feel.

As crazy as it may sound, the next bout of slow play or the next period of being held up on the course can be an opportunity to change your habitual responses and to take the opportunity to respond to a situation in the best possible way, a way that allows you to play the kind of golf you are actually capable of.

So if you see me stuck in traffic at some point and you can observe the steam coming out of my ears, please sound your horn at me an remind me that I am letting a bunch of cones make me feel bad for no real reason at all.

About Karl Morris

Karl Morris is a European Tour coach and founder of The Mind Factor.

He co-wrote The Lost Art of Putting with Gary Nicol, available on Amazon.

The Lost Art of Putting Podcast – Episode 6

Episode 6

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The Lost Art of Putting

The Lost Art of Putting, by Karl Morris and Gary Nicol and featuring a foreword from 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, is available in hardback and for Kindle from Amazon in the UK and US.

The Lost Art of Putting Podcast – Episode 4

Episode 4

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The Lost Art of Putting Podcast – Episode 3

Episode 3

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The Lost Art of Putting Podcast – Episode 2

Episode 2

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The Lost Art of Putting Podcast – Episode 1

Episode 1

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The Lost Art of Putting

The Lost Art of Putting, by Karl Morris and Gary Nicol and featuring a foreword from 1999 Open champion Paul Lawrie, is available in hardback and for Kindle from Amazon in the UK and US.

Visualisation: It’s hard to hit a good putt unless you can see it first in your imagination

If you can’t see a good putt in your imagination, you’ll probably find it very difficult to create a putt that travels on the right line at the appropriate pace and disappears into the hole.  

A clear image of what you want the ball to do helps create a ‘map of movement’ for your body to follow. 

If you draw a line on your ball and you see a line of the path the ball will travel to the hole in your mind’s eye, the chances are that the line you see will be an extension of the line on your ball. 

That line you see will be a very, very thin one. This tells your brain you have to roll your ball along that thin line. Think of it like walking along a tightrope. How comfortable, confident or relaxed would you be about that?  

For years, golfers have used a builder’s chalk line as a training aid and focused their attention on rolling their ball along that incredibly thin line. If the ball falls off that line, even if it ends up in the hole, that would be regarded as a failure as the task was to keep the ball on the chalk line. Some might say that golf is a game of precision and practising to be extremely precise is definitely the way forward. 

If it works for you then carry on. However, if it doesn’t we suggest you use two chalk lines. 

One on the left edge of the hole and one 4.25 inches directly opposite on the right edge of the hole. You can also put your alignment rods to good use here to create the same visual aid.  

Suddenly your line has gone from being as thin as a razor’s edge to as wide as the hole itself. What would be easier, putting along the tightrope, or putting down a 4.25-inch-wide channel? You might find it helpful to think of it as a gutter. 

Focusing on the thin line puts your attention almost entirely on line, whereas giving yourself the entire width of the hole, frees up your mind and your muscles and allows you to focus on pace. 

Have you ever visualised the line being as wide as the hole? Neither had 99 per cent of our students but once they started to see that much wider, thicker line, they were amazed at how easy it is to hole putts and you will be too. 

While we’re on the subject of width or thickness of line, if that line had a colour, what colour would it be? Initially, most people struggle to see a line that is at least as wide as the hole. Why? Quite simply because they have never looked for it before.  

Think of your favourite colour or a colour that would stand out against the green of the putting surface. Try closing your eyes and experimenting with different colours in your imagination. You will soon find one that stands out vividly against the green.  

Your golf ball, at 1.68 inches in diameter doesn’t even take up half the width of that newly introduced 4.25 inch line. 

That being the case, there is actually room for at least two golf balls to fit into the hole. 

In fact, there is actually enough room for three golf balls, if they are hit on different lines at different paces.  

As the line changes according to the pace you hit your putt, so does your entry point. 

For example, if you take the high line with less pace and a lot of break, your entry point is going to be on the right side of the hole on a right-to-left putt. The more break or borrow you allow for the more your entry point moves from the centre of the hole. This is something you will have to consider when visualising what the ball has to do in order to allow gravity to do its thing and pull your ball into the hole. 

One final thought: Always ensure the line and pace you visualise actually makes it as far as the hole. This may sound like we’re stating the obvious but experience tells us that even some of the best players in the world don’t actually visualise the ball or line disappearing into the hole.

The Lost Art of Putting

This excerpt was taken from Gary and Karl’s book, The Lost Art of Putting which is available in hardback and Kindle formats.

Click here to get your copy.

Where do you look to find out the contours of a green?

We’ve all the seen or played with the guy who looks at every putt from every angle right? What is he looking for? Basically, clues that will lead him to make a decision on how hard to hit his putt and what line to hit it on. Line and pace. 

We don’t recommend that you study every putt from every conceivable angle – a round of golf takes long enough.  

However, we do believe you should look at ALL your putts from the LOW side.  

Once you figure out where the low side is, use your eyes and feet to help you here, look at it from around halfway down the length of the putt and three or four paces back from the line.  

For example, when faced with a 20-foot putt, walk what you think is 10 feet then take a few steps back.  

Crouching down so that your eyes are closer to the ground will help you see the contours a little more clearly but even standing up, you will see a lot more than you will ever see from only looking down the line from behind the ball. 

You will effectively be looking at what you face in 3D HD widescreen. You will see the full picture if you stand far enough back to see both your ball and the hole in your peripheral vision. You will see the full length of the putt.  

If you only look at your putt “down the line”, it foreshortens the perceived distance. The chances are your eyes won’t actually make contact with the ground until 18 to 24 inches beyond the ball.  

This confuses your brain and it starts to compute the required distance, MINUS that 18 to 24 inches. When you think about it logically, it makes perfect sense that the resultant putt will probably come up short. 

You should also understand and be aware of the fact that a putt with two feet of break will travel further than a straight putt of what would at first glance to be the same length. Not something many golfers tend to factor in when determining the pace of any given putt and how hard to hit it. This makes a big difference and should not be overlooked as it will be a major factor in determining pace. 

Not only will you start to see the length of the putt in its entirety, you will notice if it is uphill or downhill, something that will have an effect on the speed of your putt and the pace at which you will need to hit it. You will see subtle undulations and changes in elevation, all of which will help with your decision making when it comes to where you hit your putt and how hard you hit it to give your ball the best possible chance of going in the hole. 

Trust us when we say that this will not add time to your round of golf but actually enable you to play faster. 

You can do your detective work while your playing partners are preparing to putt, so that you are truly ready when it is your turn.  

Because you will now be better equipped to roll your ball on the correct line at the appropriate pace, you will hole more putts, hit your approach putts closer, greatly reduce the number of three putts you have and ultimately spend less time on the greens. 

“What about looking at the putt from behind the hole looking back towards my ball? I’ve seen the pros doing that on TV.”  

Looking at your putt from this angle can help you determine an entry point. However, please understand that your eyes will see the additional distance beyond the hole and this will lead to your brain being fooled into thinking you have a greater distance to cover than you have in reality.  

It can also look a little different from this angle which can lead to you second-guessing all the information you have gathered from down the line and the low side. Second guessing leads to uncertainty and indecision, which in turn leads to a lack of commitment.  

The Lost Art of Putting

This excerpt was taken from Gary and Karl’s book, The Lost Art of Putting which is available in hardback and Kindle formats.

Click here to get your copy.