Thoughtful Thursday: What does 2022 hold for you?

With The Masters only a few short weeks away, thoughts are turning towards the season ahead for golfers around the world.

What does 2022 hold for you, both on and off the golf course? Do you have dreams and ambitions for what you would like to achieve? This may sound a little presumptuous but if you are like most golfers I have met in a lifetime in the game, I would imagine you do. 

Some golfers, whether they be weekend club golfers, occasional casual golfers or a seasoned Tour Pro, like to write down what they would like to win before the season ends. 

I am generally a big fan of journaling, transferring my thoughts into my notebook as those thoughts exit my mind, run down my arm, hand and my pen before appearing on the page in front of me. However, writing down goals alone, from my experience is not enough. There has to be a plan of action.

Thoughts, hopes and dreams but without a plan, in all likelihood, they will remain just that.

If winning the monthly medal, The Open Championship or even a fiver from your Sunday morning fourball opponents is what you desire, do you have a plan for how you are going to achieve your goal? I could bore you with a list of unoriginal cliches and inspirational quotes about failing to plan etc… but I’m sure you’ve heard them all before.

Are you going to continue to work on the same things in your backswing that you’ve been working on in the hope that “good” technique will protect you from bad golf, largely without success?

OR, are you prepared to take a leap of faith, not worry too much about your wrist angles and/or creating lag in your downswing and pay a bit more attention to the shots you are actually going to have to play on the golf course? 

Are you perhaps going to make a commitment to improving your short game and putting? That is where I believe the vast majority of golfers, at every level, can make the biggest difference not only to your performance but also your enjoyment of the game.

We all want to shoot lower scores and get sucked into believing that the fastest, shortest route to low scores and happiness can be achieved by hitting 330-yard drives. That’s all well and good if you are an elite athlete who works out and trains every day but if you’re not, be careful you don’t injure yourself in the process.

I’m not saying that distance isn’t important, golf is a game of distance and direction but let’s not ignore the importance of a razor-sharp short game. While hitting record-breaking drives might be desirable, is it really achievable? I don’t know.

What I do know is that everyone who plays golf can definitely become a better golfer on and around the greens.

Regardless of your dreams and desires for the coming season, please do yourself a favour and incorporate an element of short game and putting skills training into your plan of action. Become acquainted with your scoring clubs and your putter. Learn how to use the tools of your trade and you never know, 2022 might just be your best year ever.

Good luck for the year ahead and please be grateful for every opportunity you have to play the greatest game of all.

Thoughtful Thursday: The Power Of Three – Intention, Attention and Attitude

It can be enormously satisfying to set a goal, work towards it and ultimately see it through to completion. If you take the appropriate action.

Goals or ambitions come in all shapes and sizes in our personal and professional lives and from my experience, achievement of any goal is down to three keywords or concepts.

INTENTION, ATTENTION and ATTITUDE. For me, these are the three key Performance Principles, whatever your endeavour.

Without a crystal clear INTENTION, you have no start or finish line. Intention is an aim or a plan and will act not only as the thing that clarifies what it is you want to achieve, it will provide you with the motivation to take the first step. 

Once you have clarity of intention, you now have somewhere to place your ATTENTION. We have all been told at certain times in our lives to pay attention to what we are doing but what does that actually mean? Attention is basically the action of dealing with or taking special care of someone or something.

ATTITUDE is a way of feeling or acting towards a person, thing or situation. A bad attitude is like a flat tyre. You can’t go anywhere until you change it.
These three keywords have been at the forefront of the thinking of Karl Morris and I since we set out to write our first book, The Lost Art Of Putting in early 2018. 

Armed initially with good old-fashioned notebooks and pens, Karl and I started writing down our collective thoughts and ideas. After a while, these started to make sense and form the chapter titles and content.

Almost four years down the line, Karl and I have now completed three books in The Lost Art series, something we are very proud of. We are not just proud of the fact the books have been extremely well received by the golf community around the world but perhaps more importantly that we achieved what we set out to do.

It wasn’t always plain sailing. We both experienced days when we would sit in front of our respective laptops, staring at blank screens and the words quite simply failed to appear. On the flip side, there were days when the aim was to write 1000 words and four hours later we had written 2 or 3000 words.

While our intention remained the same, to create books that would help golfers of all standards to play better golf and have more fun in the process, our attention was on what we needed to do and our attitude was one where we always believed it was possible, not every writing session turned out the same. We stuck to our process, knowing that if we did so, we would ultimately achieve what we set out to do.

A bit like a round of golf, a day or week at work or at home.

We had a goal and thankfully were disciplined enough to see it through, largely down to our INTENTION, ATTENTION AND ATTITUDE, something we strongly believe that can and should be applied to whatever you set out to achieve in your life.

To see your hard work actually turn into something tangible like a book or in our case three books, The Lost Art Of Putting, The Lost Art Of Playing Golf and The Lost Art Of The Short Game, is extremely satisfying and gratifying.

To top it all off, we now have a special edition box set of The Lost Art Of Golf Collection which is now available on our website and are also available in the UK on Amazon.

Until next time, be grateful for and enjoy every opportunity to do what makes you happy and be very clear on your INTENTION, where you place your ATTENTION and approach them with the ATTITUDE that whatever it is you want to achieve, it is possible.

Thoughtful Thursday: The long wait is almost over

When the UK went into lockdown once again shortly after Christmas 2020, I knew I was going to be in for a tough few months.

No coaching meant no income. Not something I was particularly looking forward to. It would have been all too easy to find reasons not to do anything at all but my mind is far less capable of that than I thought. Rather than sit at home feeling sorry for myself, I decided to do something constructive.

Having previously co-written ‘The Lost Art Of Putting’ and ‘The Lost Art Of Playing Golf’ with my good friend Karl Morris, who I firmly believe has one of the best minds in the golf world, we decided to put pen to paper once again.

It was always our intention to write a third book in the Lost Art series and lockdown provided us with the perfect opportunity to dust off our respective laptops and get our thinking caps on one more time. 

When we launched The Lost Art Of Putting at The Scottish Open with the help of 1999 Open Champion Pail Lawrie, who very kindly wrote the foreword, we had no idea if we would actually sell a single copy. In fact, we joked that if we didn’t sell any, at least we would have a very nice, but expensive, business card!

Thankfully we needn’t have worried. Both books have achieved sales way beyond our expectations. More importantly, judging by all the positive feedback we have received, our thoughts and ideas appear to have resonated with golfers around the world.

5-star reviews on Amazon along with hundreds of emails, messages on social media as well as in person, from golfers of all standards from weekend warriors to Tour Pros competing at the highest level, suggested we might just be on to something. That alone was sufficient motivation for Karl and I to get started on “The Lost Art Of The Short Game”. 

Much of January was spent racking our brains and scribbling in notepads. Countless hours of research and speaking to various industry experts helped fill the days which passed way quicker than I had anticipated, which was a real bonus.

We got in touch with a number of people we have the utmost respect for to ask if they would be interested in writing a piece as guest contributors. Thankfully they all said yes and their contributions are all exceptional. I don’t want to give too much away at this point, you will have to buy the book to find out who they are, but we are eternally grateful to everyone who took the time to help us put together what we believe to be our best work yet.

Our initial time frame for the first draft to be completed was by the end of March, which at the time seemed ambitious but achievable. We just about managed that and only missed our self-imposed ‘deadline’ by a few days. I remember thinking that the hard work was over at this point. It’s amazing how quickly I ‘forgot’ that writing the first draft was actually the easy part. The hard work was just about to begin!

I have lost count of the number of times I have re-read and proofread every single word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter looking for mistakes and inconsistencies. Proofreading has to be one of the most difficult things I have ever done. 

What makes it so difficult? It works kind of like this. You set out to highlight and amend grammatical errors and typos. You aim to pick up on a lack of or excessive punctuation and correct those mistakes accordingly. Sounds simple enough but the reality is that you start reading a sentence and your brain says ‘I know what is coming next, I wrote it after all’ and before you know it, you have read three paragraphs, then three pages and you think this is actually pretty good, then suddenly you realise you haven’t been paying the slightest bit of attention to what you should be looking for. Frustrating? Extremely! You have to retrace your steps and start all over again. 

At this point, we realised the best thing to do was to let go, for the time being at least, and hand it over to others to cast a critical eye over our work. 
The first draft became a second and third draft before sending it on to our editor for his thoughts.

In the meantime, we also had to approve illustrations, which we are delighted with, along with cover designs for both the book and a box set of ‘The Lost Art Of Golf Collection’.

After much deliberation and seeking the opinions of people we trust, covers were finally agreed upon and approved before being sent off to the printers to bring our musings to life in the form of books and dust jackets.

What started out as a project to prevent us from climbing the walls during lockdown, is now about to become a reality. We have been informed that we should have books in our hands by or on Monday, October 11. At last, the long wait is almost over and we cannot wait to see, hold and read what has been yet another labour of love.

It is always very satisfying to see all your hard work actually morph into something tangible and we cannot wait to share what we have put together with golfers around the world.

Please check out – – for updates and how to order. We are also updating the Amazon pages of all three books where they are available in hardback and Kindle versions.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on ‘The Lost Art Of The Short Game. Discover what is truly possible for YOU around the greens.’

Until next time, appreciate the opportunity to further your golf education and put it into practice on the golf course.

All the best,
Gary Nicol

Thoughtful Thursday: Artistry versus analytics

Anyone who is even remotely interested in golf will no doubt be well aware of what is happening at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin this weekend. THE RYDER CUP.

The Ryder Cup, three words that mean so much to so many.

Over the last 30 years, this event has become not only the greatest show in golf, it is now arguably one of the greatest sporting events on the planet and rightly so. With every playing, it’s appeal grows and grows, perhaps more so than any other golf tournament, including the 4 Majors.

Why should that be the case? There are a number of reasons but for me, the two main ones are that first and foremost, it is very much “us against them”. The European Tour versus the PGA Tour. There is an awful lot at stake here, pride being very high on the priority list.

Secondly, The Ryder Cup is matchplay, perhaps golf’s truest and most engaging, enjoyable and watchable form. Only three weeks ago, Catriona Matthew led Team Europe to victory in the Solheim Cup, the ladies version of The Ryder Cup, on American soil, a feat Padraig Harrington will undoubtedly be keen to emulate.

The FedEx finals, the PGA Tour’s “biggest” event was being played at the same time and broadcast at roughly the same time and I have to say, I watched a LOT of the Solheim and not one shot of the FedEx. Why? Again, numerous reasons including knowing and having coached Captain Catriona but largely because it was matchplay.

For thrills and spills, strokeplay is a very poor and distant cousin to matchplay. You just can’t beat it for excitement.

Until the first ball is struck on Friday, there will be lots of speculation about who will win and why. On paper, the USA are the stronger side. However, as former European Ryder Cup star and captain Sam Torrance once said, “We don’t play them on paper, we play them on grass!”

Analytics have become a big part of golf in recent years. They will tell you which team hits the ball further off the tee. They will tell you who hits the most greens in regulation and who gains the most strokes on and around the greens……in strokeplay events.

While analytics have their place and I have no doubt both captains will have endless amounts of data to help them with their four ball and foursomes pairing selections but ultimately, it will come down to who performs best over the course of the three days of competition.

With the weather forecasters predicting relatively strong winds which may well change direction over the course of the weekend, I have a very strong feeling that artistry and the ability to adapt and adjust to the fluctuating conditions will prevail.

I have been very fortunate in my career to have spent time with, coached and learned from numerous Ryder Cup players and one of the things they have all had in common apart from supreme talent, is their ability to adapt, adjust and play the right shot at the right time. Not make the right swing but play the right shot.

With the course being set up the way it is, combined with potentially testing weather conditions, it is my firm belief that the European team have superior artists in their ranks who are capable of creating a wider array of shots than their American counterparts.

Personally, I cannot wait to see how this weekend unfolds and I am sure we will be treated to some excellent, entertaining, engaging and enjoyable golf. A veritable l feast for golf fans around the world.

Will the European artists be victorious or the analytics obsessed Americans?

If I were a betting man, which I’m not, my money would be on Harrington’s heroes to bring The Ryder Cup back home to this side of the Atlantic.

Until next time, put your feet up, switch the TV on, pour yourself a nice refreshing beverage and enjoy!

Gary Nichol

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

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 had to play while the publishers and printers turned 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.

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, these are available to pre-order and will be available in the coming weeks.

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.

Gary Nicol

Order your copy of The Lost Art of the Short Game

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.

Thoughtful Thursday: Stop, Look, Listen

Golfers up and down the UK are counting down the hours and minutes until they can enjoy the same rights as those of us fortunate enough to live north of Hadrian’s Wall.

March 29th might not go down as one of the most historic dates in golf but it is unquestionably significant. All those practice swings in the garden and putting strokes honed on the hall carpet will at last be put to the test on real, rather than imaginary golf courses.

Booming drives, well struck iron shots and putts holed from all over the place will finally be realised. Well they might not actually be realised but at least golf nuts up and down the country will be a step closer to achieving their dreams.

Before you step on to the first tee and start whaling away with your driver, stop, look and listen.

STOP – In advance of removing the headcover from your driver and swinging off your feet, take a moment to appreciate your surroundings and be grateful for the opportunity to play the game you love for whatever reasons. You have waited this long, a few more seconds won’t do any harm. 
You never know, you might just see something you have never noticed in the past. Is the sky normally so blue at this time of year? Are the trees normally as green? Is the gorse always in bloom before April? Open your eyes and take a full 360 view, chances are you will start to truly appreciate the beauty of nature, which can never be a bad thing. After all, you probably play golf because you love being outdoors. You love it but do you ever actually appreciate it?

LOOK – Observe and recognise all the hard work that the greenkeepers have done in your absence for your enjoyment. You have probably been dreaming of this moment for quite some time, so please do not take it for granted.
Don’t the tees look great without dozens of divots and scuff marks? That fairway looks inviting doesn’t it? Has that bunker down the right always looked like that or has it been reshaped? Aren’t the greens so much better to putt on without numerous pitch marks on your line? 
We all want to putt on perfectly manicured greens, so rather than relying on the greens staff or other golfers to maintain these magnificent surfaces, buy a pitch fork and use it at every opportunity.

LISTEN – Regardless of how many times you have played the course before, have you ever really thought about the questions the golf course, or indeed the designer or architect is asking of you?

Is the architect asking you to hit it long and straight on every par 4 and 5, or is he asking how you can fashion a par by plotting your way round the course and using your handicap wisely? Fairways and greens in regulation are obviously something you should aspire to but if your handicap is 15, be happy rather than disappointed if you only hit 50% of them. 

The best players in the world rarely hit more than 70% of greens in regulation and their fairways hit numbers are even lower.

Is this going to be yet another year where come up short with pretty much every approach shot because you have under clubbed? Don’t base your club selection on that one shot you hit two years ago with a 7 iron that went 170 yards downhill, downwind. 

Think about where the trouble is and make sure you take more than enough club to take that trouble out of the equation. Can you carry that front bunker comfortably with whatever club you have chosen or will it take your absolute Sunday best? Leave your ego in the car park before heading to the first tee. No one really cares that you hit a drive and wedge at the first, especially if your wedge came up 15 yards short of the front edge of the green.

Set yourself the task or challenge of trying to get your approach shots past the flag. Take note of how often you achieve it and if it made a difference to your scoring.

Above all, remember what you have missed about playing golf and how much you enjoy the experience, regardless of how you play. 
It’s probably been a while since you last struck a ball out of the heel, toe or sweet spot, so don’t expect too much. Low expectations often lead to good performance whereas unrealistically high expectations can leave you one bad shot from anger and frustration.

Play well, have fun enjoy every minute of your experience of playing the game you love.

Thoughtful Thursday: The Attitude of Gratitude

For those of us north of the border, we have been able to play golf slightly longer than those south of it, however, everyone in the UK has finally being able to taste the great game for a couple of months now.

Just to get out and hit a golf ball is something the majority of golfers, myself included have taken for granted at times for way too long. The only thing stopping us in the past having been prior commitments, ill health or bad weather.

Why golf was off limits for so long is beyond me. Even if your favourite fourball tried to hit their shots within two metres of each other, in all probability, that simply would not happen!

Anyway, personal opinions aside, we have so much to look forward to this summer. Playing golf again being high on many priority lists.

Will the opportunity to play golf be enough to satisfy the golfers among us or do we all want more? Yes it would be great to shoot lower scores, reduce handicaps and win competitions but just getting out there could and perhaps should be enough.

If I had £5 for every time I have heard or read “I just want to play golf again”, I would be planning my retirement to a Mediterranean island. I do wonder however if being grateful for the ability to play golf again is what we really want and if it is, how long will our gratitude last.

How long will it be before golfers around the world start complaining about course conditions, pace of play and pitch marks not being repaired? 
Rather than moan about it, accept and appreciate that preparing a golf course takes good growing conditions and a lot of hard work. Accept that if everyone played a little bit quicker we would all enjoy our golf a bit more. Make a commitment to pick up the pace a bit on the course and encourage your playing companions to do likewise. Don’t complain about ignored pitch marks, my pet hate, just fix your own and one more.
I find it astonishing that the people who complain most vociferously about bumpy greens probably don’t even own a pitch fork, never mind know how to use one.

Be grateful that you are no longer in total lockdown. Be thankful that at long last you can get out the house to get some exercise in the serene surroundings of a golf course.

I’m not suggesting for a second that you shouldn’t care about how you play or what you score but please do not lose sight of the fact that playing golf is a privilege not to be undervalued.

Looking forward to something has no real meaning or value if you don’t actually appreciate the moment you have been anticipating for so long.
Adopting “an attitude of gratitude” not just on the golf course but in our daily lives can have such a positive impact on the way we see and experience pretty much everything.

Gratitude is essentially the quality of being thankful, a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
We have all been taught to be kind to others but we are rarely kind to ourselves when it comes to playing golf. When was the last time you patted yourself on the back after a good shot? Long time ago.

When was the last time you called yourself a useless (insert your own insult here) on the golf course? Probably the last time you played!
The concept of gratitude is nothing new but I do know it is known to increase happiness. If increased happiness isn’t enough for you, it can reduce a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret.

After much deliberation, Karl Morris and I decided to open our second book “The Lost Art Of Playing Golf”, with an entire chapter on gratitude and the feedback we have received would suggest it was a wise move.

When you next play golf, before you even get out of your car on arrival at the golf club, take a moment to ask yourself “What am I grateful for today?”

Only you will know the answer or answers to that question but what I do know is that such a simple question can have a profound effect on your golf and general well being.

Until next time, play well, have fun and be grateful for the opportunity to play the greatest game of all.

Thoughtful Thursday – Why?

As we work towards the summer golf season, is it the freedom and ability to spend time with your friends, colleagues and family in the great outdoors? Is it the opportunity to work on your game and get your handicap down? 

Is it because you can’t wait to try out that new driver or putter you bought online after a glass of wine too many one night during lockdown? Is it the feeling of a well struck shot that you have missed so badly?

Or could it be that you have quite simply missed the game of golf and all the challenges it presents every time you play? 

Take a minute or two to think about this. Why do you play golf? This may sound like a pretty basic and simple question but it is one I suggest you take some time to consider.

There are no right or wrong answers here, it is not a test. It is however extremely important to understand your WHY if you are to truly derive any real and genuine pleasure and enjoyment from your experiences on the golf course.

We all play the game for different reasons. We all have our own personal WHY. 

It may well be that your reason is to simply get out of the house for a few hours, something I think we can all relate to. It might be that you finally want to get rid of that card wrecking slice. This year could be the year you apply all you have learned from watching countless YouTube videos during lockdown. You know the ones I mean, the ones that tell you how to do this that or the next thing perfectly!

Are you going to head to the course with your new grip, improved posture, your new backswing that would make Adam Scott jealous? Your new downswing that incorporates the latest ‘magic move’ and guarantees 300 yard drives? 

No doubt your clubs will be spotlessly clean, your bag filled with shiny new golf balls, new gloves, a rain forest of tees and whatever else you can stuff into the pockets.

You will have rehearsed your new, improved swing so many times in your garden or at the very least in your mind that you feel like a Tour Pro as you head to the first tee, ready to take on the world and shoot a new course record.

OR will you just be grateful for the opportunity to once more be able to play the game you love?

Will you appreciate all the hard work the Greenkeeping staff have put in to make the golf courses look and play as good as it ever has done? Or will you be so immersed in your own game that you won’t even notice that some of the bunkers have been re-shaped, or that a new tee has been built? 

If your course looks better than ever, when you see a green keeper will you thank him or her for all their hard work or will you be too busy beating yourself up because you just hit a drive out of bounds and three putted the last four greens?

Golf courses are generally in pretty nice surroundings, some more spectacular than others admittedly but please remember they are there for your pleasure and enjoyment. Take time to appreciate that.

Appreciate your good shots and accept the bad ones. You are human after all and bad shots are part of the game. Don’t let the bad shots cast a cloud over the good ones. Appreciate the putts you hole and don’t allow the ones you miss to drive you to despair.

Be grateful for the opportunity to you to play the game you love. Enjoy the freedom and companionship you are so fortunate to experience and try not to take it for granted. Enjoy being creative with your shotmaking. Appreciate the golf course and the questions the course designer or architect is asking of you on each and every shot.

Playing golf is something you choose to do for whatever reason or reasons. You will have your own personal WHY, so don’t lose sight of that when things don’t go your way. 

Essentially, enjoy the greatest game of all, regardless of what it throws at you.

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” Arnold Palmer.

Long live The King and long live golf.