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