Juniors Semi Finals 

Our Deeside Juniors are playing the semi finals of the Pennant League this Sunday at Murcar Links. My guess is at least half of the team will never have played Murcar before.

The following is a hole by hole guide to study before you play which will help you navigate your ball around Murcar Links. This is a conservative way of playing Murcar however simply playing for par (or even at times bogey) will be the difference between winning or losing a hole.

1st Hole.

You have the World to the left of the right fairway bunker so utilise it. Aim down the left and hit a 185 yard shot (drivers aren’t always needed).

Approach is a tricky one but long and right is dead. Going for the front and left side of green (towards the green side bunker) is safe play.

2nd Hole.

Left side of fairway again here. Anything 240 yards or longer could get in gorse trouble so for the bigger hitters maybe club down (especially if wind is behind).

Approach is front left and shortish all day as the green slopes left to right.

3rd Hole.

Again the World to the left so left side of the fairway is the shot.

Approach is front left again often getting a kick off the slope onto the green.

4th Hole.

Again left side of the fairway here with your tee shot.

If your laying up short of the green aim left side. If you can reach in two, three or four shots favour right side of green.

5th Hole.

Right side of green all day long. I’ve even stood on this tee aiming for the right hand bunker.

6th Hole.

Right side of bunker with tee shot. If wind is behind longer hitters should think about clubbing down.

The conservative play here with your approach is aiming right side of green. If you miss right no big deal and if you miss slightly left you’ve pulled off a fantastic shot.

7th Hole.

For the longer hitters not necessarily a driver (wind dependend) however aim for the right tip gorse in the distance (left fairway).

Approach is right side of green all day long.

8th Hole.

Middle of fairway is line laying up short of far bunker.

Approach is short and right (trouble long and left).

9th Hole.

Again not necessarily driver (wind dependent) however laying up to the slope in middle of fairway is the play.

Approach is short and left all day long. Anything right and long is game over.

Hole 10.

Off the tee it’s up the right side of the fairway.

Approach is going short right of green. However if you can comfortably get to green in two there’s more room than it may look left (within reason).

Hole 11.

Left side of fairway here with the tee shot as everything slopes right. I’d be aiming a fraction left of the target post on the hill.

Approach is LEFT!! Left side of the green. Did I say Left?

Hole 12.

Par 3 and again go LEFT!! Left side of the green. Aim left!! Did I say Left?

Hole 13.

Left side of fairway off the tee. If the wind is behind for the longer hitters maybe club down.

Again left side of green here plenty of space for the approach shot.

Hole 14.

Again left side of fairway here off tee almost towards the bunkers.

On the approach if you can’t reach in two aim left (more room than you would think).

Into the green and I’d be favouring short and slightly left.

Hole 15.

Tee shot is slightly left of the right hand fairway bunker as everything slopes left. If wind is behind longer hitters club down to hybrid/long iron.

Approach is left side of the green. Take an extra club!!!!

Hole 16.

Middle of green but get it there. Might even be worth taking an extra club.

Hole 17.

Off the tee the aim is between the two sets of trees as illustrated by the blue circle.

Approach into green favour left side of green.

Hole 18.

Left side of fairway off the tee here to avoid the right hand bunkers.

Approach is middle of green.

Take a note of all the above or print it off. The slightest bit of wind at Murcar makes this course a great challenge so knowing where the safe parts of the course are is pivotal.

Best of luck team!!

Course Management – Approaches

Course management is an area many of us do not pay much attention to. However it can be the difference between a net 71 and a net 80.

Many of us are very focused on where the flag is located on each green. Instead of playing golf focusing on the flag please try and play a round of golf where the focus and target is the safe part of the green. 

For example if you are playing into a green with out of bounds to the right, lots of space to the left and your standard shot is a fade aiming to the left side of this green would make sense. If you hit it straight left you’ll have a reasonably straight forward chip shot and if you over curve it left to right you may just avoid the out of bounds. Anything in the middle of these two shots is on the green. 

The following is a hole by hole guide to playing a safe round at Deeside. I want you to try and hit it towards the green circled areas on each green. I don’t expect your average amateur to hit it into these exact areas every time (even the top professionals wouldn’t make 18/18 believe it or not). However by attempting to hit it towards these green circles any bad shots will not be so heavily punished. 

Take notes of the following and try it… you might just surprise yourself and knock a few shots off your score.

Hole 1:

Safe side is left side… miss the green right and you could find yourself stuck behind a tree. Safe zone is back left. 

Hole 2: 

Again safe side is left side of the green. Out of bounds to right should make the majority of amateurs happy to almost try and miss the green left. This should leave a relatively straight forward chip and two putts (maybe one). 

Hole 3:

Water hazard on the left. Whether you are trying to hit this green in two, three, four or five shots… it’s back right of green all day long.

Hole 4:

Most of the trouble is at the front of the green. Middle right of the green is perfect due to the right to left contours on green.

Hole 5:

You have 10 paces front to back at the left hand side of this green whereas right side 20 paces. All amateurs should be focusing on hitting the middle to right side of this green.

Hole 6: 

Front right of green with this one. For the average amateur I feel it would be easier to chip and two putt from the right side of this green as your chipping into a slight upslope. Whilst no hazards to the left side of green amateurs find it much harder stopping chips on a downslope. Notice green is also slightly wider at the front. 

Hole 7:

It’s middle left all day long here due to the back to front sloping green and bunkers right. If the pin is back right never take it on. Be safe and take the 4 or 5.

Hole 8: 

Miss right and you have a near impossible chip uphill onto a downslope. Middle left hand side into the crevasse is perfect leaving an uphill putt/small chip.

Hole 9:

Two options here depending on where flag is located. Right flag right side of green, left flag left side of green. Never attempt middle of green due to limited green area with surrounding bunkers. 

Hole 10:

Anything right is dead here. Simply play for the middle to left part of this green. 

Hole 11: 

Again two options here. If pin is located front of green go for front of green avoiding bunkers. If pin is back going for back left of green is beneficial again avoiding bunkers. 

Hole 12:

Out of bounds left, deep bunker left and green above your feet left. Going for right side of the green here is a no brainier. Leaves an uphill putt or chip.

Hole 13:

Bunkers at front of green protect front flag beautifully. Hitting to middle/back left of green is the safe play here.

Hole 14:

Again all the trouble is at the front of the green. Go take an extra club and stick it into the middle/back left of green. Out of bounds right so favouring left side is advisable. 

Hole 15: 

Again trouble and slopes at front and back left of green. Worthwhile taking extra club and going for middle/back right of green.

Hole 16:

Bunker front left means that minimal green to play with on left side. Right side of green is safe shot here.

Hole 17:

Middle right here is sensible as widest part of green sloping back to front.

Hole 18: 

Right side of green is the play here on this tricky par 4.

So try playing Deeside next time taking no consideration of the pins. Go for safe areas of the green as illustrated by the green circles as advised above. 

2017 Junior Fixtures

Please find below the Local North East Order of Merit & National Order of Merit events for Juniors in the North East of Scotland.


Deeside junior members please remember that you have competitions every Saturday on the Blairs course at 13.30 & Haughton 14.30.  When daylight allows (May) you will also have a competition on a Thursday afternoon at 16.00 on both courses.  During the summer holidays you will continue to have the above Saturday competitions and also on Monday & Thursday morning at 10.00 on both courses.

Chipping Nightmares


Don’t tell me, you get up near the green in regulation then it’s nightmare time… 4 or 5 more shots to finish the hole because you can’t get a simple chip shot onto the green. The ball either moves a couple inches forward or disappears into the horizon and over the green.

Please get your concentration away from the ball and more on how the club head is interacting with the ground. Those shots that move no more than a couple feet is because your striking the ground before the ball… probably taking a divot. Those balls that disappear over the back of the green the club won’t be making contact with the ground.

To improve either of these issues swing the club head low back then through the impact zone attempt to gently brush the grass with your club without removing any turf. Utilising this process of focusing more on how the club is interacting with the ground over what the club and ball is doing will greatly improve your chances of getting on the green in one shot.

If you wish me to analyse your chipping in more detail including set up please contact me in the Professional Shop at Deeside Golf Club.

Enjoy Golf


Surely everyone wants to finish a round of golf feeling some sort of enjoyment and accomplishment.  You certainly do not want to finish your round of golf feeling frustrated and annoyed to the extent of preventing you from playing the next week.

I’m starting to see more and more golfers have this desperate desire to play golf courses from the back Championship tees.  These tees are designed to challenge the longest hitters in golf, not your average 12 handicap, 220 yard club member.  There are times I will turn up to courses with no interest in playing off the back tees… they are simply too long for me.

I think it is important for golfers to play from tees that suit their length.  The following information will hopefully make you think about whether you play off the middle tees or even forward tees.  Go on and try it… you might find you enjoy it!!

To give you an idea I hit my driver on average 270 yards, I have a club head speed with a driver of 106mph. I hit my 5 iron 190 yards max.  Keeping this information in mind the maximum length of course I should be playing is circa 6840 yards. The formula used for this is your 5 iron length multiplied by 36.  I also found the following chart which gives very similar data.  16729228_10208543108991941_8949797672071763510_nThe average male club member will have a club head speed with a driver of circa 85-90 mph where I would expect to see the ball travel about 220 yards.  I would also anticipate that the average male member would hit their 5 iron 160 yards.  Looking at the above data this would suggest your average male club member should be playing a course 5400-5700 yards. If you also work out 5 iron distance (160 yards average) multiplied by 36 equals 5760 yards. I bet your average male club member would squirm at the thought of playing any course under 6000 yards.

The average lady club member will have a club head speed with their driver of 60 mph with an average driving distance of no more than 150 yards.   I would also suggest that the average lady member hits their 5 iron no more than 100 yards.  Keeping this information in mind the length of course your average lady member should be playing is between 3600 yards and 4000 yards (100*36 equals 3600 yards & chart above 3836 yards).  It is also important to remember that the average Ladies European Tour course is 6300 yards where the ladies are hitting their drives over 100 yards further than your average lady club member.

Feel free to watch this fantastic video by Mark Crossfield on ways to help you enjoy your golf.  Next time you go and play… take notice of the above information and try it.  You might just find that you leave the course feeling happier.

3 Keys To Improved Golf

I’m forever getting asked questions about where people’s swings should be at certain parts of the golf swing. It is important to realise that as we are all different shapes and sizes ultimately there is no ideal swing as you can see below with Dustin Johnson, Shane Lowry and Jim Furyks swings.

What we should all be looking for is improved impact conditions. If you can improve impact the swing will fall into shape. So what exactly should you be looking for during impact to improve your golf? Here’s my three keys to improving your golf. 

  • Strike Point
  • Low Point 
  • Face to Path 

Strike Point – where on the club face the ball makes contact at impact. Top touring professionals are able to hit different parts of the club face (wood or iron) on demand. Most amateurs have very little control over strike point…the higher the handicap the wider the spread of strikes on the club face. Being more aware of where on the club face you are making contact with the ball at impact will lead to better golf, improved consistency and more distance. 

Low Point – the lowest point of the club head during the swing. Obviously we want the low point when hitting an iron to be after contact with the ball. Top touring pro’s will rarely hit the ground prior to the ball and if they do it will be minimal however the higher the handicap gets the further behind the ball a players low point can be. This will cause the thins and fats that I so regularly hear about in the Professional Shop. Working on low Point can help towards quality of strike and more consistent distance control. 

Face to Path – this is the relationship between the club face angle and the direction the club head is travelling in relation to the target through impact. Top touring pro’s manage this relationship extremely well thus the reason they are so accurate. Working on the face to path relationshipship will help towards better accuracy and more consistent distance control. If you swing the club head left of the target, getting the club face pointing closer to the path than the target will result in a ball that finishes nearer the target (all things being equal). The smaller the face to path relationship the less curve you will witness (presuming a centred strike)

These three keys to better golf will be training zones during my Supervised Practice sessions at Deeside Golf Club throughout November and February. To sign yourself onto one of these practice sessions please contact me in the Professional Shop.

Winter Program

It is that time of the year where I update you on my winter program for 2016/17.

Lessons: I will be offering four lessons for the price of three packages that start in October with the last lesson to be used Friday 17th March.

Supervised Practice: I will also be running Supervised Practice sessions on the range at Deeside from week commencing 24th October until week ending 25th November (full dates & times below).

I ran these supervised practice sessions at the start of the season and they proved to be very successful. These sessions are run to firstly encourage you to maintain your golf enjoyment & practice over the offseason and secondly to learn how to practice more effectively instead of hitting ball after ball with no real intent. We will do skill challenges, games & if needed work on some technical aspects of your game. Trackman will also be running during each session to get a better understanding of your swing if needed. Each session will be for 30 minutes only. 

Dates & Times:

Monday 24th, 31st Oct, 7th, 14th & 21st Nov 7pm. 

Tuesday 25th Oct, 1st, 8th, 15th & 22nd Nov 4pm.

Friday 28th Oct, 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th Nov 9.30am. 

There will be a maximum of 6 people per series open to all category of golfer (gents, ladies, senior & junior). Cost will be £30 for the series or if you have taken up my four for three lesson offer £25.

I will run another Supervised Practice starting February in time for the start of season. 

Juniors: I will be running two junior coaching groups this Winter. One for the pennant team and one for our development squad. These will be on a Sunday at 13.00 & 14.00. Invites will be sent out in due course. If you wish for your child to attend please contact me in the Professional Shop. 

Deeside Juniors 2016 

I felt the need to express my gratuity to the Deeside Juniors and there simply isn’t enough characters for me to do so on Twitter. 

Today was our annual junior prize giving at Deeside Golf Club and I must congratulate all those that were prize winners and thank all those that have participated in events at Deeside throughout the season making the junior section what it is today. It was a joy to see so many juniors at prize giving with their families to celebrate their golfing achievements throughout 2016.

We are very fortunate to have a vibrant junior section at Deeside and I must thank the parents of all our juniors for their continued support of their child’s golfing development & enjoyment at the club. Every Saturday we see double figures of children playing in the weekly competitions and without the parents bringing their children to the club this would not be possible.

To all the juniors, it is great to see so many of you make use of the facilities at Deeside. Practicing on the range or short game area; making use of both Haughton & Blairs courses for medals & bounce games; socialising regularly in the club house making it the inclusive and friendly junior section that we are honoured to have at Deeside. I’ve been fortunate enough to coach over 50 of you this season in group or individual format and it is great to see you all enjoy your experience at Deeside & improve your games by dedicating time and effort in practice and compete in weekly medals or open events.

To the juniors that are progressing to our very impressive associate section best of luck in your future endeavours. I know a couple of you are heading down the Professional Golf route with many venturing further afield to uni or to commence future careers. Hopefully we’ll continue to see you regularly at Deeside competing in all our Gents events. 

I must congratulate our Junior Club Champion Nicholas Black on being appointed junior captain in 2017 assisted by Ross Nicholson. I must also thank our Junior convenor Elaine Farquharson-Black for all her time and effort in running the junior section. Elaine is at Deeside every Saturday to see you all tee off in the weekly medals & attends all the junior coaching sessions helping you progress your games. The behind the scene work Elaine also does must not be overlooked. We must also thank the committee and members of Deeside who continue to support the Deeside Juniors. It was great to see so many Adults play in today’s Adult Vs Junior match including several who have only recently progressed through the junior ranks at Deeside and continue to be an asset to the golf club. 

The future of Deeside and its junior section looks extremely bright and I would encourage you all to continue your progression over the Winter months and to make 2017 an even more positive golfing year. 

Stop Bananas!! 

Is your ball curving an uncontrollable amount through the air? Missing the target by a considerable amount? Your 7 iron or driver going different distances each shot? 

The reason for this is simple…the difference between the club path and face angle at impact is too large as shown above. 

You might swing the club dramatically left (-9.9) as shown by one of our juniors Trackman data above with the club face pointing right (+3.6) of the target at impact causing a banana shape ball flight left to right (spin axis +25.1) finishing 79.3 feet right of the target. If this is you we must get your club path to face angle reduced. 

A simple and effective way for a slicer to reduce the face to path is to firstly adjust your alignment right of the target (e.g. right side of fairway/green). Then close your club face prior to gripping the club so it points left of your alignment (right side of fairway/green). After that simply swing naturally and the curve in your ball flight will be reduced, your miss will be less and you’ll have better distance control. 

The below diagram is the same junior during the same lesson. By following the simple advice above his club path is now right of the target (+5.1) with the club face pointing slightly left of the club path but right of the target at impact (+2.1). This caused a right to left ball flight (spin axis -2.4) with the ball finishing 16.7 feet right of the target. You’ll also notice how much further this junior hit the ball averaging 50 yards extra with his driver.

Good luck! As always if you wish to work on this in more detail using Trackman please contact me in the Professional Shop at Deeside Golf Club.

TrackMan at Deeside GC

I am delighted to announce that I will be using TrackMan with all lessons starting in 2015.  TrackMan is a world leader in ball flight and club data measurements and will help towards improving your golf and lowering your scores.  Whether you are struggling with your drives or 10 yard chip shots, full irons or 70 yard half wedges come and see me at Deeside to improve your game NOW.  For more information on TrackMan view the video below:

Lesson Prices 2015:
Adults – £30.00
Juniors – £25.00

6 Lessons for the Price of 5 Vouchers available to purchase from the Professional Shop just in time for Christmas.  Call me on 01224 861041 for more information.