Distance – How Far Do You Hit It?

It is amazing the number of lessons I give where people over extimate how far they hit a golf ball.  Yes granted you may be able to hit your driver for example 250 yards but reality is probably once in a blue moon and your average driving distance is much shorter.

Using Trackman I have recorded how far Deeside Members have hit their drivers during lessons over the 2017 season.  I have split these statistics into five groups – ladies (50Yr+ H’Cap 16+), Juniors (12-16Yr), Males 40-60Yr, Males 60+Yr, Single Figure H’Cap Males.  I have also included a picture of some of the longer hitting Professionals on the PGA Tour.  Can you guess which picture matches with the above groups? Distance in yards up middle of each picture.

Picture 1 –

Picture 2 –

Picture 3 – IMG_0071

Picture 4 – IMG_0070

Picture 5 – IMG_0069

Picture 6 – IMG_0067

Let’s see if you guessed correctly?

Picture 1 is single digit handicap with the main grouping of balls around the 250 yard area.

Picture 2 is men aged 40-60 with the main grouping being around the 190 yard mark.

Picture 3 is juniors aged between 12-16 years old with an average hit around the 170 yard mark.

Picture 4 is ladies over 50 with a handicap above 16 who average between 130-140 yards.

Picture 5 is senior men over the age of 60 where the main grouping being around the 170 yard mark.

Picture 6 is obviously our PGA Tour players including the likes of Rory McIlroy and Brookes Koepka who average about 300 yards.

These statistics are obviously just averages… some of you may hit it further or some shorter. The purpose of this post is to try and get you thinking about what tees you SHOULD be playing off. For example if you are Mr average Senior 60+ hitting it 170 yards you are doing yourself a disservice playing off the white tees at Deeside (6100 Yards). I’d personally even go as far as saying the Yellow tees at 5900 is too long.

Nevertheless it comes as no surprise when winter golf arrives that I regularly hear in the Professional Shop ‘why can’t I do this in the summer when it matters’? Ultimately the biggest reason is that you are playing a golf course that is between 800 and 1400 yards shorter in the Winter and honestly it is nearer the Winter length of course that you should also be playing in the Summer.

So next time when you turn up to play a round of golf, instead of going to the back tips like DJ and Rory would do, bring yourself at least two tees further forward (if not more).


Course Management – Driver

At the start of the 2017 season I wrote an article about course management and how to improve your scoring by aiming to the safe parts of the greens at Deeside Golf Club.

Such was the positive response I was asked to do something similar for driving. This is slightly harder to do as you all hit the ball different distances and play from different tees every week.

The following will mean for most to play more conservative. It will certainly reduce the high digit numbers that wreck your scorecard each week and replace them with bogeys which for most of you will be net pars.

You will see in each picture a black horizontal line which signifies the wide dispersion area of the safe fairway/rough. You will then see a blue circle which represents your aim zone. What I have found is those that hit the ball 270 yards have a dispersion left to right of 65 yards (excluding outliers). Those that hit the ball 230 yards have a dispersion of 55 yards and those that hit the ball 200 yards a dispersion of 50 yards left to right.

Hole 2

The wide area of the fairway here is about 10 yards short of the right hand fairway bunker. The aim zone is right side of fairway as plenty of rough right and fairway left. This zone is about 220 yards off the white tees.  Long hitters can try and draw it round the corner however run the risk of hitting it into the bunker if they hit it straight or into the trees/out of bounds left if they over curve the ball right to left.

Hole 3

For the shorter hitters laying up 10 yards short of the left hand fairway bunker is the play. The aim zone is right side of fairway as open rough area right and half the fairway left.  This gives a good opportunity of knocking second shot down short of the fairway bunker leaving a mid to long iron/hybrid into the green for third shot.

For those that can knock it out there 270+ yards the aim zone is middle of fairway which off the tee is right side of bunker. This gives room right and left in case of mis hit.

Hole 4

The aim zone is middle/right of fairway trying to land equidistant from the left hand bridge which is circa 225 yards off the white tees.  Anything longer than this presents the water hazard and bunkers right.  Despite leaving another 200+ yards into the green it keeps you in play on this hole which is very important.

Hole 6

For the shorter hitters laying up short of the left hand bunker is the play. Plenty of space right to play out of ‘playable’ rough so the aim zone is right side of fairway.

Longer hitters that can carry the bunkers aim zone is left side of fairway or over far bunker. Miss left and you still have a shot despite having to play out of ‘playable’ rough. Anything right of the black line tends to leave a blocked second shot to the green due to trees right side of fairway.

Hole 7

You have the World to the left here so the aim zone for all is left side of fairway bordering into the left hand rough.

Hole 8 

Shorter hitters there is surprisingly quite a lot of room left for those that hit to the corner of this dogleg.  Middle left half of fairway is your aim zone.

For those that can knock it over the trees the aim zone is middle of the fairway over the corner of the right hand trees.

Hole 9

If the pin is on the right (front) all players (even you long hitters) should be hitting short towards the left side of fairway.  This leaves a pretty straightforward shot into the front right of green.

If the pin is left (back) it’s beneficial to get the ball as far up the fairway/left rough as possible to have a straight shot into the left back flag (instead of playing over the front bunker). Aim zone is again left side of the fairway.

Hole 10

An absolute card wrecker of a hole (statistically second hardest hole on the course). Go right and you’ll be lucky to get a chip out sideways. Miss left into the bunkers and some of you will be lucky to get onto the green in three shots nevermind two shots. Play here is short of the bunkers as illustrated by the black line and blue circle.  It is the widest safest part of the fairway (60 yards left to right) and despite leaving a long second shot for the longer hitters its a pretty wide green to hit.  Those of you that are shorter hitters should be playing this hole as a par 5 anyway (laying up short of water).

Hole 11

Shorter hitters should be laying up just short of the right bunker middle of fairway attempting to get their second shot either just short of the bump or in between bump and green.

Long hitters shouldn’t be too bothered about having the far right bunker in play as it’s near enough to the green to hit in two. Focus here should just favour the right side of fairway.

Hole 13

Lots of space left here so utilise it. For those who cannot reach bunker the line is left side of fairway. This will allow you to potentially have a go at clearing the burn in two.

Long hitters there’s slightly more space right than anticipated. Line is still last big tree on left in distance.

Hole 15

As you can see from the image below this fairway is maximum 30 yards wide (average dispersion for a 220 yard shot is 50 yards) so it’s a huge risk going long here. Laying up to the blue circle area (170 yards off tee) will give you greater opportunity of hitting into this wide green instead of chipping out sideways from trees.

Hole 17

Long hitters should be bursting this towards the left side of the green. Tweak it right and your ok, left is still not the end of the World. Those of you that can’t get close to the green should be favouring right side of fairway just short of bunkers. This gives you lots of room for the miss and a shot into the green.

Hole 18

For those of you that struggle to reach in two shots the blue circled area is the widest safe area. More room left and right than expected and gives a full lay up shot to burn.

For those that can reach in two I’d personally favour slight left side. If you hit a miss there’s still an opportunity of hitting green. Aim down the right side of the fairway here and miss right it leaves a near impossible second shot.

I hope the above has given you all something to think about whether you are a shorter hitter or longer hitter.  Please try following the above and let me know how you get on.  You should find you get less big numbers but may have slightly more bogeys.  Nevertheless taking a 5 on a par 4 is much better than taking a 8 or 9.


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.