Kris sets his sights on 2018 success

Kris Nicol has had a good 2017 season with the highlight winning the Scottish Young Professional’s Championship at West Lothian in July.

However, like all golfers, he wants to make 2018 even better and the planning for that starts now.

Despite the 2017 golf season only just coming to an end, now is time to reflect on areas that were good but also the parts of the game that could be improved upon.

Kris sat down with me last week and we went through his whole game and identified the key areas for development.

We created a plan.

1.Full Swing – Less curvature on the ball flight.

Kris wants to neutralise his ball flight, in other words – play with less curvature so his misses are less destructive.

The technology in the golf studio at Dunes allows us to measure exactly how he delivers the club to the ball and, whilst he is consistent, he has a club path through the ball that is more to the right of the target (in to out) than he would like and with a clubface that gets too closed (aiming left of this path). This combination leads to too much right to left curvature and a ball that finishes left, also a tendency to ‘block’ the ball straight right on occasions.

Kris gets the clubhead too closed in the backswing, a position that shows the clubface looking too much down to the ground in his takeaway.

He also feels, especially when the tournament is on the line, that he loses his rhythm too easily.

I watched him hit some shots and listened to his feedback carefully.

We identified the backswing, as well as getting the club closed, is in two pieces and needs to be smoother to help with his rhythm.

Using the video feedback we could see that at halfway back the right elbow was too straight and the clubface was looking down to the ground.

“I’ve now got a feeling of flowing back letting my right elbow fold in more and a sense that the club is opening up. I’m not transfixed on a certain position but a feeling of an overall flow.” Stated Kris.

2.Wedge Play
We could all do to improve our wedge play and at the level Kris is performing, this is the area of the game he needs to be razor sharp at.

His bad shot was a weak shot to the right caused by a path that was too much to the right (like his full shots described above) and an angle of attack on the ball that is too shallow.

Kris fixed this with a simple feeling of swinging the club left of target whilst holding the clubface square. I helped Kris come up with his own solution by asking him to try to move the ball from left to right in to the green, the opposite of what he currently does.

As a result, the swing path was straighter (not left – which is what he was feeling) and his angle of attack was steeper meaning he could compress the ball against the clubface better, create more spin and have much better control on the distance of his wedge shots.

Have you created a plan to make 2018 your best ever golfing season?
Book the initial lesson experience with one of our 3 PGA Professional’s to start the journey to your greatest golf.

For as little as £20.00, the thorough 60-minute assessment is completely personalised to your standard and therefore suitable for everyone.


We are experts at diagnosing the technical and mental aspects of a golfer, whether beginner or tournament professional.

We shall be totally honest with our assessment on how we can help you. After 60 minutes, you will be presented with a suggested plan of improvement, showing you the key areas of your technique and game that need improving to fulfil your potential and goals.

The decision to have lessons following the assessment is totally up to you; you are under no obligation.

The initial lesson is available 7 days a week from 10am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on a Saturday and Sunday.

Three ways to book; In store, over the phone 01346 510693 or online at


Matthew wins 1st Junior Event

Matthew Cardno won the inaugural weekly Dunes Junior Event on Saturday 7th October with a score of 59 for the 18 holes.

Matthew Cardno receiving his medal from PGA Pro – Sam Griffiths

These new events take place over the Short Game Zone at Dunes every Saturday afternoon at 2.30pm and are designed to provide youngsters with an opportunity to play competitively against each other in a safe environment.

“I am hoping to see as many kids as possible playing these events at Dunes. Having some friendly competition is good thing and the little course we have here is perfect for kids of all ages to take part. It’s ideal for parents to bring their children along as they can see how the kids are getting on without having to walk out on to a big course, and they can get a coffee and fine piece from the café while the kids are playing!” Stated PGA Professional, Peter Myers.

Entry is free of charge and they are open to all kids aged 16 years and under. Just turn up at the golf centre ready to play for 2.30pm and you will be paired up with other players.

Congratulations to Matthew!  However, it’s not all about winning, we encourage each child to do their best and to be aiming to better their previous lowest score.

Conditions of entry: 16 years and under on the date of entry, players aged 8 and under must be accompanied by at least one adult. All competitors must abide by our Safe, Sensible and Fair policy.

If you would like to know more, or have any questions contact the Dunes Golf Centre Team on 01346 510693 or email on

The Short Game Zone at Dunes is a first class facility for you to practise, have fun and improve your skills.  

The 9 hole chip ‘n’ putt course has been carefully designed by PGA Professionals to provide a challenge for all skill levels….

In the words of Dave Pelz, short game coach to the World’s top players…
“If you want to score, the most important “game” to improve is your short game. Second most important is your putting game. And the least important is your power-swing, ball striking game, the game you’ve been practicing all these years!



Why this is the biggest myth in golf…

Every week I hear amateur golfers telling each other that the cause of the bad shot they just hit was because they lifted their head.

This is usually followed by the instruction “KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN!”

I even have pupils tell me after a bad shot in a lesson that they ‘knew’ what went wrong there… “I lifted my head!”

I often show the pupil the video back and prove to them that they did not lift their head and in actual fact, the thought keeping their head down was one of the main causes of the bad shot.

This SHOCK news is often hard to take on board, so ingrained is this thought in the mind of the amateur golfer. In fact, this swing advice seems the fix for pretty much every bad shot.

Let me help you now…GET RID OF THE THOUGHT ‘KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN!’ It will be one of the best things you do for your golf game, AND your physical health!

In over 20 years as a PGA golf coach I can tell you how many times someone lifting their head was the cause of a bad shot – NOT ONCE!

Most advanced level players understand that keeping the head down is some what undesired and once they have hit the shot they allow the head to release freely.

An inhibited head movement in the follow through restricts shoulder rotation, weight transfer and then ultimately club path through impact. It will also effect the release of the forearms and club head.

Worse still, it putts extra strain on your back and neck and, if you were to rotate effectively through impact and keep you head ‘down’ at the same time, you would rupture the top of your spine!

Annika Sorenstam – A great example of head movement

Keeping your head down also effects your starting posture. The spine becomes curved and with the chin tucked in to your chest you cannot turn properly and build up power. In many cases keeping the head down like this actually causes the body to lift in the backswing as the shoulder pushes the chin up.

Jim Mclean and Hank Haney are two of the Worlds’ top coaches and here is what they have to say:

“Many top players never see the ball at impact or even in the downswing. Players that do this include – Annika Sorenstam, David Duval, Jim Furyk, Steve Elkington and Paul Azinger. You must almost consciously look up at the target quickly after impact or risk hanging on the right side too long and restricting the movement of the body.”
Jim McLean

”I worked with Tiger to look up very quickly almost before he hit the shot like David Duval and Annika Sorenstam. Releasing the head early really helps to stop the body from working underneath and back in the downswing.”
Hank Haney (Excerpt from The Big Miss)

I hear so many well intentioned parents, grandparents, husbands, friends and so on telling the new golfer to ‘keep their head down’.

I cringe when I hear this as I know what damage it does to a potentially good golf swing. So, please stop giving out this terrible advice and start letting yourself and your fellow golfers develop a swing that flows through to face the target, just like all good players do!


You could argue that there are many top players who are still looking at the ground where the ball was after impact but I can tell you that this is not a conscious effort. You will see that the head is free to rotate with the body thus allowing the swing to sequence better, creating more power and greater accuracy.

Next time you go to the range – give it a go for yourself and experience the freedom of movement and extra power you can create.



Think Box: Play Box


This is the fifth and final week in a mini-series on the ‘inner game’ of golf. Only through a ‘holistic’ approach to your golf game, including working on the ‘inner game’, will you start to realise you potential and enjoy your golf more.


To consistently play your best golf you must step up to every golf shot without fear and doubt. The method I use to help achieve this is called
‘THINK BOX – PLAY BOX’ and was developed by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott whilst they were working with Annika Sorenstam.

It is very easy to practice – all you need is an alignment stick or a piece of string that you lay down on the floor as pictured here.

The THINK BOX is the area in which you analyse the lie of the ball, the club you will use, wind direction, the type of shot you want to play etc. It is in here you decide on your swing thought and take your practice swing.

You should verbalise to yourself your intentions for the shot, “I intend to send the ball towards the left greenside bunker and let the wind move it towards the flag in the middle of the green. It is a good, firm 5 iron for me.”

Imagine the shot you are going to hit. Take a step across the DECISION LINE and in to the PLAY BOX -when you cross this line you should quit thinking and just play! The only time there is any indecision should be when you are in

When you cross the DECISION LINE to hit the shot, there MUST be total commitment to the shot. If you get over the ball and you are not comfortable with the decision you have made, back off, retreat to the THINK BOX and come up with a plan in which you have trust.

In the PLAY BOX you need to be efficient and not waste time; simply aim the club face, take your hold, align the body, connect to the target, and hit your shot. The longer you wait the more opportunity there is for doubt and tension to build in your mind and body. I have talked in the past about how tension is
the biggest wrecker of a golf swing!

Decide – Commit – Swing. It’s as simple as that!

Think of it as skydiving. In the THINK BOX you pack the parachute, pick the jump site and do all the other preparations. In the PLAY BOX you just jump. I recently received a telephone message from one of my pupils that simply said. “Please tell Peter – the parachute opened!”

Suggested reading…
Here are just a few of my favourite books on the mental side of the game…

Inner Game of Golf
W. Timothy Gallwey
This is my all time favourite book on the mental game and one that I would highly recommend for all my clients to read.

Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect
Dr Bob Rotella
To be honest I own all of Dr Bob’s books and I recommend every
one of them! It was difficult to choose just one but I would say this
one just edged it for me.

Every Shot Must Have A Purpose
Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott
This is where the Think Box – Play Box routine comes from. Lots of other really insightful information in this book as well as some great ways to make your practise time more effective.

Zen Golf
Joseph Parent
A really easy book to read. It is a collection of brief chapters offering the wisdom of traditional Zen stories and teachings distilled from a lifetime of
actual lessons with golfers, many of whom are PGA professionals.

Book a lesson with a PGA Golf Coach at Dunes…
If you want to unlock your potential simply book your initial 60 minute session for just £30.00 at Dunes Golf Centre. We now have 3 PGA Professionals providing lessons at Dunes so availability for lessons is 7 days a week.
Call 01346 510693 or go to




Open Champions Crowned at Dunes

Dunes Golf Centre played host to the third Mini-Major of the year as the Short Game Zone was transformed in to a mini Royal Birkdale Golf Club for the Mini Golf Open Championship.

The nine-hole layout tested golfers of all abilities in a chip n putt event spread over the same four days as the real Open event that took place between 20th and 23rd July.

Each competitor could enter as many times as they wanted right up until the cut off time of 3pm on Sunday.

With sponsorship from Callaway Golf and Dunes Golf Centre, a fantastic prize table was up for grabs in the three categories of; Men, Women and Juniors.

In the Men’s section Fred West took third place with a score of 21. In second place was Tommy-Lee Reid who also scored 21 but had a better back five than Fred.

It should also be noted that Tommy was one of only two players to take part on Thursday due to torrential rain all day so well done to him in what was, without doubt, the toughest of conditions.

Men’s Open Champion – Doug Hastie

The winning score came from one of the final rounds to be played on Sunday as Doug Hastie shot a 20, coming close to the course record of 19 set by Jackie Thoirs back in June.

Speaking of Jackie, she claimed her second major on the trot with a score of 24. Not quite the resounding victory she had in the US Open as she just held off second placed Vic Buchan thanks to a better back 5 on the countback ruling. Issie Philips took third place with a score of 25.

Junior Open Champion – Callum Milne

In the Junior section Luke Allan was looking to continue his hunt for a grand slam but this time he had to settle for second place. Eight year old Callum Milne made up for finishing second to Luke in the US Open by taking the top spot this time with a score of 23, two better than his US Open score in June. Luke carded a 24 which was one better than his previous best. In third place, Seven year old Arran Simpson shot a new personal best with a score of 27.

In total 178 rounds of golf were played over the four days and we were delighted to see so many families out there enjoying playing together.

Our mission is to grow participation in the game and we know what a wonderful sport it is for families to play together.

The Short Game Zone is a permanent fixture at the Golf Centre and is available to play all year round, 7 days a week. It costs just £2.50 for all day play and with a whole host of different games available it will entertain you and the family for hours. Club and ball hire is free of charge too!

The Mini Majors are going to be a permanent fixture at Dunes so see we look forward to seeing you at the next one: Mini PGA 10th to 13th August


Junior Golf Tournament Inspires a Generation

We are delighted to report that over 40 local youngsters took part in the 2nd Annual Scottish Junior Drive Chip Putt Championship at Dunes Golf Centre on Sunday 28th May 2017.

The weather was not as fine as it had been over the previous few days but the clouds did nothing to lessen the spirit shown by the competitors on the day.

The event saw the children, aged between 4 and 15 years old, play three Drives, three Chips and three Putts with points awarded for their performance in each skill.

The idea of the event is to inspire the youngsters to play golf and enjoy the thrill of playing competitively.

For many of the children it was their first taste of competitive golf and from their reactions it looks like they are hooked!


At Dunes Golf Centre we are committed to growing the game of golf and we have already established a thriving junior academy that is setting up the future of golf in the North East of Scotland.

In the 11 to 15 year old event Luke Allan finished in 3rd place with 72 points, In second place was Aiden Wisely on 73 and the champion, with a record DCP score of 115 points was Owen Johnstone.

In the 7 to 10 age group William-John Reynolds was third with 55 points, Aaron Hastie was second on 65 points and Billy Myers successfully defended the title he won last year by scoring 83 points.

In the 4 to 6 year old group Aaron Stephen finished in third spot with 35 points, Max Davidson took second on 40 points and Kameron Brown proved that practice pays as he romped home with 61 points to take the top spot.

A huge thank you to everyone who took part and to all of the Parents, Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles who came along to support on the day. The car park was overflowing and it was great to see so many families having fun at the golf centre.

A big thanks to our sponsors, MKids Golf, who allowed for the entry to be free of charge and meant we could supply each child with a free Mkids Ball Marker and certificate of participation.

Play DRIVE, CHIP, PUTT at Dunes
The scoring rings for the chipping and putting are still set up on the Short Game Zone so why don’t you come down to see how many points you can score with 3 chips and 3 putts?
We also have an excellent 9 hole chip and putt course that will test even the greatest of golfers.
The cost to play the Short Game Zone is just £2.50 per day (equipment hire is free of charge).

Get your child playing golf at Dunes Golf Centre

Classes for 4 to 8 year olds are available below and for 6 to 12 year olds see the options further down the page


The bounce is your best friend – Bunker Play Pt3

Bunker Play
The ball comes out on a cushion of sand

To do this effectively we use the bounce of the club. The bounce stops the club digging too deep into the sand. If you are someone who takes deep troughs of sand and finds the ball barely moving then you have almost certainly, in some way, reduced the effective bounce angle of the club.

(Click these links to read Bunker Play PART ONE and Bunker Play PART TWO)

The yellow drawings on the four images here show how the bounce angle changes depending on what state the club is in as it strikes the sand.

Returning the hands to a central position at impact will ensure that the correct loft and bounce of the club is applied.

As you can see if the clubface is closed or the shaft is leaning towards the target then the bounce angle is reduced.

The Plugged Ball aka The Fried Egg

There is one exception to my lessons on bunker play and that is when the ball is plugged.
In this case we need to reduce the bounce angle and get the club to travel deep into the sand.

The slightly closed clubface and steep angle of attack is encouraged by keeping your weight on the left side and the hands ahead of the ball. This will negate the bounce angle so the club drives down to get underneath the ball.

The amount of bounce that is on a club to begin with varies. A low bounce club has 4-5° right up to a high bounce angle being 16-18°. For FREE expert help come and talk me at Dunes Golf Centre but for now here is a general guide for choosing the correct bounce:

More Bounce
The fluffier the sand, the deeper the sand, the lighter the sand, the longer the grass in the rough, and the steeper the golfer swings the wedge down into the ball, the more bounce on the sole is required to be consistent in shot making.

Less Bounce
Conversely, the more coarse the sand, the more shallow the sand, the heavier and wetter the sand, the shorter the grass in the rough, and the more level the golfer swings the wedge down into the ball, the less bounce on the sole is required to be consistent in shot making.

Callaway’s new Sure Out wedge is just the job!

If you find yourself struggling with your bunker play, the Sure Out just may be the miracle wedge you’ve been searching for.
This is the by far THE best club available today, to get you out of the sand and on to the green in just one shot.

It really lives up to its name, giving you a SURE OUT, nearly every time.

When Hank Haney teamed up with Callaway to design the Sure Out, he made SURE it was developed to make it easier for you… the amateur golfer… not the Tour Pro… to get out of the bunker and hit any shot around the green easier.

The larger, wider and heavier enhanced-camber, high-bounce Sure Out sole lets you effortlessly and cleanly glide through any type of sand or rough.

The technology is like nothing you have ever seen.
When comparing it to a traditional sand wedge, you’ll see how much has been built into the Sure Out to give you the ultimate advantage
And if the Callaway Sure Out isn’t enough to have you jumping with excitement… we have something even better for you….

When you buy a Sure Out Wedge you will get a free place on our bunker clinic to make sure it works perfectly for you.

All for just £99.00
(Ask to try one of the demo SURE OUT wedges next time you are at Dunes)

Still note sure?
We are offering a 30 day full money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied!

Let me show you how to get out the bunker first time, every time!

Join my bunker clinic
Learn a simple technique that will grow your confidence from the sand and show you how to get out first time, every time!

No longer fear the prospect of hitting the ball into the sand, in fact you will relish the opportunity to play great bunker shots time and time again!

To book your space at this clinic for just £15.00 simply telephone 01346 510693 or use the online booking form below
Spaces are very limited so do not delay – book today!


The Easiest Shot in Golf – Bunker Play Pt2

Here is Part 2 of my series on making you great from the sand (Read Part 1 here)

Once you have grasped the correct technique this really is the easiest shot in golf. In Part 1 I talked about the set-up and the type of swing you should be making.

To recap: The body is the engine; you need to make a committed follow through towards the target. There is no ‘Plan B’ on bunker play – you have to go for it!

With this in mind I have a couple of drills that will help you to make the right move to become a great bunker player.

Drill 1 is the walk through drill. This is designed to get you to make a weight transfer through a rotational movement of the body TOWARDS the target.

Draw a line in the practice bunker and aim to take the line as you step through in the downswing. If you are finding it very difficult to make the step then without doubt you are loading up the right side with your weight.
Click the images to enlarge them.Keep practicing it until the step through and downswing are coordinated and therefore the move feels very easy.

Of course, once this is mastered you can then make the swing with the same sensation as the step through but by holding the follow through in the classic finishing pose.

Drill 2 is designed to get the right body movement combined with the correct release of the club. Using the right hand to deliver the club to the sand and utilising the bounce of the club.

The starting position of this drill simulates the position just after impact. The movement through gets you ‘feeling’ the ‘release’ as you throw the sand behind you, over your left shoulder.Again, this should be practiced a few times before you attempt to put it into play.

Follow these simple steps and you will soon be playing bunker shots with a confidence that makes the seemingly difficult task very easy indeed. If you watch the Pro’s on tour you may have noticed how easy they make this shot look.

Look out for Part 3 very soon!

Let me show you how to get out the bunker first time, every time!
Join my bunker clinic
Learn a simple technique that will grow your confidence from the sand and show you how to get out first time, every time! No longer fear the prospect of hitting the ball into the sand, in fact you will relish the opportunity to play great bunker shots time and time again!
To book your space at this clinic for just £15.00 simply
Spaces are very limited so do not delay – book today!
Use the online booking system below or call 01346 510693 during business hours.


Bunker Play – How to be great from the sand. Pt1

Is a bunker shot something you look forward to?


Many golfers freeze with fear when faced with a bunker shot. This fear creates tension and in most cases the wrong sort of movement that is required to play a successful shot. Follow these simple steps and you will soon be playing bunker shots with a confidence that makes the seemingly difficult task very easy indeed. If you watch the Pro’s on tour you may have noticed how easy they make this shot look.

The traditional way of playing bunker shots involved aiming left, opening the clubface and leaning the shaft towards the target.

However, in recent years I have found a better, much simpler way of playing great bunker shots.

Simple Swing:
Aim for about 2-3” of sand before the ball but because of the way that this technique uses the bounce of the club the exact amount of sand you take is not that important.

Swing towards the target like a normal golf shot from the grass.

Key Point: The body is the engine
Rotate your body confidently through so your belt buckle finishes facing the target. With a little practice to master this technique you will find your confidence grows and bunker shots become something to look forward to and not something to fear.

Look out for more bunker tips next week!

Let us show you how to get out the bunker first time, every time!
Book a lesson with one of the Pro’s at Dunes Golf Centre
Go to


Mini-Golf Masters comes to Fraserburgh

Mini-Golf Masters comes to Fraserburgh

The first major of the year is almost upon us as the Worlds’ top golfers descend upon Augusta National in Georgia for the US Masters.

However, a little closer to home we are delighted to be hosting our very own Mini-Golf Masters at Dunes Golf Centre in Fraserburgh.

This new event is open to the whole family and is suitable for all skill levels including complete beginners.

You can use your own clubs or they can be provided for you if you do not have any.

It takes place over the 9 hole chip n putt course on our fantastic Short Game Zone.

Are you a short game Master?

We have carefully planned the course to challenge the very best golfers but at the same time it’s fun for those brand new to the game.

The event takes place over the same four days as the US Masters.

You can enter as many times as you wish during opening hours between Thursday 6th April and Sunday 9th April. The final time to start a round is 3.00pm on the Sunday.

It costs £2.50 per round for adults and £1.50 per round for under 12’s.

Ping Golf are supporting the event so we have fabulous prizes for the winners in the following categories:

Men, Women and Juniors.

The overall best score submitted will be crowned Mini-Golf Masters Champion for 2017 and presented with the iconic Green Jacket at 3.30pm on the Sunday.

Will you be the one wearing the Green Jacket on Sunday evening?

You do not need to book a start time simply turn up to play whenever you wish. Our opening times are:

Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm
Saturday 9am to 4pm
Sunday 10am to 4pm

For more information and the rules please click here.

Café now open 7 days a week
You’ve been asking for it, so we have responded and decided to open the café serving a full menu on a Sunday between 12pm and 3.30pm. We are hoping to see families at the golf centre playing together on the Short Game Zone and the Driving Range as well enjoying a drink and some tasty food in the café.

Our outdoor play area proved a big hit when we opened it last year and is ideal for the little ones to let off some steam!

Pensioners Special set to continue

If you are over 60 years old then you are eligible to take part in our Tuesday Morning Pensioners Special. Meet at the Golf Centre at 10am every Tuesday and for just £5 you will get 50 range balls, a coffee and bacon roll plus expert PGA Golf Pro advice!