The secret to longer tee shots!

In the winter months, the cold air and soft ground means we all lose yardage on our shots.
You can reduce this effect by creating a higher ball flight on your drives, which will mean a longer carry through the air.
The set-up position I have demonstrated here is crucial if you want to hit long, high, straight drives as it will help you to deliver the best angle of attack on the ball.

Angle of attack (AoA) is how your driver head comes into the ball as you would look at the strike from face on.  Either you are catching it at the bottom of the arc, which would be a 0 degree angle of attack, or you are catching it before or after that lowest point of the arc.

Much research has revealed that to hit your longest drives, you need to hit up on the ball about 2-5 degrees.

How big of a difference can there be? 

Well, according to Golf Magazine, the difference between a -5 AoA and a +5 AoA is about 25 yards of distance at a 90 mph clubhead speed.  You would potentially go from around 235 to around 260 without using more effort!  At higher clubhead speeds, the difference will be even more.

To find out your angle of attack and to learn to hit the ball further we no extra effort come and see us in The Golf Studio at Dunes Golf Centre this winter. We use the industry leading GC2 with HMT from Foresight Sports to accurately measure what your club is doing to the ball.

An initial 1 hour lesson with one of our 3 PGA Professional’s is from just £20.00 and during this appointment we will show you exactly what you club is doing and you will learn how to optimise your swing to gain those valuable extra yards!

Book online at
Call 01346 510693 or call in to see us in store at the golf centre.

Gift vouchers are available for all our lesson types and make an ideal Christmas gift.

Are you a big hitter?
If so, get along to Dunes for the third annual North East Scotland Long Drive Championship on Friday 8th December.

Previous winners:

Men 2015: James Ritchie 343.84 yards
Men 2016: James Ritchie 359.25 yards
Women 2015: Lyn Morrice 170.00 yards
Women 2016: Georgia Cardno 175.00 yards
Juniors (11-14) 2015: Alex Ritchie 219.00 yards
Juniors (11-14) 2016: Alex Ritchie 255.00 yards
Juniors (Under 11) 2015: Charlie Buchan 125.00 yards
Juniors (Under 11) 2016: Liam McBeath 159.00 yards

Have you got the power to take the title this December?

There is only one way to find out and that is by coming along to Dunes to give it a go. Everyone gets 3 balls for free with extra balls costing just £1 each.

The event takes place in the amazing indoor Golf Studio at Dunes Golf Centre. You can use your own driver or borrow one of ours.

In keeping with our mission to grow all areas of golf; we are giving away prizes to Men, Women and Juniors.

There is no need to book, just turn up and put your name down on the list. Everyone who gets their name down by the cut off time of 7.30pm will get a go. The winners will be presented with prizes on the night.

Good luck and we look forward to seeing you all on the 8th December!




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.



Playing DO golf

Unlock your golfing potential
This is the fourth post 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.

Playing Do Golf…

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how most golfers play ‘Don’t Golf’ in that they make a statement before each shot about what they don’t want to do. Eg. “Don’t go in the water,” right before doing just that!

Get your game on TRAC

This is a routine you should apply to every shot you play…

Target – pick a shot to play, every shot must have a purpose!

Routine – practice swing rehearsal, implement/feel the key swing ingredients

Acceptance – You can deal with good/bad shots and outcomes – go on a mission! (see below)

Commitment – Play the shot you have chosen

After the shot, when the club goes back in the bag, that is closure on the shot.


After each shot start the TRAC process again when you get within a set distance of the ball (say 20 yards)

Did you know?

You will only play golf for about 30 minutes in a 4 hour round including all your routines. The rest of the time is simply walking, during which you should be enjoying the company, the views, the fresh air and exercise.

Interesting fact:

Your club is in contact with the ball for 0.0004 seconds per shot. So, in a round of 80 shots you have influenced the ball for a total of only 0.03 seconds!

On a Mission

Let’s break down the word mission…

Ions are atoms or molecules that are either positively or negatively charged.

To go on a mission you MISS the IONS by being neither positive nor negative and instead to get yourself in to a NEUTRAL mindset.

POSITIVE THOUGHT                                  Vs                                NEGATIVE THOUGHT

I will hit the green with this shot           Vs        I am going to put this in the pond

NEUTRAL THOUGHT – Is it possible to hit the green?

By asking if it is possible you are not saying you will, which is nearly always a lie! And you are not thinking negatively by stating what you don’t want to do.

If the answer to the “Is it possible?” questions is Yes but not likely, then you should reselect your choice of shot.

You are faced with a shot between the branches of a tree that is only 3” wide, it would be possible to send the ball through but with a very low success rate. An ‘off the wall’ positive person would still take the shot on so this is where some negativity needs to be added to create a neutral, balanced mindset.

Approaching most activities in life with a neutral mindset pays dividends. In many instances creating some negativity creates balance that allows for good decision making. An example is when my son was very young, he once ran straight across the road without looking. I had to explain to him some negative reasons as to why we need to stop, look and listen!

If you want to unlock your potential simply book your initial 60 minute session from just £20.00 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


Victory for Kris in Scottish Young Pro’s Championship

A wind and rain battered West Lothian Golf Club played host to the Scottish Young Pro’s Championship between 27th and 29th June.

The event, formerly known as the Assistants Championship, has a rich history of previous winners that have progressed onto the European Tour; Craig Maltman, Scott Henderson, Alastair Forsyth, Craig Lee and most notably, Open Champion Paul Lawrie.

Teeing up in this event for the first time since joining the PGA, Kris Nicol of Dunes Golf Centre fired a solid opening round of 70 (-1) to finish the day in sixth place.

He followed this up with a 68 on the second day but Alastair Forsyth, having just come off the European Tour, showed his class with a 67 to open up a two-shot lead.

Round three was played in constant rain and high winds but Kris battled round to shoot the score of the day with a 69. Alastair shot a 70 to retain a one shot lead with just one round to go in what had now become a two horse race.

Kris, out in the final pairing with Alastair, started strongly with a birdie on the fourth to draw the pair level. However, he followed this up with back to back bogeys whilst Alastair completed the front nine with straight pars. With nine holes to play Kris was two shots back and he needed to find some magic in the blustery conditions. Alastair gave back on the 10th with a bogey, both players made birdies on 14 and then Kris got things level on the 16th with another birdie.

Alastair found the bunker on 17 and failed to get up and down so made a bogey whilst Kris kept his cool to finish with two solid pars, completing the back nine in two under, to secure a fantastic victory.

The win earned Kris a cheque for £1000 plus he gained an exemption for the Scottish PGA Championship that he would otherwise had to have tried to qualify for.

“I feel my game has been coming good for a while, stated Kris, I’ve worked loads on my short game with Pete (Myers) and the time spent hitting low shots in the wind definitely paid off this week. It’s good to get a win and competing against Alastair down the stretch was good fun.”

Kris is now turning his attention to qualifying for the Scottish Open, a feat that he achieved last year.

The two-round event, supported by Aberdeen Asset Management and VisitScotland, takes place on July 8 and 9 and will see four players secure spots in the £7 million Rolex Series event at neighbouring Dundonald Links the following week.

In-between preparations for the Scottish Open, Kris was straight back to work on Monday as he had an afternoon full of lessons booked in the diary.

Kris is fast building a reputation as a great teacher and is available most days for lessons at Dunes Golf Centre. He shares his knowledge of the game and puts it across in a simple, easy to understand way that is benefitting local golfers of all abilities. If you would to improve your golf then book an Initial 1 hour Lesson with Kris or PGA Coach Sam Griffiths while it is on special offer at just £20.00.
This can be booked online at

Or via telephone on 01346 510693. Gift vouchers for all lessons are also available.


Improve your game without changing your swing

Unlock your golfing potential
This is the third 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.

The Performance Triangle
Have you ever noticed how your performance dips when you least want it to? For most golfers the most obvious case is when we get a ‘Medal’ card in our hands.

Is it playing from a slightly longer course that makes the difference?

Have you often played well leading up to the medal only to find that your game deserts you on the day?

We have already discussed the fact that tension is the biggest wrecker of a golf swing and come medal day I have no doubt this plays a part. However, I also believe there is another force at work and it is to do with your focus of attention.

The Performance Triangle (below left) shows Performance (Score or shot outcome), Learning and Enjoyment. You will play your best golf when you have equal amounts of focus on each of the three parts. In other words, when you reside dead centre of the triangle where the green dot is.

Come medal day we naturally focus more on our score and very often golfers lose sight, albeit temporarily, of the enjoyment factor. A good score becomes the sole focus and the perception is that “if I score well, I will enjoy it”.

Golf by its very nature is a game focused on score – after all, the objective of the game is to play the course in as few shots as possible.

Further focus on score is created by the golfers themselves – after nearly every competitive round the first question I hear golfers ask each other is, “What have you shot today?”

My advice is to focus on what you can enjoy today. Stay present by playing one shot at a time and after the round reflect upon what you have learned.

Johnny Miller, who won The Open in 1976 once said, “I would have been a fool not to have been a good golfer. After every game of golf my father asked me only two questions – what have your learned today son? And, what have you enjoyed?”

Here are a couple of practical exercises you can do…

1.Three Shot Diary
After every round of golf write up, in detail, the three best shots you have played that day. Make each description as vivid as you can including details such as weather, the distance, club used, your thoughts, how it felt etc.

It should be written in such a way that the reader can experience the shot too.

There are numerous benefits to this exercise;

  1. You finish the round reflecting on the positives – certainly more enjoyable than talking about all the negatives!
  2. During a round, no matter what your score or shot you have just played – the next shot becomes an opportunity to be one for your diary.
  3. If your game ever enters a slump or before a particularly important game of golf simply reading back through all your successes will set you in a better frame of mind.

The final point helps to create a positive affirmation. An affirmation is a declaration that something is true. Many golfers create negative affirmations such as, “I’m a bad driver of the golf ball.”

The three shot diary will help you to create an affirmation but one that is positive and therefore much more beneficial to your golf game.

2.Good Shot Tally
Simply write down on a piece of paper or the side of a scorecard a tally mark for every good shot you hit. Just count how many there were each game. Don’t worry too much about the number of good shots, just aim to get a tally mark for every shot you hit, including putts!

If you want to unlock your potential simply book your initial 60 minute session from just £20.00 at Dunes Golf Centre.



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


Dunes continues to grow golf

At Dunes Golf Centre we believe that golf can be uncomplicated, interesting, and fun to learn and play, which leads to developing other physical and mental skills.

Our programmes are designed to help students learn “what to do,” (a positive) and avoids any “How to” directions that try to fix poor outcomes.  Studies into the nature of learning show that fixing is a negative approach to progress, and has never supported developmental learning.  By focusing on “what to do,” long-term learning is encoded through the students’ own reasoning and deduction skills.

For example: Last week the juniors were discovering about the club face and how this influences the direction the ball goes in.

To make the lesson fun and engaging the children drew a ‘face’ on the club so now the club really does have a face!

In the sessions, the children discovered that, if the face is drawn in the middle of the club, the best shots happen when the ball is hit by the nose.

The ball does not go up in the air if it hits the chin, and we get strange results and a vibration through the shaft if we hit the cheeks.

The ball goes wherever the ‘eyes’ are looking as the ‘face’ hits the ball.

If you come to the range with your child, let them have some fun drawing a face on the club. Ask your child which part of the ‘face’ they think they hit the ball with.

Our Philosophy…

Learning should take place through play so we come up with games that are designed to engage the children in an environment that allows them to discover how they do it. As opposed to us telling them what to do.

Here are some examples from a recent session designed to develop distance control for putting.

Ladder Putting: In this game they rolled the ball into each number until they had collected all the bean bags

Connect 4: This is a game of Connect 4 but with golf balls as counters

So, why should children learn to play golf?

Some people would say; to develop a great swing, to win tournaments, to be a golf professional winning majors or Olympic Golds like Justin Rose, or simply to learn life skills.  These views should be rethought and quickly replaced with:

Children should learn to play golf simply because it’s a great game that’s fun to play with friends and family.

Great golf swings, winning tournaments, professional golf and life skills may be possible outcomes, but they should not be someone’s (parent or child’s) reason for playing golf or any game.

Golf is a healthy, outdoor, social activity and most importantly it helps to develop self-reliance and self confidence

We have new groups starting after the Easter Holidays for the following age groups:

4 to 8 years old (Tiger Cubs)
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

6 to 12 years old (Tiger Golf)
Wednesdays and Thursdays – CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

11 to 16 years old (Development Group)

Full details on our junior coaching programs can be found on this page – CLICK HERE
Alternatively call in to see us or speak to one of our friendly team on the phone – 01346 510693.

Spaces are available on a first come first served basis so make sure you get in quick to avoid disappointment!


We have planned golf sessions for the Easter holidays that are guaranteed to be fun and educational for your child.

These one-off sessions take place on the following days and times and include, amongst loads of golf games, an Easter Egg hunt.

If your child has their own clubs then bring them along but if not, all clubs will be provided free of charge.

The cost for each session is £10.00


Monday 3rd April 9.30am – 10.30am 4 to 8 year olds (Tiger Cubs)

Monday 3rd April 10.45am – 11.45am 6 to 12 year olds (Junior Tigers)

Wednesday 5th April 9.30am – 10.30am 4 to 8 year olds (Tiger Cubs)

Wednesday 5th April 10.45am – 11.45am 6 to 12 year olds (Junior Tigers)