What better time to get stuck into a good book than during this lockdown period?
We’ve picked out four of the best golf instruction books for you to get a head start once we’re allowed out to play…
The Lost Art of Putting and The Lost Art of Playing Golf
Karl Morris and Gary Nicol
Declaration of interest: I have edited both of these books, writes Dan Murphy.
Over the years, you might be surprised to learn how many people have approached me with their ideas for golf books and I can tell you that my heart sinks every time. That was the case when I first chatted to Gary Nicol, the long-time coach on tour who is based at Archerfield. I’d known Gary a while so I was happy to hear him out. That’s all it was going to be, but then he took me outside and handed me a putter and a ball and asked me to hit a putt.
“Where to?” I asked.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said.
“How odd,” I thought, and clacked the putt across the green, while Gary recorded the action, such as it was, on his phone.
“How did that feel?”
“Um, fine,” I said. When I thought about it later, I realised it had come off flush. But we never think about putting in terms of ball-striking, do we?
“Now hit another putt and see how close you can get it to the first one.”
I went through my pre-shot routine, took aim and rolled it to within 18 inches.
“How did that feel?”
“Yeah, no problem.”
“Well, it looked different.”
“What do you mean?
“Let me show you.”
It was instantly apparent that the stroke on the first putt was freer and smoother; you could see how my forearms had tensed up during the second putt. Embarrassingly, I was still judging and lining the putt up while I was over the ball, which makes you wonder exactly what my pre-shot routine was achieving.
“Imagine,” said Gary, “if you could hit every putt with as much freedom and flow as you did your first one.”
I’ve been working on it ever since.
There’s an awful lot more to The Lost Art of Putting, and its stablemate The Lost Art of Playing Golf. Both books have the power to change fundamentally the way you go about your golf.
Head to the next page for some tips from a former European Tour and Ryder Cup player…