In last month’s Golf Care newsletter, we gave you the chance to ask three-time Ryder Cup captain and Golf Care ambassador Bernard Gallacher a question about golf. Read on to hear Bernard’s advice on putting, overcoming nerves, the role of technology in the game and much more.
Andrew Sutherland: What do you think of the rule change regarding anchoring the putter? How do you see it influencing the game?
Bernard: I did not particularly agree with the rule change, as it only really helped a few players. You can be sure that if this was a huge benefit then every professional would have been using the anchor method.
Will Coker: What would you recommend to overcome nerves? Particularly on the 1st tee with a competition audience watching…
Bernard: I always overcame my first tee nerves by breathing deeply – it’s amazing how it helps. I would breathe in deeply to the count of seven, then completely exhale, and repeat this a couple of times. It also helps if you have a consistent pre-shot routine that you can just repeat it every time you’re under pressure.
Syd Paterson: Can you ever see a day when professionals will be using laser rangefinders or GPS devices on the course instead of human caddies?
Bernard: I think it’s probably only a matter of time before laser rangefinders are allowed to be used in competition on the main tours, although the local rule in place currently only permits their use on minor tours. I definitely think there is a place in the game for caddies, though!
Mick O’Toole: What’s the best way of dealing with a bunker with not much sand in when close to the green?
Bernard: In a green-side bunker with little sand, you need to make sure you don’t open the face of the sand iron, so you don’t create too much bounce. Keep the sand iron very square or use a pitching wedge, and don’t ever be tempted to take it clean.
Peter Craggs: I have trouble judging the distance when I am putting and often leave the putt either short or way beyond the hole. Any tips on how I can improve my judgement of putting distances?
Bernard: I always found it challenging to judge the distance of my putts and always envied my peers like Brian Barnes who were brilliant at it. I did have some success by opening my body up like a chip shot from longer distances, and then reverting to being square or side on for shorter putts.
Andy Hudson: How do you think Rory will perform this year? Do you think that it is his putting that is letting him down?
Bernard: I personally think that Rory will finish the year back at number 1 in the world. He is so good from tee-to-green and gives the impression he is an average putter, but his stats show he is around average with 29 putts per round, which is ok for someone who hits so many greens. It is nothing like Jordan Speith, who averages just over 27, but then again he does tend to miss more greens!
Bill Jackson: Was there ever a time that you played drivers off the fairway during your career?
Bernard: We used to use drivers off the fairway regularly back in the old days when we had persimmon heads. This happens a lot less today though because the fairway metals are so strong. Stenson is a good example of this, as he regularly uses a 3 wood off the tee, but I bet the club only has around 13 degrees of loft.