Doctor John Mathers is a BASES-accredited sports psychologist at the University of Stirling. He works with a number of European Tour players and and elite amateur golf squads on developing their mental skills.
1 Favourite five
Rank your top five golf courses in Scotland with a one-word explanation of why each course has made it on your list
Muirfield – Every hole is good
Carnoustie – So difficult
The Old Course – Sense of History
Gleneagles Centenary – The scenery
Western Gailes – Classic links
2 Groundhog golf
If you could play just one Scottish course, over and over again, which course would you choose and why?
Elie, Fife. This is the course I grew up on and one that continues to amaze me. The course plays differently every time and the degree of difficulty varies hugely from day to day. The course is also at one with the sea side environment and seems to belong within the natural landscape.
3 Hidden gems
Scotland is full of great courses that hardly anyone has ever heard of – what’s your favourite and what makes it special?
Ladybank – set in a quiet Fife town near Cupar, the course is miles better than you might expect.
4 Links lessons
What’s the single most important piece of advice you’d give to someone who was playing links golf for the first time?
Remember to visualise the flight, bounce and roll of the shot you are intending to play to the fairway or green. The landing spot of the golf ball is the mere starting point.
5 Off course
What’s the one off-course activity that any golfer coming to Scotland should experience?
Bagging one of Scotland’s historic landmarks – i.e. Castle or monument or … taking a car journey through Glencoe!
6 This much I know …
What words of wisdom would you give to a student golfer visiting Scotland?
Read some basic Scottish history before you come, then look around and learn about the birthplace of the game of golf.