Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect
Dr. Bob Rotella with Bob Cullen
It’s funny how often I feel like I just don’t play to my potential. How often I seem to crumble under pressure or never really get going after a bad start. Does this sound like you?
As I was playing the other week, partnered up with a new group, I got talking to one of the players. He was telling me about how he had changed his mental approach to the game. He said he’d taken his game down a few strokes by simply focussing on the things that matter. He credited this new found focus to a book. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not that cynical and am a huge believer in the mental aspect of the game and how it can help or hinder you, though how powerful could a book really be? He was convinced it could help me. So one week later, what do I think?
In one word, YES!
This book was quite a revelation. A revelation of common sense and things that I really deep down understood and knew. So, probably not that much of a revelation after all! However, it is written in a way that really speaks to me and provides a validating clarity for some of the things I often question.
The way he describes the approaches to the mental game and the stories he tells about his work with tour pros are insightful and very helpful. Bob Rotella understands that “Winners learn to accept the swing they bring to the course on any given day and score with it”. This is one of my problems. “Without realizing it, they’re (me, and probably many golfers) doing everything possible to undermine their own game”. Some of the quotes that tell me I’m doing damage to my game were spelt out clearly in this book. Things like; “A little doubt or a little indecision is sufficient to impair performance”, “Dwelling on mechanics or trying to correct a swing flaw in the middle of a round (is hurtful)” or “The important thing is to adjust (to your swing for the day). Too many players get obsessed with straightening out a hook or a slice that they could simply play with. Without realising it, they change their goal from shooting their best score to fixing their swing.” These are all things I am guilty of!
One of the strong themes that runs through this book is that “The foundation of consistency is a sound pre-shot routine.” and that confidence and deciding to be confident is very important. He describes techniques used by many pros such as visualising and having a 100% focus on what the ball will do. Some of these ideas are described in such straight forward terms like, “Confidence at the level of any shot is nothing more than thinking about your ball going to the target. If you’re thinking about the ball going to the target, you’re confident.”
Of course as golfers we know these things can be very hard to do. Dr. Rotella states, “A golfer chokes when he lets anger, doubt, fear or some other extraneous factor distract him before a shot”. This book tries to teach you about how important the mental game is and how you can work on becoming a mentally stronger golfer. He also understands that golf is about mechanics and that without sound mechanics you’re still going to have a high handicap. He gives meaningful tips about practise and how to maximise this time working on both mechanics and the mental game.
For me, this book answers a lot of questions about why I can shoot par on the front nine and then 7 or 8 over on the back, or vice versa. I can feel my mental game drifting. Sometimes, I just can not seem to get back in that place where I’m scoring well. This book tells me that it is something I need to work on. To sustain that focus and be able to stay “loose and trusting” throughout a round requires commitment and focus. My mental game needs training just like my swing.
If this sounds like you, I would definitely recommend this book. An easy read with realistic and helpful advice. You just have to be ready to hear it like I was.
“In the end, you will realise that you love golf because of what it teaches you about yourself”. Dr. Bob Rotella got that spot on. Because what I learn on the course definitely helps me off the course too.
Do you have a book that helped your game? Golf Blog Australia would love to hear. Feel free to leave a comment.
Luke @ Golf Blog Australia