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Lowest Score Wins (Barzeski/Wedzik)


Pros: Covers a lot of areas, it will lower your scores, easy to read and revise, to the point and based on facts and statistics, a book for everyone

I was a excited when I found this book in my mail. On the back, it says "We show you the new way to shoot lower scores - immediately." As a cynic and critic, I must admit that it's a bold statement. I haven't been able to go out the next day and shoot lower scores after reading many of the other books.


I've read a few books on golf through the years. Most on the swing, some on the short game and putting, some which focus on specifics of the swing, but this book takes on some different aspects.


The Separation Value system is a new term for me, but the principles are stuff I've read about in here before. It is a pretty important aspect of golf. You want to shoot lower scores, but where should you dedicate your time and focus? The book makes a solid point in guiding you to where you should focus your attention, and how much time you really should spent on fairway bunker shots. The system is used throughout the book, making it easy to see how it works.


The technique chapters are largely based on 5SK, including some info on drives, chips, bunkers, putts etc. It gives you a good introduction to the 5 Simple Keys, but doesn't go too far in-depth. They rather recommend you check out the 5SK website, with more information. I think this is a good move. The technical aspects of the swing is obviously a big part in shooting lower scores, and I belive video works better than words there. This is also elements that often takes a longer time to get working. If you combine this book with the 5SK material, you got all you need to improve.


The chapter about advancing your ball is pretty good stuff. I had two eagle attempts (one birdie, one par) on today's 9 holes because of that chapter. Read it, then read it again.


The chapters dedicated to putting gives you all the technical tips you'll need, some statistics and data. There are some nuggets in there which a lot of us amateurs out there could improve greatly from. I kept a certain putting tip in my head when putting today and my speed was a lot better than before.


Towards the end, a lot of pages are dedicated to Building Your Gameplan, which was one of my favorite parts of the book. I don't think I've come across that way of planning your game before. Once you've read it, you probably think it sounds pretty logical, but is that how you really play? I haven't been able to find my shot zones yet, but it is definitely something I'll try to do.


I could write a lot about this book, but I don't want to put half the book out there. I really, really like this book. I would not hesitate in recommending this book for anyone out there who plays golf. And it truly is a book for everyone, as it covers a large area of topics. It covers a lot of aspects in golf and gives you to the point information, but doesn't drag out with page after page on details. Some of the chapters give you the short version of the topic, and give you directions to where you can find more. But it still doesn't feel too short or that there is stuff missing.


Everything is based on facts. It's based on statistics and hard data from Tiger Woods and the PGA Pros to your random weekend hacker. Anyone familiar with TheSandTrap and 5 Simple Keys should not be surprised here. Erik and Dave base a lot of their teachings on statistics and facts, which is what makes this such a good book. You don't have to wonder if what they are talking about is correct or not. They are showing you that this is in fact how it works. I especially enjoy that they have taken the time to record data from amateurs to use in their work.


I read the book in 4 hours and it's easy to revise chapters if you want to. I literally went out and played my best 9 holes so far this year after reading it.


Pros: Original concepts - separation value, decision maps, etc.; comprehensive without being too wordy; references to websites for further reading

Cons: Could use some illustrations in Section 2; lack of discussion about technique; Price point a bit high?

There's probably not much I can say about this book that hasn't already been addressed in either these other reviews or the myriad forums on the website. With that said, let me offer some insights that I hope don't overlap what others have said already.



The concept for this book is very original. More importantly, it's the concept that most golfers who buy books should probably be focusing on. Most golf books I've seen are discussions of how to improve technique. Most focus on a specific part of the game - full swing, short game, putting, even mental. Some are excellent sources of information about how to swing a golf club for certain kinds of shots. Few address strategy, however, from the perspective of the golfer reading the book. The decision map concept, and how it varies for golfers of different handicaps, is an invaluable and pretty unique concept. Course management for Jack Nicklaus is different from me, the weekend duffer struggling to break 80. It's great to learn how to swing the club properly. When you are playing golf, though, you only have at that point in time the skills available to you. You may wish that you possessed the swing of Ben Hogan you saw in Five Lessons, and with enough work, you may someday approach that level of skill. If you don't take a look in the mirror and play YOUR game, though, golf will become frustrating. This book teaches you how to maximize your current skills to score best (as well as providing lots of great stuff about improving between rounds as well).


Equally as impressive is the concept of separation value. I found it an interesting dichotomy how the separation value for certain types of shots is relatively similar for golfers of all skill levels, while the decision map and shot zones for different golfers could be quite dissimilar. Whether you are a PGA Tour pro or a 20 handicap, approach shots are most important for scoring well. How YOU plan on getting on the green might be quite different from someone else.


I won't dwell on the Section 1 too much because everyone reading this review can find much more just by browsing this website about 5sk in better language than I can provide. However, the book did a good job of teasing the concepts and then providing web links to those smart readers who want to look into the concepts further. The 65/20/15 forum on this website also demonstrates in great detail how the Separation Value concept makes sense, and why driving and approach shots are in the SV4 category, while tap-in putts are SV1. Drive for show, putt for dough? How about "Drive for dough, approach for more dough, and putt for birdie to seal the deal?" No one said I was a poet...


Anyone who's spent time on TheSandTrap.com will recognize most of the concepts delineated in Section 2. The most original part, however, was how the SV data was applied to each chapter to demonstrate why the SCOR concept (strokes, ceiling, opportunities, related skills) works in conjunction with SV. It also reinforces very compellingly why full swing practice should be the focus, and how each type of shot - drive, approach, short putt, long bunker shot, etc. - equates to "SCORing" well. The tournament prep chapter was a welcome surprise. I plan on playing in some this year and beyond, and I will certainly use the advice here. Hopefully it works!


A few criticisms - Although I know that this book is not intended to be a book on swing technique like, for example, The Golfing Machine, I found myself wanting some tips on not what to practice and what drills to do, but how to hit the ball. Aside from putting powder on the driver face and lining up an alignment rod, how do I know if I'm swinging the correct way? I think the book could have explained that if you want to read something that tells you how to hit the ball, this book isn't for you. Even with the references to the websites - which I think is an excellent idea - I can see a first timer picking this book up begging for more swing tips.


I also think the price is a bit steep. $30 for a 200 page paperback might turn off many casual golfers. Even though I know the information is probably 100x more valuable than Tiger Woods's "How I Play Golf," it is a big shiny hardcover that costs the same as LSW. Let me say this, though: The book is worth the money!!!! Most of you reading this probably know that, but for those who may be reading my review to determine if they want to buy the book or not, don't think a fancy hardcover with lots of pretty pictures is a better buy. To the authors, though - I'm sure you had much deliberation about marketing and a price, etc., but you may want to consider lowering the price of a LSW II (hope, hope!!!). If you ever get big enough to have it on the shelf at Barnes and Noble next to Dave Pelz and Stan Utley (I hope you do, truly), that might be a good idea.


Great book. I'm signing up for Evolvr again next month for keeps when I get my new iPhone. Can't wait!!!


Pros: Lots of new information about lowing your score.

  I thought the book was well thought out.  It dispels some long held myths about the golf game, but also shows you why they are myths instead of just telling you.  It really takes game management and owning your own game to a level that most will never think about, showing you how to lower your scores right now by how you manage your way around the course.  This book is not a how to swing the club book, but it also gives some general keys and idea's on how to improve your swing as well. 

  For me in a nut shell it really made me stop and think about how I play the game, and how I plot my way around the course and how I can improve in my course management.   You may think that you already know all of this.  I thought I had a good handle on it.  And I was on the right track, but I was a long ways away from really reaching my full potential on the course.  I am very confident that reading this book is going to shave strokes off my game.   


Pros: Perspective, nuts and bolts, detailed math, absolutely nothing missed

Cons: It does not play golf for you

The most powerful concept in the book - treating every golf hole as an independent unit and treating its scoring methodology as an algorithm. The variables of the algorithm (driving, approach, pitching, chipping, putting) are assigned relative weight - something very cleverly and effectively dubbed separation value. Mathematicians would call it co-efficient of variable. Each variable of the algorithm is broken down, described and prescribed in a palatable way for anyone and everyone. Golfer of each level would find something to relate to a I can safely say would find at least one aha moment. Odds are, many more.


Nothing, absolutely nothing, has been left out that affects scoring from swing technique (disclaimer: not a comprehensive coverage of their entire swing instruction - 5SK, which of course is widely available through plethora of venues), game planning (from tournament to your Sunday morning scramble), shot selection, club selection, landing zones to a completely out of the box perspective of how somebody who has never played golf would approach a hole. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Certianly few accomplished golfers-writers of a high caliber as Erik Barzeski and Dave Wedzik have described the thought, decision making and execution process in the detail as they have.  


The book is structured in steps but also fully self contained in each section. Surprisingly, even after reading this stunningly detailed treatise on raw data, physical game and an accomplished golfers thought process and how it relates to YOU, what struck me of how I felt the full brunt and appreciation of the mystique, the art and the craft that this game is in it's entirety. 


It is plenty evident that the book is a genuine labor of love and certainly recommended to one and all. As for any concentrated information rich writing, it is also highly recommended that the book be read at least a few times before lot of the concepts stick and take shape in your own game as you put them in practice. Needless to say will serve very well as an all inclusive golf handbook (except for rules of golf). 


Too bad the book doesn't swing the club for you. Get it.


Pros: Easy to Read, Statements are Supported by Data, Applies Information in a Practical Manner

Cons: Could Use More Pictures in the Technique Section

Lowest Score Wins is easily the best golf book I've ever read. Unlike the majority of golf books out there which teach based on conventional wisdom and anecdotes, Lowest Score Wins teaches based on observable data, and does so in a practical manner. The book debunks common myths and cliches that have plagued golf instruction for countless numbers of years by approaching the game of golf in a scientific and analytical way. It is also written in plain English, with bits of humor thrown in. So, despite numerous statistics and references, it remains an easy read.


The book is divided into three main sections. The first is called Technique & Equipment, but it goes far beyond teaching how to swing and use a club properly. This is the section the breaks down a lot of the conventional wisdom in golf and teaches what actually matters in golf. Here is a prime example of a common cliche: "drive for show, putt for dough." Turns out that the average PGA Tour player is not much better at putting than the average golfer, so the real reason they make so much money is because they hit the ball so well.


The second section is all about practice: what a golfer should be practicing, what they shouldn't, and how. It takes all of the essential skills necessary in golf and explains exactly how important each skill actually is, relative to scoring. It also gives provides some drills and methods to work on those skills.


The last section is all about strategy. I feel this is the most important section of the book. While the first two sections provide the tools for long term improvement, the last section allows a golfer to score better right now, without having to make any swing changes. This section will change the way a typical golfer approaches a golf hole.


Lowest Score Wins is a book that can benefit any golfer. From the 30 handicap to the +3, there is information within it that can lower their scores. It is an absolute must read.


Pros: Easy to understand, quick to read and will improve your game.

Cons: None about the book, but some players may not follow through with the advice and their practice. Make notes and follow it.

This is the most comprehensive golf strategy book out there.  I am already saving strokes on the course, and can’t wait to read the book a second time to see what I may have missed and reinforce what I have learned. 


This book does an exceptional job of letting the player know how to prioritize their practice by giving various aspects of the game a rated Separation Value, how to manage your misses and how to use Decision Maps to select the right shot in any situation.  It goes on to provide preparation advice for competitive golf and dispels a number of the myths of golf we have thought were true for years through verified statistics. 


This book is a must read for every golfer serious about improving their game.   This book takes what other statistical books have failed to do and has given us a practical application for game improvement.  If you follow through with what it says, your game will surely improve.   


Pros: Tells you exactly how to shoot lower scores; gives several examples of how to improve in all areas of the game

Cons: Little mention of psychology/mental state

Lowest Score Wins is a great read for all skill levels! Every golfer has something to learn from this book!  

Using statistics from the professionals and amateurs of the game, Erik Barzeski and David Wedzik, have narrowed down what is most important when it comes to improving your game. Using what they call Separation Value, they have given several aspects/skills of the game, a level of importance when it comes to improving. This makes the read easy to understand, and helps each individual identify what they may need to practice more. Barzeski and Wedzik also give several examples of drills, for each skill, to mark how much one can improve. They end the book with great course management ideas, and how to best play each hole given obstacles you see every hole.

Aside from what is mentioned in game planning section, a down side is that there isn't much detail of the psychology/mental state golfers must maintain as their round progresses, which can have a major impact on your game.


Pros: Clear, concise and well written. Explains what to practice and why and how to map our your game plan for courses.

Cons: Needs an index for easy reference back to sections.

I supported this project because I have read a lot of instructional golf books, but they are always missing something.  Namely, how can I score better with the game I have now?  Most golf books tell you how to improve some aspect of the game such as short game, putting, full swing etc.  Some of them are very good, but the authors either focus only on their areas for expertise, or what they feel is important, Utley, Pelz, Stockton, etc.  Others are usually a great pro talking of their approach to the game with Hogan, Nicklaus, Woods, Floyd coming to mind.  I enjoyed these books, but I am always looking for more.


Lowest Score Wins (LSW) takes a different approach.  The authors Erik Barzeski and Dave Wedzik identify what really separates higher and lower scores.  What can turn three shots into two, quoting the great Bobby Jones.  The authors introduce their concept of Separation Value, a measure of a skill's potential to lower your score.  Using statistics from both PGA pros and amateurs from their own testing, the authors identify exactly what skills are most important and which ones you can devote the least time to improve your game and scores.  The authors go on the tell the reader how they determine Separation Value using SCOR, four factors: how many strokes you can save in a round (S), what is the ceiling of ability improvement (C), how many opportunities you may have in a round (O) and related skills you can practice that can serve to cover this skill (R).


The book then is divided in to three sections, Techniques & Equipment, Building a Practice Plan and Building Your Game Plan.  Or to paraphrase; what skills are the most important to improve upon to lower your score, how to practice them to get better and how to use your current skill level to improve your scores today.  I won't go into detail on these because you really should read the book.


Overall, the book is easy to read, well laid out and has some humor to break the intensity.  I met both Erik and Dave at a clinic in Massachusetts back in 2010.  What impressed me most about their teaching methods is they told you why and not just how.  Most instructors say "do it this way" but never tell or really understand why it works.  Erik and Dave took the time with their students to explain why golf shots fly the way they do and why practicing a certain way will help.  Lowest Score Wins goes into much more detail and I highly recommend it as a must read for every golfer who wants to improve.


 I have tagged my copy for quick reference.  Now the rest us up to me.



Pros: Easy and enjoyable to read. Not based on opinion, and backed up by statistics and real world applications.

Cons: Requires some homework, but don't worry, you will enjoy this homework.

This book gets right to the heart of the matter in golf... SCORING. It is well written and backed up by statistics, not personal opinion. The stats from touring pros and low handicappers are quite eye opening. There is not a shred of fluff in this book that you often find in other golf books. It busts some popular myths about the game and is enjoyable to read. It has a common sense approach to improving your game with both long term and short term tools to shave strokes. Who doesn't want to shoot lower scores?! To often, golfers go to the course or practice facility without a plan, or even worse, a bad plan. Lowest Score Wins teaches you how to develop a solid plan for improving your swing, short game, and course management. Concepts are presented in a way that anyone can understand. You don't need to have a bunch of knowledge going in. Golf is hard, but shooting lower scores doesn't have to be.


I am a golf book junkie and can say that this is the best golf book I've ever put my eyes on. Anyone who plays this game is missing out if they don't read this book AND do what it says. If you want to be a average hacker, don't buy this book. If you want knowledge and motivation to improve your overall game and improve your scores, don't hesitate to get this book. It is truly unique in the world of golf books.


Pros: Based on Facts, Easy to Read, Concise, Creative

Cons: None

First and foremost, this book is not your typical golf instruction book. Though it does touch on all the aspects of the golf swing, but it does so briefly as to start you on the right path. Really you can't teach a golf swing through a book. Believe me, I read and own many golf instructional books, and they have done little to improve my golf swing. What improves a golf swing is a good instructor. What the "Lowest Score Wins" does it give you insight on what is true about the golf swing, and the game of golf. It starts to point you in the right direction for improving your game.


Where this book really shines is in the last two sections of the book. First is on how to build a practice plan based on what aspects of the game are most significant to scoring. This is done through a rating system called "Separation Value." The book will also tell you how to partition practice time based on if you have a glaring weakness, or if you just to need to generally improve all aspects of your game. "Lowest Score Wins" will enlighten you to what is really important about the game of golf, as well as provide some simple and practical drills to improve many aspects of your own game.


I think a section any golfer needs to read is on putting. I truly believe that amateurs hold PGA Tour professionals to an extremely high standard when it comes to putting ability. In this book you will learn that PGA tour players do not hold a glaring edge of amateurs on the putting green. Would you rather take a PGA tour player on a putting challenge or a 175 yard shot from the middle of the fairway "closest to the hole" challenge? In the book "Lowest Score Wins" is some great insight on how to read putts from a new perspective, as well as what type of putts you should be practicing, including some really good practical drills for improving your putting.


Now for the section that I think will revolutionize how people go about playing a golf course is on how to Game Plan. Through a simple, yet intuitive method, a person can create a game plan for any situation they encounter on the golf course. Based on the golfer's shot dispersion as well as the golf course design, "Lowest Score Wins" gives you a visually simple yet very powerful tool to make your way around the golf course. Also on how to handle some more specific situations, like should you play a bunker shot towards the pin or off to the side.


Overall this is not your typical golf book. Through meticulous research and testing the authors of this book have created something very special. This book has a wealth of information to it that I will be reading it a few times more, and for as long as I play golf. I believe that this book should be owned by any golfer who seriously wants to improve their game NOW!! This is the quintessential book about the game of golf.

Lowest Score Wins (Barzeski/Wedzik)

Lowest Score Wins is not your classic golf book. It is the first of its kind. It provides a complete roadmap for golfers and explains, through a combination of techniques, stats, and strategies, how to shoot lower scores immediately. Lowest Score Wins is comprised of three main sections. Since advancing the ball solidly is such a huge factor in shooting lower scores, the first section addresses simple techniques to improve mechanics quickly. The latter sections of the book show golfers exactly how to build their own PracticePlan and GamePlan. It combines rich statistical analysis and strategies to explain exactly where golfers should spend their valuable practice time (and why), what pitfalls to avoid, and how to attack any golf course with a process called Decision Mapping. These show you how to take advantage of skills you ALREADY possess.

Additional Informationhttp://lowestscorewins.com/
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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