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!!!