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Great, easy read! Gets down to the point of shooting lower scores quickly!

A Review On: Lowest Score Wins (Barzeski/Wedzik)

Lowest Score Wins (Barzeski/Wedzik)

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phillyk
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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.

6 Comments:

Does the book talk about sports psychology, no. Yet it does force a change in the way people think about how to play the course, how to practice correctly, and what matters most. This in it self would change a golfers perspective of the game. I would say that maybe unintentionally the tools in "Lowest Score Wins", and the process on how to play the course, gives a golfer the mental focus to take it one shot at a time.
 
Bob Rotella has a lot of books out on the Mental Game, and a quote from him is, "On the first tee, a golfer must expect only two things of himself: to have fun, and to focus his mind properly on every shot." 
 
To me in the end the golfer has to hit the shot. Golf is a HARD game. I don't think the "Mental" aspect of the game matters much. I think people get too caught up in using that as an excuse. If a golfer is a bogey golfer, they have a consistently poor swing. I don't think the mental game is standing in their way of playing great golf. I think its the swing. 
It doesn't talk about sports psychology, and I wish they had mentioned it more in detail then just getting your head straight about the truth of certain golf myths and playing proper game planning.  If you don't think golf is a mental game, go ask the PGA Pros who see a sports psychologist for their tournaments...  Mental strength is a massive advantage over other players.  You hear announcers always mention how older players have an advantage in big tournaments because they have more experience.  What their saying is their mental side of the game is strong and won't be diminished because of the importance of what ever tournament their in.  While younger players may not have that same ability.  Experience is your mental side of the game, and using it properly is important.

Bubba Watson is a good example of poor mental strength. Yes he has won big tournaments but he can't transfer that same energy into a course (The Open) that may not suit his eye.  He has the swing and the potential, what he has to get over is the mental block saying I don't like this course or this course doesn't suit my swing.
The reason they need a mental edge is because the difference between PGA Tour players is very small. Golf is a game of diminishing returns, meaning once you get to the PGA Tour level, every stroke matters much more than for a high handicap player. That is why you can see massive lowering of handicap from bad players, and the PGA Tour players are looking for every little thing they can do to gain that 1 or 2 strokes over a 72 holes. 
 
Put it this way. You take a 30 handicap player to a reputable sports psychologist, and I'll take him to reputable swing coach. Lets say in 6 months they have a match. Who do you think will win in an 18 hole match. 
 
This book does much more to help golfers than any book on the mental aspect of golf would. Mental game will not fix a bad swing. 
 
Just because PGA Tour players do it, doesn't mean it is applicable to amateurs. The degree in which non PGA Tour players need to improve in other areas exceeds that of going to see a sports psychologist. 
I don't know why you're attacking me as if I didn't like the book, because I did.  Like you said it teaches a lot about the game and how to get your stroke better.

If I was saying a psychologist can teach a proper golf swing more than a Pro, then I'm sorry for the confusion, because that is not at all what I'm saying.

But, you're assuming a very small role of what "mental" game means.  When in fact, it means much more than that.  Every time you practice at the range or putting, you're training your mind and muscles to recognize what you practice and transfer the same motions to when you play on the course.  You must maintain mental focus and strength while practicing or you will practice the wrong thing and undo what you learned from the Pro.  That is what Pros and this book can do for you, to implant the proper mechanical idea into your head so that it gives a good point upon which to improve.  They can't be there for you every time you play on the course.  You must retain the information they provide and use it properly.  That sounds like a mind job to me.

The last sentence in LSW chapter 17, is what i'm trying to push. "You may have found the greatest instructors in the world, but change takes time and if you don't put in the practice time, your game is unlikely to improve."  But more than that, it's to practice properly like Eric says all the time.  You can't get wild or agitated when practicing, because you'll start to make mistakes.  You have to remain calm and focus on whatever goal you have in mind.  That sounds easy but it isn't.
Psychology, by the way, is the study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior.  So, when I say the psychology of the game, I mean the mental aspect and how it affects the swing, not that seeing a sports psychologist can teach better golf.
I don't think Matt's attacking you, but I do think he's disagreeing with you about the usefulness and practicality of discussing the mental game within LSW.
 
We didn't include too much on the mental game (we did include some - for example, the forward tees section in Pro Tips is a mental game strategy, as is being realistic, having small successes, etc.) for two reasons. First, the mental game is fairly insignificant, and second, everyone is so different.
 
If we were to give "mental game skills" an SV ranking, it'd be SV1. It's not going to change someone's score very much at all. Undoubtedly, there are a few outliers who might be affected quite a bit. If you just walk up to your ball, with no pre-shot routine, don't pick a target (Game Plan), and tell yourself constantly that you suck and that you're probably going to shank the ball, you will shave more strokes than others with an improved mental game. But you're an outlier if you're that guy. Most will improve their mental game as they improve at golf.
 
But mostly the reason is that everyone is so different. Some players react to pressure by seeking to relieve it. Others want to "show off." I never get nervous playing in an event - Dave admits to getting nervous on the first tee. Yet we both have a very "watch THIS!" mentality on the golf course, too, so we're not even that different.
 
So for us to talk about the mental game would be like two people who have never had more than a few drinks a year talking about how to kick alcoholism or something - we've never really struggled with the mental game and the only ones we understand are our own, so who are we to talk about everyone else's? Entire SERIES of books have been written about it, so what would a chapter add?
 
Plus, as I mentioned, we did discuss "the mental game" or at least the mental approach, a few times, and subtly. For example, golfers need to be more realistic, both in assessing their own games and how they rank against PGA Tour players or better players. That alone affects their GamePlan, their Practice Plan, and so on. Small Successes and the 5S of Practice affect how they approach and view practicing.
 
Thanks for reading the book, and for rating it at a 4.5. We greatly appreciate the feedback.
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