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Books for Mental Aspect of Golf


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Hi all.  I have been taking lessons at Golf Tec for a year.  Hitting the ball more consistently but still its a work in progress.  Ive seen a few  threads here for mental aspect of the game but i am inrterested in a book like, "Zen Golfing", anyone have any recommended titles?

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  • iacas changed the title to Books for Mental Aspect of Golf
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In my experience most mental game books can be summarized in a few sentences.

A lot of Bob Rotella boil down to "play confidently to conservative targets." Stuff like that.

I don't have any recommendations because I think the mental game, for most, is vastly over-rated. For a small percentage, it can be a big deal. But not for most.

I think that just having a good understanding of proper expectations can do wonders for the mental game of some people. And that's more about the golf swing and understanding the limits of what's commonly achieved by even the game's best players.

Rotella books are okay if you can get through the name-dropping. And he repeats the same stuff all the time.

Zen Golf (Joe Parent?) is okay, too.

Beyond that… I have no idea.

Oh, Vision 54 stuff has the think box and the play box.

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I collected mental game books at one point.  I'm in the midst of packing for a move, but I think I know where some of them are.  I have been thinking of re-reading Rotella's classic Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, but I think I'll be far less enamored than I was a decade ago.

suspect some of it is going to be bad advice too.  For example, I expect he said in his book that the majority of one's time should be spent on short game and putting practice.  Of course, we know better now. 

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

In my experience most mental game books can be summarized in a few sentences.

This I completely agree with. It’s like when reporters talk to players before and after a round, good or bad performance, you can easily group the responses down to a few that will be repeated by every player. 

Unless one has a distinct issue, performance anxiety, panic attacks, I find these books useless overall.

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I think the best tool for regulating emotions (fear, anxiety (which is closer to excitement), excitement, anger, etc..) would be mindfulness meditation/awareness.

 A lot of it is perspective, but it takes practice to be aware of when emotions arise up. 

3 hours ago, iacas said:

I think that just having a good understanding of proper expectations can do wonders for the mental game of some people. And that's more about the golf swing and understanding the limits of what's commonly achieved by even the game's best players.

This is a big thing for 99% (hyperbolizing a bit here)  of people who struggle with what they call mental game. Perspective is a big thing. It's also a simple thing. 

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All of the, "zen golf" books are good.  Id contend that training the mental game is vastly underrated because golf is mostly a mental game but hey, opinions vary. 😉

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1 minute ago, Zengolfer said:

golf is mostly a mental game 

But what exactly do you mean by that? If it was ‘mostly’ mental it would be a hell of a lot easier to become good. I don’t see amateur golfers taking ‘mental lessons’ and fixing that banana slice. Do you?

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32 minutes ago, Zengolfer said:

All of the, "zen golf" books are good.  Id contend that training the mental game is vastly underrated because golf is mostly a mental game but hey, opinions vary. 😉

Not sure about this, data driven conclusions generally point to the physical aspects more than the mental.

For instance, if you duff some percentage of your shots then it’s better to temper your expectations accordingly, because improving the mental game doesn’t change those stats.

Edited by Lihu
So err
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46 minutes ago, Zengolfer said:

 golf is mostly a mental game 

This is the most ridiculous thing that people say about golf. 

Is diving "mainly mental"? What about gymnastics? Why is golf "mostly mental"? 

It's like people saying that the person who "wants it most" wins. Complete BS. :-)

Good strategic thinking and controlling emotions are not the most important parts of the game. 

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52 minutes ago, leftybutnotPM said:

This is the most ridiculous thing that people say about golf. 

Is diving "mainly mental"? What about gymnastics? Why is golf "mostly mental"? 

It's like people saying that the person who "wants it most" wins. Complete BS. :-)

Good strategic thinking and controlling emotions are not the most important parts of the game. 

I think it stems from those who just can’t grasp or maybe admit that golf is hard. Real hard. Those ‘ohhh just swing the club without thinking...it’s as natural as using a fork.’ We see a gymnast go flying in the air or a basketball player dribbling the ball like a mad man and we think, ‘damn...I can’t do that.’ We see a golfer swing a club and we think ‘ oh hell I should be able to do that.’ Yeah ...no.

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6 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

I think it stems from those who just can’t grasp or maybe admit that golf is hard. Real hard. Those ‘ohhh just swing the club without thinking...it’s as natural as using a fork.’ We see a gymnast go flying in the air or a basketball player dribbling the ball like a mad man and we think, ‘damn...I can’t do that.’ We see a golfer swing a club and we think oh hell I should be able to do that.’ Yeah ...no.

I know that I have professional level ability. I can bomb it 300 and mostly straight and usually have mid 20 putts per round. My ball striking, I would say, is top 25 PGATour level. That's the easy stuff. I just can't focus - I'm really mentally weak. It's such a bummer that the mental part of the game is the ONLY thing that separates me from Tiger or Brooks. I mean, yesterday I hit a 7 iron to within 8 feet and made the putt for a gutsy par. That's the kind of stuff that they (we) do.

They are SOOOO lucky to have been born with mental toughness. At least I can console myself with the knowledge that I am as good at GOLF as they are, but they are just mentally stronger. :-)

 

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The mental game is important if it is an obstacle.  If, for example, a few poor shots can ruin your day...you need to sort that out.  If a certain hole, or shot, puckers your bung-hole...that is another issue that needs to be addressed.  Other than that...it's just a game.  The people who have a strong mental game are, most likely, the people who think about it the least.

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47 minutes ago, Piz said:

The mental game is important if it is an obstacle.  

In all aspects of life.

To say that golf is "mostly mental" is patently and demonstrably false. It's just a way for people who aren't very good to think they have an excuse. That's not saying that mental strength and resilience aren't important. But to say golf is "mostly mental" is just platitudinal BS that doesn't hold up to a moment's scrutiny.

Imagine a press conference where Koepka is asked about why his mental approach is so strong because it is so obviously the reason he is doing so well. And then a follow up about what he says to people who think that the physical dimensions of golf are more important than the mental aspects. 

Edited by leftybutnotPM
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Sometimes I think the best book on golf's mental aspect would be a good comic book. .

I don't have any proof, but from what I have read, people develope their own mental toughness. That developed mental toughness comes from being confident in what they do, which is a by product of the learning process. 

I am as mentally tough as anyone, about anything I do. I started developing it during my adolescent, growing up days. Continued it during my military and, my working careers. Also, from my public speaking expiriences. After all that nothing bothers me. 

You want mental toughness? Learn to speak in front of large crowds. Take a class on it. If you can do that, you are mentally prepared to play golf. 

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There is a book I liked that was published years ago.  It is called "the Inter Game of Golf" and was written by Tim Gallwey.  Probably have trouble finding it.  Mr. Gallwey was a teaching Tennis pro and decided to learn to play golf.  It is about how he applied his tennis teaching techniques to his own learning to play golf and swinging the club. I found it interesting and some of his techniques helped me.  But as @iacas said earlier in the thread, it, like most books on the mental side, tell  you how to get out of your own way when playing.  But sometime saying the same thing a different way can make more sense of it all.

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Golf is mostly a mental game because its more about controlling your emotions and not getting out of your own head because all the ball is just sitting there, so its not so much about athletic ability or reaction time.

Thats why so many people can hit the ball well on the driving range but when they are on the course where it matters, they cant do it.  It also explains why you also have some golfers who are quite good in a casual round where it doesnt matter but when its tournament golf, they fall apart.

Supposedly, Bobby Jones once said,"golf is a game that is played on a 5 inch course - the space between your ears."  

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21 minutes ago, Zengolfer said:

Thats why so many people can hit the ball well on the driving range but when they are on the course where it matters, they cant do it. 

People hit the ball poorly on the range all the time. And they have great rounds. I don’t think that is mostly a mental issue.

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