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"Every Shot Must Have a Purpose" (and Golf54) by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott

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I'm going to jump in here as a big proponent of this philosophy. Admittedly, I haven't read other pure "mental golf" books, but I think this one is full of plenty of its own solid ideas. Two things, in particular:

1) THINK BOX v. PLAY BOX, separated by the DECISION LINE. Basically, all of your thoughts, club selection, shot type, alignment...are all made in the THINK BOX. When you cross the DECISION LINE into the PLAY BOX, all you can do is simply execute that plan. It's hard to explain, but when you truly let go and stop thinking while in your PLAY BOX, the game becomes simpler, you become more confident and - as expected - your shots get better. I actually imagine that I am inside an elevator-like box as my PLAY BOX, and tell myself that, at that point, the entirety of what I can do, simply lies within that area. Once I swing and contact the ball and send it on its way, the rest is up to nature and physics. I can only focus on what happens inside that box.

2) CONTROLLABLE v. UNCONTROLLABLE goals: Again, some obvious-once-you-say-it things. Among the most noteworthy, your score is NOT controllable. It's subject to bad bounces, wind, etc.... Moreover, at any one time, you can generally only have one controllable goal: to make a good plan for THIS shot, and execute it with confidence. Once you determine your CONTROLLABLE goal, you must have COMMITTMENT to that INTENTION.

The idea of Golf54 is not that anyone can shoot 54, clearly not. It's that we all need to let go of whatever limits we place on our games. At the same time, though, as above, realize that we cannot make ourselves shoot 54, or 72, or whatever. We can only do the individual things that will get us there. As they say, You cannot make the 54 happen, but you can stay committed to a process that can make it possible.

I know everyone is different, but I can honestly say that - coming from a person whose mental game consisted simply of trying NOT to get angry - this philosophy has changed my game. I am absolutely positive that I hit shots today that I would not be able to hit otherwise, without the focus - and subsequent freedom - this has brought me. I hope others find it discussion-worthy.

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I'm going to jump in here as a big proponent of this philosophy. Admittedly, I haven't read other pure "mental golf" books, but I think this one is full of plenty of its own solid ideas. Two things, in particular:

Pretty interesting stuff... makes alot of sense.

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I read it last month and found that it was interesting, but like a lot of other visualization books out there. I liked the Think Box/Play Box concept, but have trouble taking my practice swings and then setting up without doing a last minute once-over. I sometimes suffer from paralysis through analysis, and am trying to get into the habit of hitting 8-10 seconds after my last practice swing, but old habits die hard.

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I read it last month and found that it was interesting, but like a lot of other visualization books out there. I liked the Think Box/Play Box concept, but have trouble taking my practice swings and then setting up without doing a last minute once-over. I sometimes suffer from paralysis through analysis, and am trying to get into the habit of hitting 8-10 seconds after my last practice swing, but old habits die hard.

h.d.-

I have the exact same issue with the Think Box/Play Box. I occasionally try to only visualize my desired ball flight one I step over the ball. I haven't successfully integrated it yet, but when I do it right, it seems to work. Of course, when I don't do it, sometimes my shot still works. So, I have no idea if there is an actual cause and effect relationship. (One thing I have noticed about all of the mental focus/visualization books is that they have a lot of filler in order to come up with enough pages for a book. I suspect they could be distilled down to a pamphlet if book revenues were not an issue. The only one I truly "enjoyed" was Penick's Little Red Book, because his stories were so good and he always seemed to get straight to the point on his teachings.)

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The whole point of Think Box/Play Box, is not to mix up the activities of each. I have found that, unequivocally, as soon as my head gets "outside" the Play Box - i.e., I try to make a particular ball flight occur, or try to hit farther - that trouble arises. For example, you stand in your Think Box, and plan:

* My distance is 160 yards, wind slightly right-to-left. I'm hitting a full-out 7-iron, aimed at the left tree, with a little cut.

Once you step into the Play Box, there's nothing to visualize. You're just aligning your body, set up for the little cut, and hitting the club full. Nothing outside is a factor any longer. I'll give you a real-life example:

I was hitting a 4-iron to a very long, uphill par 3. I wasn't sure I could get it there, but I thought a full-out shot would work. I teed up, and as I was swinging down, I started thinking about making it try to fly far, and I toed it weak right. I dropped another ball (by myself, late evening) and said, "dummy, focus on impact." On that ball, everything stayed right at the ball, including my brain, and I laced a low riser dead straight that bounced up onto the green.

Of course, the swing itself was different, but that wasn't due to a swing flaw. It was a 'brain flaw' that got me out of my swing. Whatever you need to visualize, do it in the Think Box. Once you're in the Play Box, your setup has determined your flight, so you don't need to think about it. Not until you've done it for several swings, several holes or a whole round, can you appreciate what it's really like to 'get out of your own way' and just hit shots.

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I have the "Game before the Game", but wanted to get a comparison between this book and Dr. Bob Rotella's books...any thougths?

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I think a lot of mental books are all going to say similar things, it's just a matter of which one "speaks" to you the best. Any time you read a golf tip - be it mental or physical - and you're seeking that "one thing" to latch onto, I think you're going to end up confused. It has to be about reading information, compiling it and forming a mindset of your own. Given that, I think you should read as many as you can get your hands on.

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I'm going to jump in here as a big proponent of this philosophy. Admittedly, I haven't read other pure "mental golf" books, but I think this one is full of plenty of its own solid ideas. Two things, in particular:

In my opinion, it is a GREAT BOOK, and I have discussed the concepts with Lynn Marriott on the phone. The idea of FOCUS is important as we all know, and two practices assist in developing that:

1. HAVE A GAME PLAN for the round: do NOT just go out and "play golf". Take into consideration how you are playing and the layout of the course. I am a short hitter (227 to 232 yards carry with my driver), so I cannot get to some greens on long par 4's in two. Therefore, I make sure that I do NOT swing hard on my second shot, and try to put it in a place where I can get "up and in". Therefore, to score between 72 and 77, I need to avoid double bogies, and make a few birdies. 2. On my scorecard, I keep track of fairways hit, greens in regualtion, par saves, putts taken, etc. This way I am keeping my mind on my game, and if my putting is off, I know why---am I not lagging well or pulling short putts?

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I bought it recently.

It has a few tips I will try :

When on the range, play the course...do not be a ball scaper.
Hit the clubs you would hit on each hole:
Example :
Hole 1 = Driver, six iron
Hole 2 = Driver, 5 iron
etc

Do not constantly hit the same club many times.
Change clubs with each ball you hit.

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I have just finished reading the book. I like the concepts presented and am starting to apply them. I wanted to try the 54-Shot Challenge suggested almost at the end of the book.
I am having a hard time visualizing what it is that I'm supposed to do on #3:
"Turn a club around (maybe a 7-iron) and hit five lefty shots if you play from the right, or righty shots if you play from the left."

Anybody tried this?

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It's a good book well worth reading.

The "think box/play box" concept was pertinent to me since sometimes I try to figure out the line and speed of a putt while I'm setup over the ball.

I liked the parts about being more mindful while at the range, and the parts about how to relax yourself during a round.

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