Most helpful critical review
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not the book I expected it to be
on May 27, 2003
For me, the book was a huge disappointment. Despite the zen-like, poetic title, there is nothing artistic or inspirational about this book's writing style, and the little bits of instruction scattered among the author's self-congratulatory anecdotes have by now become absolute common knowledge -- as fundamental as a book on how to carry your golf bag. Most of the advice is along the lines of picture the shot you want to hit, pick out a target and hit your ball to it, don't dwell on bad shots, hit each shot with a fresh mind, clear your mind of swing mechanics while on the course, etc.
The book was written in 1995, so justifications can be made for its style and lack of innovation. Perhaps these ideas have just been so thoroughly accepted into the mainstream that in hindsight they seem obvious. Perhaps sports psychology was such a bizarre notion in 1995, that Rotella felt compelled to continually hammer us with how "ordinary" his advice is and how accepted it is among his PGA friends. Regardless of what the book was in the 90's, to the 21st century buyer, it is singularly un-useful. One copy each of Golf Digest and Golf Magazine will give you the same tips on the mental approach and will be far more entertaining to boot.
The most wearisome aspect of the book is author Rotella's incessant name-dropping of famous clients, friends and associates. Rotella seems more intent on telling you how successful and right HE is than on how to improve your own thinking and ultimately your golf game. Anecdotes have a place in instruction books, certainly; but they need to be entertaining and informative. Very little of this book is really entertaining, and the copious anecdotes tend to simply support the underlying theme that the author has befriended golf's elite.
In a typical example, Rotella opens Nick Price's eyes with the flabbergasting revelation that when things go wrong on the course, Nick could envision things going right, rather than getting down on himself. Rotella closes the tale by saying, "After listening to this for awhile, Nick said, 'If I had known this was what you were going to talk about, I would have come to see you a long time ago.'
'Why didn't you?' I asked.
'I was afraid you'd be into something weird. I didn't realize it would be this logical and sensible.'
Rotella spends most of the first three chapters convincing you that he is logical and sensible, and dropping as many names as he can to support his claim. The entire experience reads like a pitch to a publisher or the inside flap of a dust cover more than a book on how to improve my own mental approach to golf. Similar "me" stories continue to pop up throughout the book, drawing your attention away from any few helpful tips and brings that attention back squarely onto the author, which appears to be where Rotella really wants it.