With golf self-help books comprising the majority of the titles to have ever been published relating to the greatest game, it is difficult to produce an original work in the field. That being said, with Mistake-Free Golf, recently published by St. Martin’s Press, Dr. Robert Winters may just have penned one of the most original to come along in quite a while.
One of the best-known quotes in the world of golf is the great amateur champion Bob Jones’s observation that “Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course – the space between your ears.”, and it is this quote, in a forward by Golf Channel personality Rich Lerner, that opens Mistake-Free Golf. Even when it is only pride or self-satisfaction that is on the line, not a trophy or vast sums of money, golf can be a very competitive game, and one in which the player’s chief competition is him/herself.
The proactive nature of golf lies at the heart of the problem – the fact that, unlike tennis or baseball, or many other sports in which a ball comes hurtling toward the payer, who must then take action on it, in golf, nothing happens until the player makes it happen. The ball rests there upon a tee, or on the fairway (if we’re lucky), or in sand or deep grass, and the player must formulate a response to that passive-aggressive little orb – which challenges you by just sitting there and doing nothing – and then, of their own volition, carry out their plan. Therein lies the heart of the great difficulty of the game, from a psychological standpoint.
All manner of possible outcomes proceed from the act of swinging a golf club at a golf ball – and only a small percentage of them are in the least bit coincident with the desired result. Another great quote relating to this aspect of the game comes, indirectly, from sportswriter and World Golf Hall of Fame member Dan Jenkins, who put the following words in the mouth of a character in one of his novels: “The game’s ninety percent mental once you know how to grip the club.”
The time it takes to stand over a golf ball, contemplating the next shot, is time enough for all manner of negative thoughts to creep into a golfer’s mind. What Dr. Winters has done in Mistake-Free Golf is address such thoughts as “Hurry up and hit, people are waiting!” and “What if I screw up with people watching?”, or “What if this shot ends up in the hazard?” in a series of chapters which deals specifically with the general classifications under which those fears can be grouped, giving examples of where they have impacted other golfers’ games, and offering a path beyond the trouble they can bring.
Drawing on his years of experience working with golfers at all levels of the game, from recreational golfers to top professionals such as Michelle Wie, Justin Rose, Suzann Pettersen, and Greg Norman, Dr. Winters shows the reader how to recognize the negative thoughts that are holding them back in their pursuit of the best golf that they can play, and presents them with tools to combat those thoughts. For the player who has found that this aspect of their golf experience is their biggest challenge, Mistake-Free Golf may be just the solution they are seeking.
Mistake-Free Golf is available in hardback and e-book versions from major retailers.