After a long and successful career on the PGA and Champions Tours that included eleven PGA Tour victories, five major championship wins, and fourteen Champions tour titles, Dave Stockton turned golf “guru”, and has for many years been renowned for his straightforward, commonsense approach to golf instruction. Specializing in the short game, Dave, along with his sons Dave Jr. and Ron, have helped thousands of golfers, from weekend duffers to PGA and LPGA Tour pros, discover (or rediscover) their feel for play around the green, especially putting.
In his latest book, Own Your Game, Dave expands his scope to the whole game, offering a sound, easy-to-understand approach to playing the game of golf, with sensible guidelines for minimizing stress on the course, how to approach lessons and learn the game better, how to evaluate your own performance on the course, and much more.
What I like about Dave’s teaching approach, as exemplified in “Own your Game”, is the down-to-earth manner in which he presents it. There is no soul-searching, no Eastern mysticism – just honest, easy-to-understand advice that is as well-suited to the recreational golfer as it is to the professional golfer who is concerned with making their living on the course. His advice on managing your game, both emotionally (Chapter 3, “How To Play Under Pressure”) and from a course-management point of view (Chapter 7, “The Essentials Of Strategy”), is both straightforward and easy to understand, and is certain to be helpful to golfers at all skill levels.
My favorite chapters in Own Your Game are the last two, “How To Play For Business” and “How To Share The Game”. What Dave shares in these final chapters is advice about two of the greatest traditional aspects of the game of golf.
As Dave points out in “How To Play For Business”, golf is unique among sports activities in the qualities that make it suitable for social interaction. There’s lots of relatively quiet time for conversations with your playing companions, either in a cart or walking down the fairway, so the game presents a great opportunity to get to know a person better, not to mention giving a snapshot into the person’s character and temperament. The chapter is not just about evaluating a potential client or business partner on the golf course (or on the flip side, making a good impression yourself); it’s also about how to handle your game, and demeanor, during golf outings, where being thrown into a foursome of strangers is a real possibility.
In the final chapter “How To Share The Game”, Dave offers wisdom, born of years of experience, on passing your love of the game along to others, whether it’s your own children or an adult friend who is taking up the game. This is probably the greatest tradition of the game of golf, and the spur behind any number of the great programs that exist today whose aim is to spread the game, and the spirit of the game to new players of whatever age.
There is an abundance, and probably an overabundance, of instructional and “How To” books in the golf section of your local bookstore or library, but if you were to winnow them down to the real cream of the crop, Dave Stockton’s Own Your Game would definitely make the cut.
Own Your Game is available from major retailers, and direct from Dave Stockton’s website at http://shop.davestockton.com/books/ .