Holiday Book Review: Play Your Best Mental Golf

Ever heard the saying that golf is “10% physical and 90% mental”? I don’t know if that’s completely accurate or not, but clearly, what goes on in your head during a round of golf can have as much to do with your score as anything happening in your swing.

Play Your Best Golf Now is a new book from Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott that’s focused on helping you play to your potential by improving your mental golf game.

Vision 54 (vs 72strokes)

Nilsson and Marriott may not be well known to your buddies in your foursome, but they are well known in professional golf. They are both Golf Digest top 50 teachers and are the Golf Digest #1 and #2 Women Teachers, respectively.

They’ve worked with players that have won more than 100 times on professional tours around the world, including 5 major championships. They clearly know a thing or two about harnessing someone’s full potential.

8 Essential Playing Skills:

    Leave your mind behind
    Decide and commit
    Find your balance
    Feel your tempo and dance to its rhythm
    Tame tension
    Build emotional resilience
    Store memories
    Drown self-talk in useful thoughts

2 Essential Practice Skills:

    Simulate golf
    Integrate skills

The meat of the book boils down to the “8 Essential Playing Skills” and “2 Essential Practice Skills.” And the great thing about them is that you don’t have to be a great golfer to benefit from them.

The essential skills remain the same regardless of the skill level of the golfer (although my guess is that most really good golfers have stumbled across at least a few of these skills and incorporated them already). Nilsson and Marriott recognize that not everybody is going to be a scratch golfer. But that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to improve your game and shoot better scores by making sure your head is in the right place, both on the course and the practice tee.

This book is a masterclass on the mental side of golf. Over the course of years, you might pick up these skills and really do something great with your game. Or you might not and you’d end up struggling to put the pieces together every time you walked onto the tee box. Play Your Best Golf Now is basically a road map that will save you lots of time and effort in learning how to get your head in right spot during a round of golf and make the most of your (probably too limited) practice time.

Each chapter discusses a skill concept, provides examples, and then gives exercises that you can use to develop your mastery of the skill. The book is an easy read and while it won’t take you long to get through the 170-odd pages the first time, you’ll likely be coming back to it again and again as you focus on improving your essential skill levels.

I’ll also just throw out there that while Play Your Best Golf Now is certainly a golf focused book, many of the skills could be applied to other areas of your life as well.

Play Your Best Golf Now by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott is available now. I highly recommend it to anybody looking to take their game to the next level.

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