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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stockton Scores Again

Wouldn't you like to have a playing lesson with Dave Stockton? After all, the man won 25 times on the PGA and Senior Tours, including five majors and is known as one of the best teachers in the game--just ask Phil Mickelson, Annika Sorenstam, and Rory McIlroy! You may not be able to spend the day with him on the lesson tee or at a corporate outing, but you can pick his brain by reading his latest book, Own Your Game: How To Use Your Mind To Play Winning Golf.

Stockton uses anecdotes from his five-decade career to illustrate memorable points about the things that make a golfer successful--and none of them include taking the proper grip! Instead, he deals with the territory between your ears where the game is actually played. Topics like concentration, confidence, and composure get the full Stockton treatment, complete with helpful practical tips on how to develop them.

I found Stockton's words about visualizing the shot before you hit it to be particularly insightful. He says,
"The art of visualization is picturing in your head exactly what you want to happen and then letting your body go on a kind of autopilot and produce what you see."
Don't stand behind the ball and imagine a 320-yard drive splitting the fairway, he continues.  Instead, make your mind see the shot you normally hit--a good one, but realistic. If you have a ten-yard slice, visualize the ball doing that in the air and figure out where you have to aim to make it end up in the fairway where you want it. It's all about playing the game you have--and enjoying it.

Own Your Game is short and highly readable. It's also a small volume, so you could easily stuff it into your golf bag for a little helpful reading while you're waiting on the tee for the idiots in the group ahead to take six practice swings and chunk the ball another thirty yards down the rough.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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