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Lessons in Breaking Out of Your Slump, in Golf and in Life
on June 5, 2009
According to some sources, there are between 50 to 61 million golfers in the world. In the United States, there are as many as 37 million. Each and every one of those golfers, professionals included, have had, or will have, a slump. Where they used to be able to play really well, they may find that they lost their ability to drive the ball well, their putting stroke may have left them, or they have lost all touch around the greens. Once able to count on nice drives, they now have no idea where their ball will land. Able to sink long and short putts, they now rely on getting the ball as close to the hole as possible, so that they have some chance of sinking the putt. Golf slumps afflict everyone that plays the game, some so severe that people may give up the game from frustration. Or they spend even more time at the range, trying to work themselves out of their slump. But what they should do is pick up a copy of Breaking the Slump: How Great Players Survived Their Darkest Moments in Golf--and What You Can Learn from Them, by Jimmy Roberts, and learn from a range of professional and amateur golfers. Not since Harvey Penick's Little Red Book has there been a more worthwhile book on golf.
Contents: Introduction; Paul Azinger; Jack Nicklaus; Scott Verplank; David Duval; Dan Jansen; Justin Rose; Greg Norman; Phil Mickelson; Ben Crenshaw; Johnny Miller; Davis Love III; Justin Leonard; George H. W. Bush; Arnold Palmer; Dottie Pepper; Tom Watson; Steve Stricker; Hal Sutton; Epilogue; Acknowledgements
Jimmy Roberts, a golf analyst and reporter for ABC, ESPN, and, most recently, NBC, leverages his access to some of the most popular golfers in the world to write an excellent book on the most common malaise in golf, The Slump. It is something that unites all golfers, professional and amateur alike, and one that is difficult to watch (especially if you are witnessing it from your couch on a Sunday afternoon) and from which to recover. Each chapter is a mini-biography of a particular golfer (former President George H.W. Bush and speedskater Dan Jansen are the only amateurs profiled) and a lesson in how they were able to overcome some of the worst times in their golfing careers. That he is able to get these individuals to talk openly about the unpleasant events in their lives is a testament to Roberts' skills as an interviewer. The result is that the reader feels a connection with each subject, as we can all share memories of bad rounds, bad shots, bad personal events. Each chapter leaves you with a thought on overcoming the bumps in your golf game or in life. Some of the chapters are difficult to read, as some of the stories are part of common knowledge; Who could forget Dan Jansen's trials at the 1988 Calgary Olympics when he was informed of his sister's death hours before he was to race in the 500 meter? Or Phil Mickelson trying to play golf after the near death of his wife, during the birth of their son Evan? However, in each instance, the individual was able to find the strength to go on and return to greatness. It is in those moments when you discover something about yourself and in this book, Roberts provides the reader with the lessons from each golfer.
While you will find this book in the "Sports" section of your local library or bookstore, it should also appear in the "Self Help" area. The lessons revealed are as applicable to golf as they are to life. One of the overriding themes in each chapter is confidence. Many of the selected individuals talk how important confidence is to the golf game. Without that, everything, including your rounds of golf, will suffer. Simple, and yet effective. While each of the subjects has the means to employ the best swing doctors, sports psychologists, and coaches in the game, amateurs will get the benefit of the simple lessons in this book; "Don't try so hard," "Slow down, what's your hurry?," "The next shot will be the good one." Lessons for golf, to be sure, but also thoughts on how to live life.