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Fearless Golf: Conquering the Mental Game Hardcover – May 3, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


I have had the privilege of getting to know Gio as a friend and a teacher on the PGA Tour. He is the next superstar in sports psychology!”
—Davis Love III, eighteen-time PGA Tour Champion

“After six months of playing below my expectations, I began working with Dr. Valiante. He recognized my problems immediately due to his vast research on the PGA Tour with players such as Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. In my first two events under Gio’s guidance, I was a new player! I was playing with confidence and purpose! The results speak for themselves. If you are trying to become a better golfer, I highly recommend that you take this book to heart.”
—Justin Leonard, eight-time PGA Tour winner, 1997 British Open Champion

“What makes Gio great is his immense knowledge, but what sets him apart from others is the amount of passion he has for the great game of golf.”
—“Young Gun” Charles Howell III, PGA Tour winner

“This splendid book is an invaluable and illuminating guide for golfers at whatever level they play.”
—Albert Bandura, David Star Jordan Professor of Psychology, Stanford University

“Dr. Valiante’s insights about golf are right on track! He has found a way to embed my personal experience as a PGA Tour golfer with what all golfers go through, and to rediscover the timeless universals in golf, namely that great golf is a process of continual learning, and the importance of pursing that learning in a manner that is FEARLESS!"
—David Toms, ten-time PGA Tour winner, 2001 PGA Champion

From the Inside Flap

A detailed plan for conquering the FEAR that sabotages swings and ruins psyches, from the pioneering psychologist whose techniques have benefited Davis Love III, Justin Leonard, and numerous other world-class golfers.

As Jack Nicklaus once observed, fear is the golfer's greatest enemy, inspiring Tiger Woods to "refuse" to give in to this debilitating emotion. It can turn professionals into jelly and dominate the games of most amateurs. It alters swing paths, causes "tap-in" putts to go awry, and transforms a golfer from a brilliant shot-maker on the practice range into an incompetent hack on the course.
Most golfers understand this, but do not have the tools to overcome it. That's where Dr. Gio Valiante comes in. A pioneering sports psychologist, Valiante has studied the sources of an athlete's fear, investigated the physiological and neurological impact of fear on performance, and, most important of all, developed a groundbreaking program for conquering it. With Valiante's help and by applying Fearless Golf, Justin Leonard went from three consecutive missed cuts to three consecutive top tens, and Chad Campbell recently moved from 98th in the world to 7th. Davis Love III went from zero wins in 2002 to four wins in 2003, and Chris DiMarco made the 2004 Ryder Cup Team.
Emphasizing the need to replace a fixation-on-results with a commitment to mastery of one's body and one's mind, Valiante's approach will not only help golfers reach their true potential, it will make playing every round fun again. Through concrete confidence and mastery drills, he presents specific ways readers can break free of fear's grasp and perform at their best--even under the most extreme pressure.
With detailed quotes and anecdotes given exclusively to Dr. Valiante from the best players in the game--including Jack Nicklaus, Ernie Els, and other tour professionals, "Fearless Golf is the ultimate guide to the mental game, the hottest topic in golf today.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385511922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385511926
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The problem with Fearless Golf by Dr. Gio Valiante is that he really has very little to say. There are, basically, only two ideas put forth in this book. (1) Golfers motivated by a desire to master the sport tend to perform better than those whose motivation is to impress other people. (2) People who possess high self-confidence in their skills tend to perform better than those who don't. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Fearless Golf is primarily an exercise in how many slightly different ways, and how many times, it's possible to say those two things. Valiante spends tedious amounts of time in the book's middle discussing how having "mastery golf" attributes is better than not having them (I'm talking 150 pages here, folks), to the point we want to scream, "Okay, we get it! Move ON." It's not until Chapter 4, page 198, that he begins talking about how to improve, how to get from "don't have" to "have". Even then, his advice could be summed up as, "Change, because that would be good." There are no specific exercises, no step-by-step progression put forth.

Understand, I'm not saying the ideas in this book are bad. They're not. It's just that the text is extremely padded, resulting in a slow, boring read. There are five chapters, an introduction and an epilogue in Fearless Golf. If you were editing this book, you could include the Introduction entire, take Chapter 1, cut it in half, skip ahead to Chapter 4, cut it in half, keep most of Chapter 5, lose everything else, and when you were done you'd have a taut, peppy 50-page essay giving you everything of substance in the 275-page Fearless Golf.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I know that sounds like ridiculous hype, but it's true.

I swear I'm not the author's brother, cousin, agent or employee. I am a weekend golfer - not even every weekend. I live up north so only play 4 or 5 months out of the year. I've consistently scored 103 to 107 per round over the past 4-5 years.

At the driving range, I hit the vast majority of my shots right down the middle, or at least well enough so that they'd be in play 90% of the time. It's when I get out on the course that it all falls apart. So I knew my technique was okay... it had to be a mental problem. I was thinking of seeing a sports hypnotist but couldn't find one and besides, I just don't play that much golf - maybe about 9 holes a week - and didn't want to invest the time or money.

So I went online to see if I could find a book that would address my problem and found Fearless Golf. There is no technique in book, so if your swing or putting stinks, look elsewhere. This book is all about what's going on inside your head. For me it was a bullseye.

When I first started reading it, I was a little defensive; I'M not fearful... I'M not afraid. But as I went though the book, I realized that I was and just didn't realize it. I was afraid of going with what works... I was holding back and sabotaging myself. I was "afraid" of posting yet another lousy score, "afraid" of losing another $10 bet, "afraid" of wasting my valuable time on another awful round. , etc., etc. This book helped me figure that out and get things straight. Why do I golf? Why don't I trust my swing like I do at the range? Why do my bad shots turn in to more bad shots?
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Format: Hardcover
valiante takes golf psychology to a new level with this book. whereas rotella's message is very anectodal and breaks down to something like "equipment and your swing don't matter, stop trying to be perfect and accept things more," valiante's message has more a lot more depth. he acknowlegdes the importance of a good swing and the right equipment and his message is well grounded in psychological research. although breaking his message down to a few points is no easy task (as a matter of fact, he goes out of his way at the end to say it's really up to the individual to frame a message in their own context), it would be something like:

- don't attempt to try and control emotions by pretending they don't exist and that you're not nervous, rather condition yourself to respond productively when these feelings arise;
- focus on things you can control such as preparing properly, developing a plan for the course and the target for your next shot, rather than things you can't control such as what other players are shooting or the weather;
- practise makes permanent rather perfect, so be realistic about what it is you need to work on to get better and how accurately your practise routine reflects these items;
- strive to maintain a light grip, because when the nerves tense up you will lose feelings in your outer extremities and without realizing it, you will grip the club much tighter and hit poor shots as a result.

there are other important elements of this book that from someone else's perspective might be prioritized differently (consistent with the notion of what's key for each individual), but these are the keys for me. clearly, the principles laid out in this book transcend golf and provide a framework for success in life.
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