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4.6 out of 5 stars
Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game
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108 of 113 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What's the point of golf? What are we trying to achieve while we're out there? Simply put, the point is to get the ball in the cup as quickly as possible and enjoy the process. I played a round early this summer, had an awful time, came off the course stressed and feeling bad about my behavior. I was literally hyperventalating over putts. Turns out I scored well. So something was amiss, right? This book has me enjoying the game again. Zen Golf is not a deep and difficult treatise of the deeper meaning of life and golf. It is closer to an instruction manual on how to play better golf and enjoy the game more. It addresses concepts like trust, confidence and positive thinking. I now enjoy those 3-iron punch shots out of the trees. I'm learning to enjoy those 5-footers. Every shot is an opportunity and there's no need for fear or negativity. My "evil caddie" seldom comes around, and when he does, I know what to do. This is simply the best golf book I've ever read.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As an avid, yet struggling golfer I was ready for just about anything that could improve my game, including a lobotomy. Zen Golf was not only straight forward, but incredibly useful. Shortly after reading the book, I went out and "trusting" my swing not only hit a lot of great shots, but actually began having fun again. I enjoyed myself so much that I scheduled a full day lesson with Dr. Parent. Talk about a book brought to life. He was wonderful. Not only was he full of insight and stress relieving approaches, but he was really fun to play with. In the last year or so, I have been shooting a lot of 80's and even some 90's. Employing Dr. Parent's concepts I shot 77 AND had a fun time. I don't dread golf anymore. I highly recommend the book to every golfer looking to play to their full potential and take the hernia out of the game. For those luckier still, I recommend a lesson with Dr. Parent. If you are struggling with your game, either take up tennis or get this book.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The one time I had a perfect (for me) round of golf I noticed that the game seemed extremely simple. The rest of the time, I wonder how it can be so complicated to try and reproduce that simplicity. Zen golf gets to the root of this and offers a path there, and the opportunity to have that round at any time.
Joseph Parent's advice applies to all levels of golfers and is a guide to consistent and reproduceable results. It is one of those rare books on golf that doesn't fill your head with things to consider while you play, it does the opposite by showing you how to clear your head and in doing so clear away the obstacles that prevent us and our bodies from naturally performing the way we are capable of. I expect that the short time it took me to read this book will have a long-lasting effect on the way I will play golf from now on, and I am in the process of reading it for a second time.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
When I worked as the golf professional on Holland America's ms Westerdam, I told our guests that I saw the game of golf as four-dimensional: attitude, set-up, swing and course management. And I don't care if you are a tour player or a beginner, the very first thing that you take out of your bag had better be a good attitude, or you lose.

In "Zen Golf", Dr. Parent takes the game a giant step forward. He suggests that you never do or say anything on the golf course that you wouldn't do in front of your five year old daughter. What on earth does this have to do with improving your swing and game in general? Everything! Since I'm a golf instructor, not a preacher or counselor, I'll not even try to outline the many physical and mental keys that are presented in this book that'll help your game and home life after the game. I'll just say, "Buy it!"
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because it had a quote from V J Singh on the cover. Singh endorses this book. Singh has been concentrating on the mental side of the golf game. For the amateur golfer, the first thing to do is groove a swing, and develop short-game skills. After that, there are dozens of sports psychology books waiting for you. I have read about 10 of them, and most of them gave me the same feeling, as if I was reading the same thing over and over. This book was a bit different. I felt that the tips were very basic, but a couple of them have really helped me on the course. They have probably helped me more than anything else that I have read. I would say that there were about 6 very good tips/thoughts in this book. And probably 2 of them will stay with me for the rest of my life.
One lesson helps you for when you hit a bad shot. Usually, I would get upset, and my mood probably wouldn't get better until the next time I hit a really nice shot. This book teaches you a very simple method which has helped me to not get upset on the course.
One note: to be honest, I don't think that the book has directly helped me hit the ball closer to the pin, or to play smarter. However, it has helped me enjoy each shot more, and I definitely do not get upset on the course, anymore.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed reading Dr. Parent's book. It's quick reading, but not lightweight if you take the time to consider the lessons in the words. I'm a relative newcomer to golf and I think I have done well to improve my game in each of the four years I've been playing. A big part of this has been my outlook on the game and the ability to manage the inevitable bad shots that come as a starting golfer.

The lessons presented in this book are great for golf, but they can also be applied to other areas of life. If you don't worry about the results, but are mentally prepared to handle the outcome then you are a leg up on most people. Worry can be crippling on or off the golf course. (Note: this does not mean that you don't care about the results. There's a big difference in not worrying and not caring.)

I've read books by both Dr. Parent and Dr. Bob Rotella. Although both focus on the mental aspect of the game, I find the Zen Golf by Dr. Parent to be more practical. He gives specific examples and exercises that you can perform to make the Zen discipline a part of your practice and your game. That's not to knock Dr. Rotella - I've gotten good use of his books, too. I just find the Zen Golf to be a little more guided in helping you to seek the mental clarity that golf demands.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've played golf for 40 years and have had a 10 hcp for most of that time. This book is the best I've seen. I think most golfers would agree that the game is 80 to 90 percent mental, and this book addresses that 80-90%. It almost totally ignores the physical aspects, which might bother some golfers, but my results have been have been amazing. My scores for the last 2 months have been in the low 70's. I don't even think about the mechanics of the swing anymore. The principles are very easy to understand and implement. I would recommend this book for any level of golfer.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Finally, after reading hundreds of books and attending numerous golf schools, I have found instruction on how to manage my golf game and play with the game I have. Dr. Parents "Zen Golf" is a guide to the meditative aspects of golf, in fact he offers step by step instuction to begin meditation and work it into your golf game. Anyone who has ever meditated and played golf sees golf as "meditation in action": What's Tiger Woods advantage over the field of PGA golfers? Mind control he has gained trough years of meditation practice guided by his mother (from Thailand). Dr. Parents shows us how to "be" on the golf course to increase enjoyment and lower scores, but more importantly to play with honor and dignity regardless of the outcome that day.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I read Zen Golf and immediately thought that this was THE best book on how to improve your golf game and how you enjoy it. The book is NOT how to create the perfect golf swing. It is all about the mental side of the game and how you can improve your results by improving the way you think. Shortly after reading the book, I realized that reading it only once and expecting to achieve the intended results was simply not enough. The book must be read multiple times, use a hi-liter to mark the passages you want to improve on. There are so many wonderful mental suggestions that it is almost impossible to pick them all up the first time you read the book. I thought so much of the book, I purchased the book on CDs. I have read the book three times and listened to the CD's twice and will continue to read and listen until I have a clear picture of exactly what I want to accomplish. Since I only play on weekends, the time between rounds/practice tends to dull the lessons learned if you read it only once. Once is simply not enough! I know of no other book on golf I would recommend more. The principles also apply to life in general and sales specifically. The similarities between golf and sales are incredible!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First let me apologize for the lengthy letter. I get a bit wordy.
>
> I have been an avid golfer since the early '70's. My Dad ran a golf league
> until his passing in 1995. Losing my "golfing buddy" I lost interest in
> the game and have not played since.
>
> A few months ago, a friend of mine, mentioned that they would like to learn the
> game and asked if I could teach her. Her decision has sparked new interest
> for me so I decided to start playing again. I used to be a 12 handicap and
> would like to eventually get back to that level of playing.
>
> Unfortunately, I am the type that suffers from the 'glass being half
> empty' syndrome. For many reasons (that I won't get into), I have a
> negative attitude about things and anger easily. I have been athletic all
> my life and did very well in sports. Most sports came naturally to me,
> except golf, where I had to work hard at it just to become decent. Maybe
> that's why I am drawn to the game.
>
> Playing years ago, I put a lot of pressure on myself and when I didn't do
> well I would get upset and sometimes throw clubs. My Dad used to tell me
> to stay calm and relax since the attitude would definitely effect my next
> and future shots. But like most young people, we think we know more than
> everyone else and although his advice made sense, I could never keep my
> cool. And yes, my next shots were bad and I would get madder and on and on
> and on.
>
> As I am now 53, I have calmed a bit but still get upset over stupid things
> (especially in daily life) and although I don't throw clubs anymore, I do
> get down on myself when I don't hit the ball or score well. I try to teach
> my friend about staying positive and maintaining a good attitude, but I
> sometimes do not set the right example.
>
> When I practice at golf, I strive hard to have the "right" swing. In golf,
> I read articles on technique and what to do and what NOT to do. I try
> different grips, stances and swings. Sometimes these changes work for
> awhile and sometimes they don't. But I keep trying. I have had the
> pleasure in the sports that I have played to experience "being in the
> zone". It's a great feeling (as you know). In bowling, I feel that I could
> throw between my legs and still get a strike. In basketball, I could close
> my eyes and swish the basket and in golf, I feel as if I could hit the
> ball with the back of the club and put a 150 yard shot 5 feet from the
> pin. You can do no wrong. Then there are times that I can't hit the ball
> 50 yards. I get the "shanks" and feel as if it's the first time picking up
> a club. I don't know if it's technique or mental or whatever, but I
> literally lose the swing completely.
>
> But I keep trying and changing things, usually to no avail. Then while
> watching the Golf Channel I saw a program on the 10 worst swings in golf.
> These people had horrible swings (for pros) but yet they make it work for
> them. My swing is far from horrible but I then decided to keep what I have
> and work with it. I also decided to look into the mental aspect of the
> game.
>
> I have always known that golf is a hugely mental game (hence the "zone")
> but never read or learned anything about it. So, while researching items
> on the Internet, I stumbled across Zen Golf. I went into the reading with
> an open mind and was fascinated on the part of visualization. Although
> this is common sense (to me), I have never applied it. Another part about
> not letting your thoughts interfere with you was also helpful. I remember
> about a month ago, I had a badly bruised rib. Every time I swung the club,
> I experienced intense pain. I was forced to slow my tempo down. Guess
> what? I hit the ball fantastically, long and straight. One, because I
> slowed my tempo down and two, because the only thought I had was my rib.
> No thinking about head down, arm straight, follow through, that last bad
> shot, etc. My thoughts were primarily clear and didn't interfere with me.
> I know this isn't exactly what you are teaching, but so far this is a
> pre-Zen example of mine that I can relate to.
>
> But more importantly, the visualization technique. I went to the course
> today and applied this principle. Before every shot, I visualized what I
> wanted and/or visualized the smoothness of a great swing or feeling of
> being in the zone. It worked, especially on the first hole when you are
> not loose and everyone is watching. It's a 185 yard par 3 and I was going
> to hit a hybrid and swing very easy but I took my 5 iron and trusted my
> swing and visualized what I wanted. Bam! It hit just a couple yards right
> of the green. But I hit it, on the sweet spot, exactly the way I
> visualized it
>
> I used the techniques all day and it worked beautifully! I shot 7 strokes
> better than ever on that course! Usually on the middle holes, I start to
> loose my swing (like always) and I'm usually a goner for the rest of the
> round. This time, I started to lose the swing, but I kept my composure,
> accepted it and it only lasted two holes and then I came back like
> gangbusters. I consistently was hitting long irons smooth, straight and
> long! Never did that before so consistently. My putting was very good
> also. If I missed a lengthy putt, it was missed by only about a foot.
> Incredible! The 18th hole was a 155 yards, into the wind, par 3. I trusted
> my 7 iron and visualized a smooth and straight shot. Stuck it 7 feet from
> the pin.
>
> So I will work with the swing I have (making minor changes at times) and
> be happy and accept it. I will also apply the book's principles and hopefully
> someday I will break 80(82 is my best) and may even get into
> single digit handicaps.
>
>I will re-read/study, this book, many times after I finish reading it the first time. Oh, did I forget to
> mention. I am only on page 60!
>
>
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