- Paperback: 386 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (January 25, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1507723172
- ISBN-13: 978-1507723173
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 213 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Practice Manual: The Ultimate Guide for Golfers Paperback – January 25, 2015
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"It's a fantastic book. If you are someone who practices, you need to get this book. If you are a golf professional, you need to get this book. If you want to get better, you need to get this book."
About the Author
Working at some of the World's leading golf academies, and with thousands of hours of teaching experience to elite players and rank beginners, Adam has a very unique perspective on learning the greatest game ever - Golf. Owner of a popular Golf blog (www.AdamYoungGolf.com), Adam teaches more about the learning processes, taking inspiration from the latest research into motor learning. Adam’s writing is popular with both teachers and players of this game.
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Longer version :
If you're like me, you've spent a lot of time on ranges and practice greens, trying to improve, working with instructors, and just generally spending a lot of time hitting balls. If you're still like me, you probably HAVE improved, but feel like you could have used your time more wisely, or you've circled back too often onto things you should have already "mastered". You're probably even working on some of the same issues you were working on two years ago. This book is for you.
The strength of the book is that his main ideas of what makes a good golf shot are simple and he never loses sight of them as he moves through the book. What are the main ideas. . .
1) Hit the ball in the center of the face, not too near the toe or heel.
2) Strike the ground in the right place, not too fat nor thin.
3) Make sure the clubface and path are correct (he demands that you understand the ball flight laws. If you're not willing to do that, don't read this golf book)
4) Faster club head makes the ball go further. Duh.
5) Finally, angle of attack and dynamic loft.
He spends less time on those final two ideas.
The key point he stresses is this (I quote verbatim), "'What' we achieve at impact is far more important than 'how' we achieve it. Ultimately, form should be changed only if it produces better function. Form changes should not be made to simply look more like a model, or to achieve some kind of pretty symmetrical look."
I don't want to misrepresent him. He believes that swing flaws need to be addressed through instruction. He's an instructor himself, so he's not poo-poo'ing instruction; he's just giving the reader a lot of things to focus on to help the reader improve.
Basically, after outlining WHAT the reader should be trying to achieve, he spends the rest of the book explaining the means to go about getting it. And, believe me, this book is not for someone looking for a shortcut.
This is about going out and making sure you're hitting the center of the face to a certain degree of precision (based on handicap level)
You got that?
Good. Now, start working on hitting the ground in the right place a significant amount of the time.
Start working on getting your club path and face right.
You got all that? Move on to the next level and tighten the parameters on every one of those things.
At no point does he talk about what to do with ball position, grip, posture, etc. He seems to be of the opinion that you'll figure a lot of those things out on your own in your process of practicing impact.
In addition to drills and techniques to measure these things (he also gives parameters for improvement based on handicap level), he presents a very interesting look at the mental game of golf. He breaks "swing thoughts" down into 5 categories. . .
-Internal (an idea like "keep your left arm straight" or "head still" or "shift weight")
-External process. I'd say, "what you do with the club." (an idea like "hit the ground in the right place")
-External result. I'd say, "what you do with the ball." (an idea like "draw the ball" or "flight the ball low")
-Neutral. (an idea like "1 2 3 go" or a breathing exercise while you're hitting)
-Transcendental. (essentially no thoughts at all).
He offers the strengths and weaknesses of each, but more importantly, and this is a key idea concerning everything in the book: EXPERIMENT WITH THEM AND SEE WHICH WORKS BEST FOR YOU, on the range and the course.
So, I think that's enough to give you an idea of what the book is about and the author's focus. I'm not going to explain in a page what he uses 400 pages to do. He has a lot of other fun/interesting/useful ideas in the book that I've already implemented in my practice. E.g. as he mentions, you don't play golf from perfect lines off flat surfaces, so get good at adapting and being athletic. . .do a Happy Gilmore swing. Do a swing where you start by hovering the club a foot above the ball. Try a claw grip for full swing. Try a cross-handed grip. Etc etc.
Cons: he's somewhat wordy and repetitive about his ideas. I kept wanting to get to sections on practice and it felt like, "you're harping on this again?" He has a section on the process of change where he comes up with an acronym (SIPFATS) to help you remember the process. It almost seemed unnecessary in light of the other yardsticks and techniques he offers.
In summary, I don't know if the book is going to drop my handicap or if it will be THE LAST GOLF BOOK I'LL EVER NEED!!! but for a guy who feels like he's put in a lot of work, and could use a jolt to get off the current plateau, I feel like I'm all of a sudden armed with a whole new box of tools to do that.
For now, 8/10. Get back to me in a year. I could find it utterly useless, but if I had to guess, I think it's more likely I'd move the book into the 9+ range. I think it's going to prove to be quite useful.
One final thought if anyone has made it this far: I think this would be an excellent book for instructors to read. I've liked the instructors best in my life who have talked about contact, and ball direction more prominently than swing positions (I had a guy once who, when I asked him about my foot alignment, said, "you don't hit the ball with your feet". Sure, he talked about footwork a little, but something like lining your feet up right. . .wasn't meaningful to him).
If you are a golfer that wants to improve, this book is a game changer! It might very well be the most important golf book you'll ever read. Here's why: for every 1,000 golf instruction books, articles, and videos, 999 involve the technical aspects of the swing (e.g. swing on plane, grip, hip turn) and 1 involves something else--course management, how to think about golf (think Bob Rotella), but statistically ZERO involve the most important topic-- HOW TO LEARN AND PRACTICE GOLF. If you've been in the golf world, you know that most player's handicaps go up not down, and most players don't make positive changes to their golf game, even after spending a lot of money on lessons.
FINALLY, an instructor is addressing the HOW to learn and practice and not the WHAT to learn and practice. Even if all this book does for you is introduce you to the concept of thinking about HOW to learn and practice, it'll be worth a hundred times what you paid for it. We serious golfers have seen it over and over: The instructor tells a student something she or he already knows (start the downswing with your hips, don't come over the top, post up on your front leg, shift your weight forward on the downswing ...) and then the instructor gives the student, that just ponied up $150 for an hour, a few drills to work on ... and then the student tries to implement the change ... but then a while later, the student reverts right back to their old habits and the only thing that changes is that the student wasted a lot of time and money. It is really sad. I know, I've been there; and I think it drives a lot of people out the game.
SO... BUY THIS BOOK! And do what Adam Young says! Stop wasting your time! Make those changes! I tell you: if you are, let's say, a 15 handicapper, and trying to get down to single digits, this book could save you years and thousands of dollars.
I COULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS BOOK MORE FOR ANYONE THAT WANTS TO IMPROVE THEIR GOLF GAME AND DO SO AS EFFICIENTLY AS POSSIBLE.
The obvious response to my review is, if it's so great, why did you give it 4 stars and not 5? Here's why: I have never seen a book in more desperate need of a heavy handed story editor, copy editor and proofreader than this book. This book is cumbersome, unorganized, full of syntax errors, typographical errors, run-ons, and any other type of editing issue you can imagine. It's 400 pages and it should be 250, tops. I don't blame Adam Young for this, necessarily. He's obviously a smart guy and a dedicated golf instructor who is trying to do more than the usual regurgitation of swing fundamentals. My sincere hope is that Mr. Young will take the proceeds of the sale of this first edition (which I hope are high) and hire a story and copy editor and have this book properly edited and published. It's a gem, and needs to be polished.
The good news regarding the unfortunate lack of editing is that it will have little effect on you golfers that need this book (other than a few eye rolls and sighs). This book could be written in crayon, and it will still change your life as a golfer dramatically.
So, bravo Adam Young. Your students and the readers of this book are in your debt as they watch their handicaps drop.
The downside of this book is the writing. The book desperately (!) needs a strong edit. I believe it went from the author's computer to the press without any editing whatsoever. On balance, though, if you can forgive the misspellings, horrific grammar, run-on sentences, poor word choices, and frankly, a few non-words that pop up here and there, it really is worth the read.