Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game
Zen Golf, a book by Dr. Joseph Parent is an excellent collection of strategies and exercises to keep your mind in check on the course and shoot lower scores.Read full review
Pros and Cons
- Well respected author
- Strategies require patience and discipline
All GolfersMy favorite feature:
There are tons of simple, actionable exercises in this book that you can take to your next round and benefit from immediately.
Table of Contents
Full Review: Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game
This book is a great introduction to a practice called "mindfulness" applied to golf. Mindfulness is very similar to meditation, which is a more common phrase thrown around these days. When you read Dr. Parent's book, you will begin to understand how to manage your emotions, and play your best golf.
Have you ever been on the tee box of a tight driving hole, worried about the o.b. right and the water left? If you said no to this, I would love to get your autograph and sign as your tour agent. If you are human, this type of thought will always have the potential to surface during a round of golf. Dr. Parent does a great job giving you thoughts and exercises that will help to tame these intrusive thoughts.
The book is split up into three parts.
This section of the book will take you through various topics about how your attitude and perspective sets you up for success or failure before you ever step foot on a golf course.
This first part is more about you as a person, and how well you fare in the areas of learning, open-mindedness, criticism, confidence, and awareness of thoughts.
Even if you are not a golfer, this part of Dr. Parent's book could greatly impact how successful you are in life. In my opinion, the first part is an extension of the author's studies with meditation and mindfulness, a practice I have talked about on this blog.
Broken up into the following three categories, the PAR approach is the core of the book and goes into many of the common mental problems that a golfer will face throughout a round. It focuses on the importance of having solid routines before, during, and after a golf round.
If you struggle with anything listed below, this section is for you.
- Do you have a small, decisive target on every shot you hit?
- Could you tell me your pre-shot routine without thinking about it?
- Do you ever hit a shot even though you had the wrong club?
- Do you fear o.b. stakes and ponds?
- Do you visualize in your pre-shot routine?
This is the "performance" portion of the book.
It goes through several mental techniques you can implement while standing over the golf ball. No, you won't get a "magical" swing thought that will cure your hook or slice forever, but Dr. Parent has several useful strategies to get your game from the range to the course.
For example, when your mind is spinning on a tee box, toss the ball into the air 5 times in a row, focusing on the ball as it travels through the air and the feeling it makes when it hits your hand. This will calm your nerves by redirecting your attention to something more productive than those "What if I slice it into the woods" thoughts that ruin our games!
Often an overlooked part of the game, but your reaction to hitting a ball in a pond is critical to developing confidence in golf. Do you get mad, emotionally attached, or fed up with your game when the ball goes in the water? Well, you might need to read this section.
A short closing section of the book that reflects on a few stories about mindfulness and the "way of the warrior". You can watch Dr. Parent speak in the video below.
About the author: Zach Gollwitzer
Hey, I‘m Zach, the founder of The DIY Golfer! I created this site while playing D1 collegiate golf with a simple mission—I wanted to learn the golf swing and get better at golf myself.
Fast forward a few years, and my “journal“, The DIY Golfer, has been viewed by millions of golfers worldwide looking to do the same with their games. my mission is to make golfers more consistent in just a few hours a week through advanced practice strategies and timeless, first-principle golf instruction.