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The Unstoppable Golfer: Trusting Your Mind & Your Short Game to Achieve Greatness
 
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The Unstoppable Golfer: Trusting Your Mind & Your Short Game to Achieve Greatness [Format Kindle]

Bob Rotella , Bob Cullen

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ONE


THE SHORT GAME AND WINNING GOLF

By learning how to get the ball up and down, you will have mastered the art of scoring your best.

—Tom Watson

Unstoppable golf and a great short game are inseparable. If I didn’t already know this, I could learn it every April at the Masters.

In the popular mind, Augusta National Golf Club may be a course that Bob Jones and Alister MacKenzie designed to favor the heroic long hitter, a Sam Snead when the Masters began or a Bubba Watson today. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with hitting the ball a long way, especially if a golfer hits it where he’s aiming. Only a fool would say he’d rather not drive the ball 330 yards into the middle of every fairway.

But I’ve seen lots of players who can drive the ball 330 yards and yet have never won a Masters, or even come close. Augusta National tests their short games and finds them wanting.

All the grass on and around Augusta’s greens is mowed closer than the hair on the head of a boot-camp marine. The greens are so quick that inexperienced players can and do putt right off of them. And the putts on the greens are not nearly as testing as the pitches around them. From grass so short that most golf clubs would be happy to call them putting surfaces, players have to hit pitches and lobs that fly precise distances at precise trajectories and then either check up or roll out, depending on the circumstances. Moreover, the grounds crew at Augusta generally mows so that the golfer has to chip and pitch into the grain of the grass, adding another layer of complexity for the elite player.

These conditions expose a lot of doubt and fear. No one gets invited to the Masters unless he is an accomplished player. But I have had Masters contestants come up to me in the days before the tournament begins and say, “No way am I getting in the hunt this week, Doc. I am not going to pitch the ball from around these greens on national television.”

That’s an extreme example of the debilitating fear that can infect a golfer’s short game. At other times, the effect is more subtle.

A young player I work with was thrilled one year to be invited to his first Masters. For the most part, he played very well, but he missed the cut by a stroke or two. One of his playing partners during the first two rounds sent me a message about my client. The message was: “He’s a good kid and a good player. But he needs to be able to hit a high, soft lob off a tight lie.”

The truth was, my young client could hit a high, soft lob off a tight lie. But when he got to the Masters for the first time, he felt a sudden flash of doubt when the need for that shot arose, as it inevitably did. Mentally, he wasn’t quite ready to play the short game that Augusta National demands. He played other kinds of shots in those situations, shots from a ball position closer to his right foot, so he could be confident of striking the ball cleanly. They probably looked quite decent to the average spectator, but these shots too often didn’t get him close enough to the hole to save par or make birdie.

Physically, he was ready to play in the Masters. He had the skills. But my client still had work to do to develop the mental side of his short game. He had, quite understandably, felt a little bit in awe of the Masters. That had caused him to start to feel that he had to be able to hit perfect shots to compete there. He forgot that on lots of very good golf courses, he’d won because he’d trusted his skills and let himself find a way to get the ball in the hole.

The player who wins at Augusta loves the way the course challenges his short game. He loves showing off his skills. He loves knowing that his short game will separate him from many of the other contestants.

Trevor Immelman, who won the Masters in 2008, is a perfect example. Trevor learned the short game very naturally, the way I would hope any kid would learn it. He has a brother, Mark, who’s nine years older and himself a very good golfer (and now the coach at Columbus State University in Georgia). Mark took up the game at fourteen, when he enrolled at a school called Hottentot Holland High School in the Immelmans’ hometown of Somerset West, South Africa. Trevor, who was five, tried desperately to keep up with Mark and his friends. Obviously, he couldn’t hit the ball as far as his older brother. Out of necessity, he learned to hit pitches close to the hole and to putt well.

The boys’ father, Johan, responded to his sons’ passion for golf by building a rudimentary putting green with a sand bunker in the family’s front yard. Neither Johan nor Mark had to force Trevor to use the green. Trevor’s competitive instincts got him started. He remembers that sometimes he would practice his chips, pitches, and putts for hours at a time. Sometimes he would do it in spurts, practicing for fifteen or twenty minutes, then going back inside the house and watching television. Eventually, he expanded his horizons, hitting pitches to the green from neighbors’ lawns. Some of them were a full wedge away and Trevor learned to hit over trees and walls. (Somerset West must have been a kind and tolerant community.)

He did not take a lot of formal lessons. Instead, he learned by watching better players, beginning with Mark. He asked questions. He started watching professionals on South Africa’s tour. Ernie Els, for example, showed Trevor how he used the bounce on his wedges.

In 1998, when he was eighteen, Trevor came to America and won the U.S. Public Links championship, which carried with it an invitation to the 1999 Masters. He remembers being dazzled and intimidated that year by the speed of the Augusta greens and their slopes. But right away, he felt confident about his pitching and chipping capabilities. Trevor also could see that the best players at the Masters knew where to put the ball on those complex greens. They gave themselves putts they could hit confidently.

When he returned to the Masters as a professional some years later, Trevor set about mastering the subtleties of those greens. His strong short game gave him an edge at Augusta, and he had a sixth-place finish to his credit when he returned for the Masters of 2008. But he was on almost no one’s short list of favorites. He had to deal with an additional irritant that year when his swing coach decided not to go to Augusta. I told Trevor that the same thing had happened to Tom Kite in 1992 at the U.S. Open in Pebble Beach. It hadn’t proven to be an insurmountable problem—Tom won.

“Let’s decide it’s going to help,” I said to Trevor. “Your job is to find a way to play great golf even if your coach doesn’t come. Just get into trusting your golf swing and playing golf.”

Trevor had, by then, developed a very smart game plan for playing Augusta, particularly the two pivotal par fives on the second nine, Nos. 13 and 15. The plan depended on his confidence with his wedges. Basically, he decided that on those two holes, he would try to reach the green in two shots only if he had a 4-iron or less for his second shot. Otherwise, he would lay up and rely on his short game.

The plan was more complicated than that, of course. The spot from which he wanted to hit his wedges to each hole varied with the possible hole locations. For some locations, he might want a high shot with lots of backspin that hit the green and spun back. That would dictate a lay-up to a certain yardage. For others, he might want a lower pitch that bounced once and then checked. That might dictate a different yardage or a different angle.

Not every player would, or could, formulate such a plan. As I’ve said, there are contestants at the Masters who fear and avoid the shots Trevor was putting into his game plan. But the history of the Masters, while it has its share of long hitters, also shows that the short game can be the key to success. Recent winners like Mike Weir and Zach Johnson were not overly long. Past champions like the Spaniards Seve Ballesteros and José Maria Olazábal were geniuses with their wedges. Tom Kite had always shown well at Augusta.

Trevor, I thought, had that kind of short game. More important, he had precisely the attitude toward his short game that I love to see in a player. It was an attitude that would help him regardless of the shot he was hitting. If a golfer has confidence in his short game—if he looks forward to opportunities to show it off on the golf world’s greatest stage—it helps him to accept calmly whatever happens on the course. It relaxes him. No shot, no mistake, is going to upset him. His short game is an emotional shield.

Knowing that, it was easy to help Trevor when I talked to him during that week. I simply reminded him to do the same things he always tried to do—stay focused on his targets, visualize his shots, commit to his routine, and accept completely whatever happened to the golf ball. They’re simple rules, Trevor says, but they’re not easy or simple to follow. It’s been my experience that tournament winners, even in major championships, more often than not are people who simply do those things. They stick to their normal routines and fundamentals while other players let the pressure of the moment persuade them to try something different.

I recall particularly one shot Trevor hit during that Masters. It came on Saturday at the 13th hole, a hole that Masters winners quite often birdie. Trevor drove the ball superbly all that week, but his tee shot on the 13th left him with more than a 4-iron to the green. So, true to his plan, he laid up to 80 yards. But he still intended to get his birdie.

The hole that day was cut in a small plateau on the back-left portion of the green. It’s a very demanding spot because the player has may...

Revue de presse

"I just won the tournament that is the biggest and the best in the world and I couldn't have done it without the help of Dr. Bob Rotella."
--Darren Clarke, The 2011 Open Champion


"When I made a triple bogey on the 15th hole in the final round of the 2011 PGA Championship, I felt that I could almost hear Dr. Bob talking to me, telling me to stay patient, to go through my process. I kept my composure, made a few birdies, and won the tournament. When I started working with Dr. Bob in 2010, I was struggling on the Nationwide Tour. With his help, I am now a multiple winner on the PGA Tour. It’s cool and fun to have Dr. Bob on my team. He has helped me in so many ways--not only to play better golf, but to enjoy the game.”
--Keegan Bradley

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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  62 commentaires
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Dr. Bob Conquers The Mental Short Game 30 mai 2012
Par David Donelson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I love the short game in golf. There's no question that striking a full shot is satisfying and momentarily rewarding, but quite frankly there's a certain sameness to it that fails to hold interest very long. The short game, though, is predicated on variety. Chips, pitches, bunker blasts, bump-and-runs, digging a ball out of the collar of rough a dozen feet from the pin--every shot is different, every shot makes you think, and every shot really, really counts. And then there is putting, which is the most nerve-wracking of all.

In The Unstoppable Golfer, Dr. Bob Rotella, golf psychologist to stars like Keegan Bradley, Padraig Harrington, and Darren Clarke, says, "...nearly all golfers have the physical ability required to pitch the ball, to chip it, to putt it. If we're not doing those things, It's because we're somehow stopping ourselves." In other words, we get in our own way.

Rotella says it's often fear that crowds our minds, pushing and shoving its way and calling out for negative images, contradictory swing thoughts, and herky-jerky responses. The solution? To achieve a state of calm by focusing on one thing: the hole.

He couldn't be more right, of course. If you focus on your target, visualize the ball getting there, and commit to a play based on belief in its success, you're more than half-way to a great short game. Rotella fills the book with stories of his students (patients?) who learned to quiet their minds and let their instincts lead them to better golf. He covers no swing mechanics, but does break down how your mind should work when faced with typical short game situations like pitch shots over hazards, getting up and down from a bunker, and lining up long putts to go in rather than just lag close. He has a special section on the "yips" in which he discounts the theory that there's some physical cause behind them but offers instead a solid, results-proven method to mentally overcome them.

The short game is the scoring game, according to nearly every golf guru I've ever talked to. You can drive the ball 340 yards, but if you can't get it in the hole, you can't put birdies and pars on your scorecard. Dr. Bob's book will help.
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 It's all about the short game 25 avril 2012
Par UNLV Golf - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
Simple straight forward Rotella, visualize the good shot and keep burning it to memory. Determine your Mindset, be realistic in assessing your Skill level, and commit to an Attitude overhaul. Take the 80/20 rule to the course and realize that if you play every shot as stroke play and not match play you will "stay in the moment and acheive greatness." Have a game plan for every competitive round you play and learn to underreact. A quick read and very valuable as a re energizer for when you need to get your head on track, you know those 6 six inches between the ears. You can't make up for the missed 3 footer, so commit to work hard and practice your short game - putting is the ultimate equalizer.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Good book on attitude 31 décembre 2012
Par Michel Gascon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Answers the question about what is the best attitude to have to be succès full golfer. You should but it
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great golf book 15 avril 2014
Par Efren - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Definitely helped me in understanding how not to think in golf. Stay confident own the course and don't over think a shot. Since I've read this book I have been focusing on my short game, practicing to go unconscious on every swing. I have seen improvements on my ball striking and consistency.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Who couldn't profit from a better short game? 4 janvier 2013
Par Arthur Lebowitz - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
If you have followed golf in the United States at all, the name, Bob Rotella, should be familiar. He has helped many golfers with the mental approach to this most humbling game. I am a life long golfer, still questing a better game, and, like many, continue taking lessons that focus on the full swing. Dr. Rotella's thesis, changing one's priority to the short game, is a refreshing change.
He makes the case, with ample examples from his stable of both well known golfers and hackers, that a better short game leads to better scores. Now that may seem obvious, but his twist is that KNOWING you have a reliable short game frees you from the self imposed pressure and anxiety to execute 'perfect' full shots. Since the best professionals do not hit more than 13 of 18 greens, and still break par, it follows that their short game is the foundation for lower scores. He illustrates his point with clear examples of before and after performances when golfers increased their confidence and proficiency in the short game.
I know which area of practice I will now focus more on. Thanks, Bob
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