by Dave Stockton
Teachers’ Comments: Own Your Game is really more of a framework than a complete house. But it’s a solid framework on which to improve your game.
I once read a study that showed the typical golfer rapidly improves his or her game for the first three to five years, and then reaches a plateau. After that, improvement comes only with a significant commitment to improvement that most can’t make.
There’s another avenue to game improvement, though: improving your mental game.It’s a theme that I’ve pursued with my own book, The Five Inch Course: Thinking Your Way To Better Golf. And it’s a theme which Major Championship winner Dave Stockton follows in his “Own Your Game.”
Own Your Game is a slim volume, weighing in at just 115 pages of actual advice. Further, those pages are long on concept and short on specifics. But the concept is dead on.
Stockton urges players to rethink every aspect of their games. He discusses the primacy of the mental game over the physical; how to play under pressure; how to learn; how to evaluate your game, and how to plot your on-course strategies. Other topics addressed in the book are playing for business and growing the game.
None of these areas are addressed in particular depth. Indeed, any one could be the basis of a book on its own. Stockton, however, has a knack for being inspirational. After reading the book, I felt a distinct determination to follow Stockton’s lead.
I felt that Stockton’s advice on evaluating your own game particularly useful. He urges you to start with recording basics, such as fairways and greens hit. Your percentages on those, Stockton says “are a good overall barometer of how you’re hitting full shots.” He also urges keeping short game basics such as up-and-down percentage from 30 yards and in. Keeping stats such as these will help you to become more aware of how you play. If you understand your tendencies, you will be able to make more rational decisions on the course.
In the dust jacket blurb, it’s suggested that Own Your Game “re-creates the experience of riding eighteen holes with [Stockton] at one of his highly popular corporate outings.” Based on the contents of the book, I desperately want to participate in one of those outings.
Until then, a quick read through this volume surely is second best.