Play Your Best Golf Now Book Review

imagePlay Your Best Golf Now: Discover VISION54’s 8 Essential Playing Skills

by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott
Grade: B+
Teacher’s Comments: A nice addition to Nilsson and Marriott’s library of Vision 54 books, but I think I’d need to attend one of their clinics to fully understand and appreciate it.

Vision 54 comes from the notion that golf’s Perfect Game (18 birds) is within reach, and that it’s the mental game, rather then the physical, that bars the way. You and I, of course, will never shoot a 54, but Pia and Lynn’s vision actually is less about the magic number than … well … playing your best golf now.

Play Your Best Golf Now actually is the third volume in the authors’ Vision 54 series, following Every Shot Must Have A Purpose and The Game Before The Game. All three books have focused on the mental game—on integrating cerebral, emotional and social disciplines with the physical skills taught by the vast majority of golf coaches.

In Play Your Best, the authors focus on what they call the Eight Essential Playing Skills:
1) Leave Your Mind Behind and enter the Play Box
2) Decide and Commit to your shots
3) Find Your Balance both physically and mentally
4) Feel Your Tempo on the course and dance to its rhythm
5) Tame Tension to improve your swing
6) Build Emotional Resilience
7) Store Memories and learn from the past to make a better present
8) Drown Self-Talk In Useful Thoughts

For each of these, they offer anecdotes from players who have committed to the system, explanations of key points and practice exercises. At the end of each chapter, there’s a checklist to determine if—after you’ve done the exercises—you’ve become “functional” in that skill, or “masterful.”

There are eight skills, but Nilsson and Marriott emphasize the first above all: Leave your mind behind and enter the play box. The concept is that a golfer must have a “Think Box” and a “Play Box.” In the Think Box, the golfer can analyze and intellectualize, but the Play Box is all about commitment and engagement.

Nilsson and Marriott claim great success with both professionals and amateurs with their books, clinics and personal coaching. The endorsements they’ve received—from top pros including Annika Sorenstam and Grace Park, and from teaching pros, golf executives and researchers—seem to back them up. But for me the jury is still out. It’s just to early to tell whether the application of their principles will help my own game. I intend to try to put them to use this summer, but I’m honestly not I’ve got a firm grasp on the whole concept. Perhaps I need another read or two of the book. I suspect, however, that I’d really need to attend one of their clinics to feel the full impact.

I wonder when they’re coming to Michigan.

Recommended. But you’re going to need to work at it.

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