Golf is at least as much a mental game as it is a physical one. That is part of why it is the greatest game there is!
If you’ve been out there on the driving range grinding on your golf swing and have neglected your mental approach to golf, now is the time to change that. Luckily for you we have made a list of the best golf books for the mental game in 2023!
The mental game of golf can make or break your performance on the course. To improve this part of your game, it’s important to read golf psychology books and learn from experts in the field, and then experiment with what you learn out on the golf course.
We will be discussing the top books on the mental side of golf. These books on the mental side of golf will teach you how to stay focused like Ben Hogan, manage emotions like Tiger Woods and build confidence like Rory McIlroy on the course. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced golfer, these books are sure to help you shoot lower scores.
(If you are like Jack Nicklaus and your mental game doesn’t need any help, check out our article on the best books on golf instruction to learn about books like Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book and Hogan’s Modern Fundamentals of Golf).
Best Golf Books For Mental Game in Alphabetical Order:
“Golf Flow” is a book written by Gio Valiante, a sport psychologist. It focuses on the mental and emotional aspects of golf, and how to develop a state of flow, or optimal performance, on the golf course.
We really enjoyed reading the tips on how to eliminate distractions, focus on the present moment, and develop a positive mindset. It also includes exercises and techniques for managing emotions, such as anxiety and anger, and building confidence.
The book includes real-life examples from professional golfers like Matt Kuchar, and provides tips and strategies to help golfers improve their mental game and achieve peak performance, known as golf flow. The main takeaway from this book for me was the importance of focusing on a very specific target on every shot.
Bob Rotella is a famous sports psychologist who has worked with many professional golfers. The book focuses on all facets of the mental game of golf and offers advice on how to improve your performance. This is one of our favorite golf books, period, but obviously it is geared toward the mental part of the game.
Rotella emphasizes the importance of having a positive attitude, staying focused, and maintaining confidence. He also provides tips on how to handle pressure and stay calm under stressful situations. The book aims to help golfers understand the mental side of the game and how to use their mind to improve their performance on the course.
Rotella advocates that you love your game and your talent more than anybody else’s. He also preaches to really focus your practice time on your short game. We have found that the best way to improve your approach is through the visualization techniques Dr. Rotella talks about in Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect.
“Putting Out Of Your Mind” is another book by Bob Rotella, sports psychologist to the Pros. The book focuses on putting and offers advice on how to improve your performance on the greens. Rotella emphasizes the importance of positive thinking, visualization, and self-talk.
Rotella also provides tips on how to handle pressure make the putts that really matter that will help lower your scores. The book includes real-life examples from professional golfers like Brad Faxon and Davis Love III, as well as exercises and drills to help you improve your putting.
The best thing about the book is the stories he tells about other players improving their putting through their mental approach.
“Extraordinary Golf” is a book by Fred Shoemaker, a golf instructor and performance coach. In this book, he provides a really new and fresh perspective on how to approach your game. I took a lot from this one. The book has kind of an Eastern philosophy type of vibe to it, a little bit like the great book, Zen Golf by Dr. Joseph Parent.
Next is a recap of one of the main points of the book.
Shoemaker says that all golfers bring with them to the course a “package”. In this package are three things:
- A commitment to looking good (hitting a good shot and not embarrassing yourself. The desire for others’ approval is so basic that most are not even aware of it.)
- Constant judgement about everything and everyone
- Always on the brink of being upset
Does this sound like a good package to bring with you to the tee? I don’t think so. It would be very difficult to play well with all of this bad thinking going on in your mind. So Shoemaker recommends doing this instead:
- Commit yourself to something other than looking good in front of others. This could be a commitment to making new friends, a commitment to enjoying yourself no matter what you shoot, a commitment to being present for every shot in the moment. Anything really. Just commit to something else besides caring about what others think about your game.
- Instead of constantly judging everything around you, try what Shoemaker calls “Extrospection”. Extrospection is the act of focusing your attention on real things on the course and not on your internal dialogue, and doing this calms your mind down.
- Start noticing everything about the course as you walk it or ride the cart. Look at the course with the eyes of an artist, not a mechanic. If you had to paint the horizon, you would notice the color of the leaves, all the little details. Start to pick up on those things as you play to get your attention outside of yourself. The typical golfer walks stiffly with their head down, mulling over the last shot, noticing very little. Be different.
- Being fully awake. Truly notice every little break your ball takes after you putt it. Look at it with a sense of curiosity.
These and many other helpful tips are littered throughout the book. Get it, read it and take your new outlook on golf psychology to the course.
This book by Bob Rotella was designed to be used as sort of a pocket manual that you could pick up anytime your game isn’t quite right. Say you just aren’t thinking properly on the course and want to fine tune your process, you could flip to any chapter in this book and there would be helpful tips for you.
It was not meant to be read straight through, but more as a reference guide. It’s like having your own personal golf psychologist with you at all times.
The average golfer as well as the serious golfer will benefit a ton from this great book. The best golfers in the world trust Dr. Rotella with their mental games. We should too!
“Every Shot Counts” is a book by Mark Broadie, a finance professor and golf statistician. This book isn’t your normal mental game book, but it is important for understanding which shots are most valuable to lowering your scores.
The book uses statistical analysis to provide a new perspective on the game of golf and offers advice on how to improve your performance. Broadie emphasizes the importance of understanding the relationship between different shots and how they affect your score. If you have heard of the “Strokes Gained” stats being talked about on golf broadcasts, that stat started with this book.
He also provides tips on how to make better decisions on the course by using data and statistics to identify your strengths and weaknesses. The book includes exercises and drills to help you improve your game.
“Make Your Next Shot Your Best Shot” is a book that helps you play better golf. This is the latest book from Bob Rotella. Anytime Rotella comes out with something new, you had better pay attention. It teaches you to think positively, visualize your shots and use encouraging words to yourself with positive self talk, which is a huge deal.
Rotella urges golfers to dream big and have a blast chasing their dreams. He says, “If you don’t have a dream, how can you have a dream come true?”.
This good book not only helps you stay calm and focused under pressure, it teaches you to thrive under the pressure. You will come away from this book craving a pressure packed situation so you can show off. It has fun tips and exercises to help you play your best when it matters most. This book can help you make your next golf shot the best one yet and shoot lower scores.
“Every Shot Must Have A Purpose” is a book that teaches people how to play golf and practice golf better. The book emphasizes having a goal in mind when you swing and to make sure your body and mind are working together. The mind-body connection is front and center for coach Pia Nilsson and Lyn Marriott. These types of things are what helped them coach Annika Sorrenstam in her prime. Sorrenstam reached levels that not many, if any, women golfers have ever reached.
The book gives you fun exercises to help you play better and have a better mental approach to playing. For example, the players box technique is very helpful for getting your mind on the shot at hand every time and avoiding the big miss. This book can help you become a better golfer, whether you are competing for major championships against PGA Tour pros or just playing a Saturday game at your country club.
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