Book Summary: Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect by Bob Rotella

Quick Summary: Dr. Bob Rotella, a sports psychologist, explores the importance of adopting the right mindset in golf in his book Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect (1995). Some players put in a lot of effort to perfect their mechanics, but they eventually get stuck and stop improving. Rotella explains that whether practicing or competing, mechanics should never be the primary focus. Confidence is essential, and it outperforms mechanics every time.

You do not have to read the entire book if you don’t have time. This book summary provides an overview of everything you can learn from it.

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Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect Book Summary

The Right Mindset

Dr. Bob Rotella always starts by asking his patients about their dreams: their goals and aspirations. He wants to know what drives them throughout the day – their emotional fuel. He believes that in order to be a great golfer, you must have big dreams. Bob collaborated with Tom Kite, a multiple-time US Open champion. Tom was successful because he never gave up on his dreams. In golf, success is determined by the players’ mindset and mental abilities rather than their physical abilities.

Nick Price was an excellent golfer, but he had yet to win a major championship. He approached Bob, who explained that he was letting his first two holes dictate how he would play the rest of the round. This is a common issue among golfers, but Bob believes that anyone can change their way of thinking. You must be able to control your thoughts in order to achieve success. Sometimes just picturing the ball hitting the target is enough.

Trusting Your Skills

Even the most skilled players face challenges, which are usually the result of a lack of self-confidence. They become overly concerned with their mechanics. The key is to train and to have faith. Thinking about mechanics while playing will only make you worse. When training, you must only consider your mechanics. You should trust your swing once you feel confident in it. When you play, concentrate on hitting the target. Only during training should you attempt to improve your mechanics.

In any sport, you must have faith in your mechanics. Stuart Anderson, a Washington Redskins player, was confident in his high school basketball mechanics. He hit his shots 50% of the time. He missed every single shot he took one day. However, he persuaded the coach to give him the ball on the final shot, which he made. Most people would have been discouraged, but he knew that every shot he missed increased his chances of hitting the next one. He was confident in his statistics and knew he was more likely to hit the final shot than miss it.

When golfers are on a roll and hitting every shot, they frequently say it feels effortless. A hot streak is built on faith. During a hot streak, no golfer thinks about mechanics. You shouldn’t wait for a couple of good shots to trust yourself; you should start with that mindset.

When the Scots invented golf, they were not preoccupied with mechanics. However, in the 1940s, Americans began to focus on the mechanics of the game and turned teaching golf into a business. People frequently believe that successful players are meticulously monitoring their mechanics at all times, but this is not the case. You just do what feels right once you’ve mastered the sport. Today, the psychology of golf is more powerful than ever, and it is critical to be unconsciously competent.

Strategy on the Course

On the golf course, you should only concentrate on one thing: your target. This objective is not always the same. The majority of golfers do not aim for the flag. The goal should be to keep the target as small as possible. The smaller the target, the more focused you will be. Choosing a target on a golf course can be difficult, and it is easier to concentrate on elevated objects, such as trees. When selecting a tree, try to focus your attention on a specific branch. The course’s undulations can be confusing, so something more distinctive will work better. If you look at something other than your intended target before swinging, you will almost certainly miss. It is critical to practice visualizing the target.

A good preshot routine is another important factor that leads to consistency. The best golfers have developed a set of movements and thoughts that they always repeat before swinging. This routine entails selecting the appropriate club, approaching the ball, and selecting a target. Then comes the crucial part: eliminating any doubt about your club, target, or anything else. You can’t swing unless you get rid of your doubts.

The routine then moves on to practice swings, which differ greatly between players. You must adopt the appropriate stance, which is also a variable. With practice, this step should become second nature, and you should be able to naturally fall into your ideal stance.

The short game is the first area that golfers learn, and it is critical to developing confidence. Every golfer should be comfortable hitting shots from 120 yards and in. You should spend roughly 70% of your time practicing your short game. You will then be able to refine and master your full swings.

Putting is another important aspect of golf. A good putter requires more mental skill than physical skill. Most golfers begin as excellent putters but eventually lose confidence. It is also critical to develop a putting routine. Begin by studying the putt. Once read, you must commit; you should never second-guess your initial read. Overreading is also detrimental. Try to be decisive rather than necessarily correct. The key, as always, is confidence.

Then comes visualization and selecting a target, and variables enter the equation. There are uphill and downhill putts, as well as different speeds to choose from. The only mechanical point to remember is to always look at the putt from exactly over the ball.

Thought Process While Playing

The ability to brush off bad shots is a significant difference between good and great golfers. Most good golfers are pleased with their training results but perform poorly in tournaments. This is due to their inability to brush off failures. It is critical to train yourself to focus solely on the current shot. You can’t dwell on a previous missed shot. You can’t expect to never make a mistake, and you should accept and celebrate your failures.

Confidence is essential, and it can be developed by anyone. It all starts with convincing yourself that the ball will always hit the target. That is all you should consider while playing. You’ll always miss shots, but you should be able to keep your cool.

The ability to control your memory is a powerful trick you should learn. This boosts your self-esteem. When you’re about to take a shot, think about all the times you’ve hit the target, not all the times you’ve missed it.

Brad Faxon, a skilled professional golfer, developed a phobia of drivers. He would be convinced that the ball would not hit the target if he had a driver in his hand. Fear causes golfers to swing cautiously rather than freely, which always results in disaster. The driver is one of the most difficult clubs to master. However, once Brad began visualizing the ball hitting the target, he began to improve and gradually overcame his fear. It took some time, but he eventually got the hang of it.

Seve Ballesteros began playing golf as a child. When he was playing, he would make up scenarios, experiment, and let his imagination run wild. His attention was always drawn to the ball, never to the swing. However, when he approached Bob for assistance, he hadn’t won anything in a year. He had begun to view golf as a chore. He was never looking forward to the next swing and was always eager to finish. This was because he had begun to concentrate on the game’s mechanics. He wanted to win the US Open and believed that perfecting his swing was essential. This alteration had a negative impact on his approach and attitude toward golf. Bob told him to return to the old Seve, and he eventually found his way back to the European golf leaders.

One of the best ways to approach a swing is to select one that you know you can achieve. This will boost your confidence and ensure a daring swing. You should also select a safe club where you will feel comfortable. This will allow you to swing without hesitation.

A game plan, like any other sport, is essential. Before you begin playing, you must always examine the course and devise a strategy. On a crucial game day, this ensures minimal analysis and improvisation. Your strategy must be tailored to your abilities, confidence, and preferred approach. You must believe it is the correct plan, and you must adhere to it.

Playing Under Pressure

Many players learn golf as a recreational activity, so pressure is not a factor in their game. Serious players, on the other hand, must learn to thrive under pressure. The majority of competitors were disappointed with their performance in their first competition. You must learn to accept your nervousness. It’s not just sweaty, shaky hands that help you focus; it’s also a rush of adrenaline. It is critical not to feel defeated when you miss a shot due to pressure. Instead, try to figure out what went wrong.

Don’t be distracted by the scoreboard. When you start surrounding your next shot with scores, you become immediately distracted, and the target is no longer your sole focus. Most professionals do not keep score; neither at home nor in tournaments. If your score motivates you, you should be able to keep track of it without making it the sole focus of your planning and strategizing.

A golfer must have the mindset that other players are not the true competition. You’re attempting to master the course as well as your own performance on it. Other players should be irrelevant. Regardless of whether or not you win, your goal should be to do your best. Most great professionals share advice and strategies with one another.

Practice and Commitment

Practice is essential, as is the proper attitude. When something goes wrong and you go to practice, you should not be thinking about improving your mechanics. This will only harm your golfing strategy. The quantity of hours you practice is less important than the quality of your practice. You must adopt a trusting mindset rather than a training mindset. This means being patient and willing to let things happen. You should not be too hard on yourself, but you should strive for improvement.

The final important aspect of golf is dedication. You should devote yourself to the sport, but in a healthy way. Your life should be balanced, and you should never devote all of your time to achieving a single goal. Finally, golf is one of the few sports that can truly help you live a happy and stress-free life. Golf is a difficult sport, but it is also relaxing and enjoyable. It is a sport that can teach you about the most intimate aspects of yourself.

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Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect Review

Dr. Bob Rotella shares numerous stories from his patients, who also happen to be some of the most successful golfers. His tone is friendly and encouraging, but his lack of explanation of golf terminology and techniques may make the book inaccessible to non-players. It’s also a little disorganized.

About The Author

Dr. Bob Rotella is a well-known sports psychologist. He has spent most of his life playing golf and has worked with many successful golfers, including Tom Kite and Nick Price. Bob Cullen, a collaborator, assisted with the writing.

Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect Quotes

“A person with great dreams can achieve great things. “


“Tom had a dream and he never stopped chasing it. “


“The first mental principle a golfer must learn is that a person with great dreams can achieve great things. A person with small dreams or without the confidence to pursue his or her dreams has consigned himself or herself to a life of frustration and mediocrity. “


“The author met with Pat Cisneros, who was a professional golfer. She had won five tournaments in the year after their visit, and she was looking for a new dream. She had always dreamed of playing at Augusta National, and she was an Olympian. “


“Golfing potential depends on a player’s attitude. It’s based on how well he plays with the wedges and the putter, as well as how well he thinks. It’s difficult to judge a player’s golfing potential by simply looking at him, because it depends on how well he plays with the wedges and the putter. “

View our larger collection of the best Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect quotes. 

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