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Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,415 ratings  ·  75 reviews
The best players know that golf is a game of confidence, and most important, concentration–the ability to focus and block out distraction. The goal of achieving clear thought is also at the heart of Buddhist teachings. In his highly original and groundbreaking book, noted PGA coach and Buddhist instructor, Dr. Joseph Parent, draws on this natural connection and teaches gol ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 14th 2002 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2002)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  1,415 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Dave Shapiro
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Zen Golf: Mastering the Inner Game by Joseph Parent

TITLE: Why a book about golf has value for all business leaders, regardless of whether they play golf or not!

Initially, I found my ego whining about the title of the book.... "Another, quick fix magic dust inner golf book". However, I picked it up because it kept popping back up in to my awareness.

Still a bit resistant, I began reading about the author, Joseph Parent. What I learned is that he is accomplished and acclaimed as a Sports Psycholog
Jan 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Best golf book I have ever read as far as improving your game.
Doc & Charly
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Yup, it’s all about your head…life and golf. Best golf instruction book ever. I will read this through again and again.
Robin Smith
Mar 12, 2019 rated it liked it
It's like The Inner Game of Tennis but for golfers. Lots of good ideas to help calm yourself and play better. Perhaps too many ideas for the average weekend golfer to assimilate and put into practice. ...more
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Amazing teachings and examples on how to apply valuable life lessons through the golf lens, particularly focused on the mental and composure aspect of it! Just bought three extra copies to gift to my friends :)
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I play disc golf and compete in PDGA (Pro. Disc Golf Assoc.) tournaments. I was a competitor in the 2011 pro world championships, where I achieved my goal of not finishing DFL (dead f'ing last)—but only barely. Though I've improved my game a lot over the years, I've struggled with my mental game. So before a big tournament last weekend, I gave the audiobook of Zen Golf, read by the author, a listen.

I loved this book, and I know I'll be re-reading (listening) many more times. It eloquently reinf
SERENITY NOW! nope, didn't help. ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some real good tips. I'm now a master. ...more
Maximilian Maslov
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Zen Golf Book Review
Zen Golf, Mastering the Mental Game by Dr. Joseph Parent, contains three main sections. Getting Started: A different Perspective, The PAR Approach: Preparation, Action, Response to Results and Following Through: A Game of Honor. Getting Started: A different Perspective, starts of with either a story, puzzle, riddle, quote and relates it to golf and Buddhism. The PAR approach: P stands for Preparation and talks about how to gain confidence by practicing the 3 c’s , Cla
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is all about the mental game of golf, specifically how you can apply mindfulness/Buddhist principles to golf. Not only did I find the many lessons in this book helpful for my golf game, but I found that they also applied to much more than just golf.

After reading this book I have found that I am much more comfortable out on the golf course because I know how to play within my own skillset and don’t have unrealistic expectations. I also know that golf, just like life, can have unpredicta
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Ever heard the expression, you are your own worst enemy? “Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game", by Joseph Parent tries to get you and yourself to be friends again. He does this by providing tools to encourage proper mindsets and strengthen one’s emotional intelligence. Nothing in the book is ground breaking or new, but rather good points packaged neatly together.
The ideas in this book lend themselves to anyone, and not just golfers. I liked how the author used stories and anecdotal tales to brin
Apr 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. While this book is a quick read as-is, I would have found it more useful if it further synthesized key lessons and drills, as I found only ~60% of the book interesting / relevant.

2. With that said, there are a few gems in here for actionable drills / tips to improve your golf game. I've saved those, and am sure I'll reference them from time to time.

3. While there are certainly lessons in golf that can be applied to life in general, Parent's attempt to combine the two messages dilutes the impa
Louis Saunders
Jan 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding practicle handbook to integrate Zen into sport as well as learning to play with more freedom.
-Unconditional Confidence - not tying your self worth to your results
- Avoid the Anyways - don't play shots with excuses
-Importance of a clear mental image of your shot - Trust your Swing
-Emptiness in Swing phase
-Slow-Mo walk up --> more deliberate process
- Find Stillness under the waves during a storm
-Trust and compassion with oneself
-Mark your bad habits and watch them decrease
Robert Schwab
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have played golf for over 45 years, and have achieved some success (handicap 11), that I would suggest establishes me as an above-average player. However, the mental game of golf has always been an enormous challenge for me, and I'm convinced keeps me from achieving my full potential. This book is full of wisdom and also offers a number of practical tips that I can't wait to put into practice. It's a quick read, short chapters allowing frequent pauses, and should be a part of any serious golfe ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a great little book! Having had some experience with meditation in the past, I can now see how the benefits one derives from a clear mind might bring some improvement to my game. It might also clean up my language on the course a little as I learn to let the bad shots go and focus on what's next, not what happened in the past. ...more
Chad Zimmermann
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First thing I did when I finished reading this book is wrote the letters PAR on my glove, so I’ll be reminded constantly of the teachings of this book. As someone who has always let my mental state get in the way on the course, despite previous experience in zen studies, this book has completely altered my mindset on the game.
carl whymark
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A real eye opener to our biggest golfing obstacle....ourself!

It's not mumbo jumbo or self help rubbish, its practical applications of the awareness of how our own minds get in the way of enjoying the great game of golf. I will read this over and over as there are so many useful tips on how to approach how you think about the game.
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone playing or learning to play golf. Contrary to other books on golf, Zen Golf beautifully captures psychological aspects of the game - how to prepare yourself mentally for the course. The author also draws parallels between the game of golf and meditation practices, which is a unique and interesting touch to the topic.
Fiona M.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ancient wisdom for a modern golfer

Very good at identifying the mental side of golf. As an established Buddhist but a beginning golfer, I could identify with the challenges and solutions.


Abra Smith
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
This book is short and easy to read with sound advice on the mental part of golf. As a person who's studied martial arts, I found this to be especially helpful. I believe the guidance will definitely be helpful to my golf game. ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who wants to learn more about the mental side of sports (not just golf) can learn a lot from this book and the lessons inside. I've used this as a reference for my coaching career on a regular basis. Well worth the read. ...more
Mike Dennisuk
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Inner Game

I loved this little book. It offers insights into the mindsets we create to limit ourselves in golf (and life) and mindful approaches to alter those mindsets. This is book I will read over and over.
Caroline Rainey
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent quick little book on the mental game of golf. Thoroughly enjoyed the deep connection to Buddhist principles. In fact, much of the book could be applied to life in general - the importance of living in the moment. Underlined sections on each page and will be revisiting them often.
David Preston
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zen golf didn't improve my golf. It improved my attitude towards my game and that improved my golf. Since reading, I enjoy every round so much more and as a byproduct my scores are lower. Principles that apply to life as well. ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great help!

This book I would recommend for low handicap players, great help to move from the low two digits to the middle one digit area.
Kerry Madgwick
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, always thought that golf was more about mindset and the meatla part of the game and this explaisn it all in easy to grasp concepts - useful for daily life not just golf!
Larry Minar
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I’ve read on golf. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to sharpen their mental game.
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I can't really review this book properly until I take the zen philosophy bs preached within and lay a sweet little 8 iron on the green like a nice robin egg.
Dan Knuth
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best to read before season. Although tailored specifically to golf, this book is helpful for all athletes.
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