Best Instructional Books on the Mental Side of Golf

Personally, we're not into mind games and mental tricks on the golf course. But, then, maybe that's why we don't score better than we do! All we know is that many of the best golfers in the world employ "mental coaches" (otherwise known as sports psychologists) to help them with their games and with golf psychology. If you think you might derive some benefit from access to the same mental tricks and tips that the pros employ, these books might be just what you need.

As Dave Pelz is to modern short game instructors, so Dr. Bob Rotella is to the modern mental golf gurus. Rotella is the "golf psychologist" of choice for many touring pros, and recreational golfers buy his books in droves. From Amazon.com: "Through anecdote and aphorism he suggests how ... mental and emotional hazards can be played through, and, regardless of skill level, how teeing off with a more positive and confident outlook will translate into better performance."

This is one of the most famous instructional golf books of any kind, and certainly the most influential book yet written about the mental game in golf.

Written by Gary Wiren, one of the top teaching pros, this book is a brief (under 100 pages), straightfoward discussion of the benefits of taking the right mental approach.

The full title is Golf's Mental Hazards: Overcome Them and Put an End to the Self-Destructive Round. And, boy, do so many of us need to put an end to the self-destructive round.

Written by mental coach Dr. Gio Valiante along with veteran golf journalist Mike Stachura. Valiante, along with Rotella and Joseph Parent, has become one of the top "mental game gurus" in golf. Fear is the golfer's greatest enemy, and Valiante sets out to help us overcome our fears on the golf course.

The full title is The 8 Traits Of Champion Golfers: How To Develop The Mental Game Of A Pro. Which pretty much tells you all you need to know about what you'll find in this book. It has a very good reputation among those who've read it.

Well, someone had to bring "Zen" into golf, and Dr. Joseph Parent is the guy to do it with this popular book. The book jacket includes a blurb from Vijay Singh, who claims that he keeps the book in his golf bag. Chapter titles include "How to Enjoy a Bad Round of Golf." If you need to get rid of those negative thoughts, Parent says getting Zen is a way to do it.

Author Stan Luker was a businessman who made up his mind to use his mind on the golf course. The result is this book. "Simple" is the key word. The book is just over 100 pages in length. It's straightforward and it doesn't rely on psychobabble so much as common sense approaches to golf's mental challenges.

By Joseph Parent with a foreward by Tom Watson, and subtitled, 100 Classic Golf Tips. The Wall Street Journal said of this book, "Offers short, deceptively simple nuggets of wisdom on fear, confidence, visualization, tempo and other topics, each illustrated with lovely historic drawings by Anthony Ravielli."

We'll end it the way we began it: with a book by Bob Rotella. This one focuses on putting and the mental approach and attitude shared by great putters. David Duval, Davis Love III and Brad Faxon all contributed.