Golf Practice Book Review: “The Game Before The Game”

Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson – the internationally respected complete game golf coaches for the likes of LPGA greats Annika Sorenstam, Suzanne Pettersen and Ai Miyazoto – have produced a book that fills a much needed gap in golf practice.

They directly address the problem of how to make practice more effective and more fun, using tour proven “holistic practice” techniques with 30 minute exercises for each one. In order to maximize your return on the time you invest in practice, Lynn and Pia make a compelling case for ensuring that every session has a definite and pre-determined purpose:

To be productive, practice has to be more than something you do – it has to be something you are engaged in. It is not just mindlessly hitting golf balls. We practice to achieve something specific, and we set goals to give focus to practice.

The first section of the book divides Golf Practice into three essential areas: Warm-Up, Preparation, and Maintenance. Each of these has a different focus – and each of the exercises provided has a complementary specific purpose.

Warm-Up focuses on not just warming up but listening to your body and creating confidence for the round ahead. A 30-minute session is provided with a number of activities that are designed to enhance balance, awareness and reconnect with all aspects of your game.

Maintenance is about keeping your well oiled golf machine running, ensuring your game doesn’t drift between rounds. It’s a mix of building on strengths, creating consistency and improving weaknesses. Exercises here focus on maintaining aim, tempo, commitment and distance feel

Preparation practice is about getting ready to play now and in the future. Simulation is a key to breaking down the walls between practice and play and integrating new skills into your game. Its about being process-focused and choosing a specific purpose to achieve your goals.

The next section of the book goes much deeper into the foundations of golfing performance, beginning with the body, ending with the mind and journeying though the mind-body connection on the way, It provides a comprehensive and soundly based study of topics such as: balance, tempo, creativity, focus, how to practice while you play…and how practice leads to mastery.

The final chapters bring these foundation parts together by linking them back to three key elements – physical fitness, mental fitness and passion for the game.

With this book, Lynn & Pia provide a golf practice book unlike most others and challenge some of the more orthdox and almost brute-force 10,000 hours of practice approach. Their “Vision 54” approach recognises whole of your game – Physical, Technical, Mental, Emotional and Social. There is some fresh and insigthful thinking here which will help many golfers out of the rut they may be stuck in with their practice routines.

This book definitely achieves what it sets out to do – put the fun back into practice, and is a must for any golfers library.