Following last week’s Masters Tournament meltdown by Jordan Spieth I thought it would be an appropriate time to post my book review of Don’t Choke – A Champion’s Guide to Winning Under Pressure, by Gary Player.
About Gary Player
First, let’s do a little quick history about Gary Player, which will show us that the man knows what he’s talking about.
From Johannesburg, South Africa, Gary Player won a total of nine major championships in golf, fourth all time. He is one of the few players to hold all four major championship trophies, known as the “Grand Slam.” Not even Arnold Palmer achieved this. Mind you, Gary’s success was during a time when some of the game’s greatest players were at their best, like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Seve Ballesteros, and more. Player won 18 majors counting the nine he won on the Champions (Senior) Tour. Gary Player knows how to win.
Player has carried his winning ways to the business world, running a successful golf course design company which has built hundreds of golf courses. Other areas Player has excelled in include real estate, marketing, and fitness. Perhaps best of all is the 30+ years Player has put into giving back through charity work and the Player Foundation, whose mission is to “provide quality education for underprivileged children and strengthen impoverished communities plagued by disease and crime.”
Gary takes us through a quick tour of his major golf championships in sequential fashion. He covers his preparation, lessons learned, mistakes made, and how to parlay all of those experiences into building up the don’t choke mentality. Though golf is how Gary tells the reader how to succeed, but the book is not necessarily about golf.
Most Positive Golfer EVER
Gary Player must be the most energetic and positive golfer to ever grace our planet. He’s so passionate about success and being positive. He always has something positive to say, and shares his valuable knowledge of success. You can feel his energy. It’s vibrant.
Gary always looks at the positive in situations. If there’s a fairway left and a lake to the right, Gary would tell you to focus on the positive telling yourself, “I’m going to split that wide fairway.” He would not recommend you focus on the lake by telling yourself “don’t go on the lake.” This is what makes the title of the book a little ironic to me. Saying “Don’t Choke” is like focusing on the lake instead of the fairway. Of course, the title is an attention grabber, so I get it.
The Secret to Gary Player’s Success
There is no secret to Gary Player’s success. Player worked harder and more tenaciously than his opponents and kept a positive, winning attitude.
Can I Translate This To My Own Success?
So I’ve finished Gary’s book and tried to absorb as much of his positive vibe as I can. I hope to apply this attitude in my future golf and business experiences. I hope this book helps give me the strength and courage to not choke on that 3-foot-putt on the 18th hole to win that $2.00 nassau. That’s pressure.
Gary Player Interview
I had the great pleasure of speaking with Mr. Player for an extended period of time in an interview about fitness. It was truly one of the highlights of this modest, independent blog’s 11+ years. Hope you enjoy it.
I’ve admired and been envious of the great golf books some of my fellow golf blogger friends have written. My pal Neil Sagebiel blew the doors off my golf cart with his first book on the 1955 U.S. Open, The Longest Shot – Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan, and Pro Golf’s Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open. My longtime pal John Retzer, known as the Golf Blogger, wrote a great golf tips/advice book called The Five Inch Course – Thinking Your Way to Better Golf. I know I could shave strokes off of my game if I’d just take John’s advice, but the five inch space between my ears is so dense it makes a black hole look like marshmallow.
My favorite all time golf book is The Little Red Book. The book is a collection of thoughts on the game by perhaps the best golf instructor of all time, Harvey Penick.
I’ve admired the effort, time, and research it must have taken for my friends John and Neil to write a golf book. And let’s face it, golf writers are not in it for the money. There’s no way I could imagine myself putting in the time to research and write such a book. I couldn’t compare to those offerings if I tried. So I won’t. I don’t have the huge blocks of time it must take to write a book. Then again, there are some 5,000+ blog posts here, each one a thought or topic on its own. Harvey Penick’s book is basically a lot of short blog posts printed on paper. If I sought out to write a book, “one thought at a time” maybe I could do it?
I could I suppose, but who needs another golf book? I must have 50 in my review queue I’ll never read, and the 50 I have read have done nothing to help my game. I’m probably just too stubborn or dense to benefit from reading them.
My family enjoys some of these “gift of the month” types of gigs, wine, fruit, cakes… Birdie Box offers several golf related subscriptions, all which could be some great Father’s Day gift ideas. The boxes come in three levels: silver, gold and platinum. Each level has more cool golf goodies inside.
Birdie Box Silver
My recent Birdie Box is a special one. This silver edition box comes with a great shirt, golf book, I-Onics bracelet, golf balls, Stable26 socks and more. Great for pops, or for a golf friend.
An added bonus is that with each Birdie Box sold a portion of the proceeds goes to Els for Autism Foundation, founded by golf great Ernie Els.
Another really cool offering by Birdie Box is their Father’s Day promotion where two lucky winners will get a chance to play at Chambers Bay as part of the Golf Challenge Series. To enter all you have to do is submit a short video of you and dad or a “father figure” to any Birdie Box social media channel.
This is a fun product. It’s like Christmas when it arrives. Dad will enjoy the gift. Go for it.
Click book to stop choking…
If I would have gotten this book a couple of days earlier it might have saved me the $2.00 I lost in my Sunday nassau. I hate giving strokes to higher handicappers!
Next on the book list is Gary Player’s book, Don’t Choke: A Champion’s Guide to Winning Under Pressure.
The book is not just about golf. It is about handling high pressure situations in anywhere.
I’ll be reading this one soon and posting a full review so stay tuned.
Gary Player Interview
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Player last year during the Humana Challenge. It was a top highlight of my modest blogging career without a doubt.
Perhaps I can interview him again and talk about this book. I’ll see what I can do.
Click to buy book…
Just what the doctor ordered, a short game book. Somehow I managed to finish the 2014 season with a 1.5 handicap and a save percentage of somewhere between 25-30%. Saves meaning I missed hitting the green in regulation and managed to get up-and-down for par or better. In other words, if I had a short game I could be a hell of an amateur golfer.
My next read (after Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex
haha) will be Your Short Game Solution: Mastering the Finesse Game from 120 Yards and In by James Sieckmann.
I’ve thumbed through and picked a few random pages to check out quickly and I can already tell the depth and detail of this book is great. In randomly picking a couple of pages I’ve already learned some valuable short game tips and information.
I’m excited to dive into this one. Full review soon. Let’s see what happens in 2015.