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Your 15th Club: The Inner Secret to Great Golf

Your 15th Club: The Inner Secret to Great Golf

4.1 12
by Bob Rotella, Bob Cullen (With)

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Any golfer will understand this:

You go out to the driving range, you warm up with your irons, everything is going right. You pull out your utility clubs, you are hitting great. Your driver — boom. The ball flies far and lands just where you want it. You head for the practice green...you drain every putt from 30 feet in.

Time to play with your


Any golfer will understand this:

You go out to the driving range, you warm up with your irons, everything is going right. You pull out your utility clubs, you are hitting great. Your driver — boom. The ball flies far and lands just where you want it. You head for the practice green...you drain every putt from 30 feet in.

Time to play with your friends. Eighteen delicious holes and you are going to show them how good you are. Your mind starts racing a bit. Am I too confident? Am I too relaxed? Thoughts starts creeping in, but you still believe. You line up over the first tee ready to drill it. Everything is going to be great....

Whack! You can't believe it — you spray the ball 30 yards to the right, short and in deep rough. You try to punch out to the fairway...only it goes to the other rough. And so on . . you end up quadruple bogey. Your day is shot...

It happens to every golfer. The mind becomes their worst enemy. It's not physical. It's all in the head. How do listeners get their brains back to practice range? Why did it change?

The preeminent golf psychologist Bob Rotella, whose counsel and knowledge is sought by hundreds of thousands, including the world's top players, has spent years trying to discover a way to get golfers to stay in the mindset that they can thrive in. In Your 15th Club, Rotella has done just that: come up with a plan to help golfers play at their optimal best. It is something that every golfer will want to learn.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As I progressed through the ranks—of the European Tour toward a major championship, Bob Rotella was by my side every step of the way. With Your 15th Club, you can benefit from the same good advice he gave me. This is the one Rotella book I may not recommend to my fellow competitors. It might be too helpful. — Padraig Harrington, 2007 British Open champion

"After my first few events as a professional in 1999, I realized I needed to find a way to quiet my mind and focus my thoughts. Since then, Dr. Rotella and I have focused on target, routine, and acceptance. Though I have not yet perfected it, I continue to work on it daily and have reached a career-high 12th—in the official world golf ranking." — Trevor Immelman, 2006 PGA Rookie of the Year

"Golfers ask all the time how to play better golf. Your 15th Club is the answer to mastering the game. That doesn't mean that it is easy to do, but if you practice what Dr. Rotella suggests in this book there is no doubt you will become a better player. It is a must read for anyone trying to improve." — Brad Faxon, eight-time PGA Tour champion

"I've read all of Bob Rotella's books and there is nothing like them — if you pay attention, he can completely change the way you play golf !The lessons in this book will give you the focus you need to play well in practice and the confidence to bring those skills to competition. You've never heard it like this before." — Sean O'Hair, 2008 PODS champion

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Abridged, 2 CDs, 2 hours
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 5.60(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt


Confidence —
Plain and Unvarnished

Padraig Harrington helped crystallize my reason for writing this book. Padraig is a very thoughtful, analytical man. He's been a client and a friend for ten years, but I wouldn't call myself his mental coach or his sports psychologist. Padraig and I have conversations. My role usually amounts to listening to the things he's figured out and nodding my head. I learn as much from Padraig as he learns from me.

Not long ago, Padraig mentioned that he recommends the book I wrote in 1994, Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect, to the people he plays with, including fellow pros. I was intrigued, and not just because word of mouth is the best advertising. I know that Padraig is a friendly, generous fellow, but I also know that he's a competitor down to the bone. I know he thought Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect had helped him, so I was curious as to why he'd recommend the book to players who were trying to take away what he has — the top ranking among European players.

"I'm not worried if someone reads it," he said when I asked him about it. "That's fine. It's an easy read. They'll enjoy it. They'll gain from it. But they won't get the real benefit unless they live it — and that's the hard part. So I can tell my competitors to go and read Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect and I know I'm not giving anything up unless they actually do the work."

Padraig's statement meshed with thoughts I'd been having for a while. As a sports psychologist, I go to my clients as often as they come to me, especially after I've been working with them for some time. Since many of them are tournament golfers, I see them at tournament venues — generally on the putting green or the practice range. Players who have worked with me often need only a quick conversation to clear up a specific question and prepare their minds for a competitive round.

Frequently, as I move down the range or around the green, I chat with players who aren't clients, at least not in the traditional sense. They may not have worked with me personally, but they've read Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect or another of my books on golf and the mind. They're generally complimentary. Increasingly, though, in recent years, I've heard something like this:

"Doc, I read Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect eight years ago, and it really helped me. I was able to play my best golf in the clutch, coming down the stretch. In fact, I won a couple of times right after I read it. But lately, it doesn't seem to be working as well. I think you ought to write another book."

This is that book. But it's not going to be another iteration of Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect or any of its sequels.

I'm afraid I may have been inadvertently misleading in those books. It's not that they contain any misinformation. They don't. When I wrote Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect, I conveyed the truth about the mental side of golf under pressure, truth I'd learned working in several sports and field-tested over fifteen years with professional golfers. Those years of field-testing have now stretched close to thirty, and I'm more convinced than ever about what works for golfers. You've got to follow your dreams. You will become what you think about yourself. You've got to train your swing, then trust it. You've got to accept the mistakes that inevitably happen on the golf course. You've got to manage your temper as well as the course. You've got to fall in love with the short game, the part of golf that most heavily impacts scoring. Above all, you must be confident.

But in my previous books, as Padraig and other pros have helped me realize, I failed to stress one very important aspect of the mental game. I may have left the impression that mastering the mental game was like riding a bicycle, something you could learn and then always be able to do.

It's not. The fact is that having the sort of mind that stands up to clutch situations and wins golf tournaments is much more like having a fit body. Yes, you have to work to reach a desired level of fitness. But, once you're there, you have to work to keep it. Your body will slide back into softness and weakness if you don't continue to work out. Your mental game, too, will become soft and weak if you don't continue to monitor it and work on it. That's the work Padraig was talking about.

This, I think, explains the statements I've heard from players who say that an earlier book helped them for a while but doesn't seem to work as well anymore. It's because those books didn't make it clear enough that for golfers, having a strong mind in the clutch is part of a process. While the books were fresh in their memories, these players were unconsciously engaged in a process that strengthened their minds. They came through under pressure and played the sort of golf they had always sensed they could play. But golf is a little bit like the ocean's waves. Just as the waves will work relentlessly to erode the dunes at the top of a beach, golf will work relentlessly to erode a player's confidence. Just as beach towns have to work constantly and vigilantly to strengthen and protect their dunes, golfers must work to maintain their confidence and the strength of their minds.

Maybe, like the players I sometimes meet on Tour, you read Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect a dozen years ago and find that your mind seems to work less effectively now than it did right after you read it. If so, it's not because that book is any less valid. It's because I failed to emphasize that you need to commit yourself to a constant process of strengthening your mind. It's as if you hired a personal trainer a dozen years ago and worked with him until you could bench-press 200 pounds and run a mile in six minutes. But the trainer left town without giving you a workout plan to sustain that level of performance. For that omission, I apologize.

The book you're holding will correct that deficiency. Like my previous books, it will have a few stories and anecdotes about players. I hope it will be, in places, entertaining to read. But I will do a bit less storytelling in this book, because I want to emphasize the process of developing and maintaining a strong mental game. I want you to be confronted on every page, not with stories about other golfers, but with things you need to know and do to strengthen your mind so that you can play your best golf in the clutch. I want reading this book to be like sitting with me in my basement in Virginia, where I counsel players, or talking with me on the practice range at a Tour event. I don't often tell stories in those settings. I tell players what I think they need to hear. I give it to them plain and unvarnished.

Sometimes it can be hard for golfers to hear this. People want quick results. I've yet to see someone try to sell a diet program that will give you the body you want — a year from now. The automobile companies don't advise you to save your money and budget carefully if you want a top-of-the-line luxury model. They all know people want instant gratification. I'm not promising immediate results in this book. I'm talking about a process that will steadily strengthen your mind and keep it strong for as long as you stay on it. But that doesn't mean you'll win tomorrow if you read the book tonight.

There's another reason why the things I am going to tell you in this book may not appeal to everyone. For some reason, in our culture, it's a lot easier for many people to admit they're working on their golf swings than it is to admit they're working on their thinking. People will go for years to golf professionals for lessons on their mechanics. They'll spend weeks on drills that are designed to improve their swings and groove good movements. They'll chat with their friends on the practice range, sometimes a bit too much, about the things they're doing to make their swings better. Or they might go see a fitness trainer and get a new stretching routine. They'll drop to the ground and twist like a yoga master at the first sign someone's interested in seeing a demonstration of what they're doing. And I'm glad they will. I'm the first to say that success in golf is a product of both body and mind. If you want to be the best golfer you can be, you've got to master certain physical fundamentals.

But if players are eager to talk about the changes they're making in their mechanics, why do they shy away from talking about a mental overhaul? On a logical level, this doesn't make sense to me. Why should someone show you, without embarrassment, a drill that requires him to hit balls standing on one foot like a flamingo and yet be reluctant to discuss the fifteen minutes he spends at night visualizing success? I don't know. If I told people that they could win a major championship by spending an hour a night walking across a bed of hot coals, many of them would immediately start taking off their shoes and socks. But the thought of spending that same hour working on their psyche doesn't appeal to them. Maybe it's because a physical or mechanical flaw seems to be a little farther from the core of a person's identity. A thinking flaw strikes closer to who we are.

This, I believe, is why a lot of golfers hit a wall when they reach the stage where their mechanics are no longer the primary obstacle. They've put in lots of hours learning to strike the ball well. Whether their goal is winning major championships or getting to a single-digit handicap, they have the physical skills to do it. But they start to lose traction. Often, they regress. They can't admit to themselves that it's their thinking that's holding them back. They don't commit themselves to a program to strengthen their minds. They fail to change.

So the first thing I'm asking you to do as you read this book is to be honest with yourself. Is your present way of thinking consistent with the level of golf you'd like to play? Does it help you in the clutch, or does it handicap you? Does it enable you to find out how good you could be?

And do you dare to change it? Copyright © 2008 by Robert J. Rotella


Meet the Author

Dr. Bob Rotella was the director of sports psychology for twenty years at the University of Virginia, where his reputation grew as the person champions talked to about the mental aspects of their game. His client list includes Hall of Fame golfers like Pat Bradley, Tom Kite, and Nick Price as well as stars of the present, such as Darren Clarke, Keegan Bradley, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Mark Wilson, and Rory Mcllroy. A writer for and consultant to Golf Digest, he lives in Virginia with his wife, Darlene.

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Your 15th Club: The Inner Secret to Great Golf 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
gnuguy More than 1 year ago
The truth is I am not nor will I ever be a good golfer. I do not have the time to devote to practice that being good would require. I have read a number of Dr. Rotella's books and they have made me a better golfer. They have taught me to stay in the moment and keep my head clear of extraneous thoughts. I pick a target and the only swing thought I entertain is about tempo. These ideas are reinforced and elaborated on in this book. His "Putting Out of Your Mind", which I have on audio cassette helped my putting tremendously. Again, the same thought process is expounded upon here. I often carry more than 14 clubs and often take flak from my golf partners. When I am practice playing, I see no sense in taking the extra clubs out. In fact, I keep track of which clubs I use, so that when it really counts I have a better idea of what to leave in the bag. The ideas presented in this book, will help me with my focus during practice and hopefully help out on the course. I would certainly recommend Dr. Rotella's books to any serious golfer, regardless on their level of expertise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book helps to position your thoughts on the game of golf. After reading it, I was more confident, and recognized that what was holding me back was "me." Spend the couple of hours to read Bob Cullen's book, with excellent examples that will ring true to you and will cause you to reflect on how you not only play golf, but think about it. You will be better for having spent the time.
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