From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Book Review: Straight Down the Middle by Josh Karp

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Bobby Jones once said that “Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course, the space between your ears.” If you’ve ever played the game and wanted to snap every club in your bag, then you understand the role the mind plays in the game. This is a game that can take you from pure nirvana to the depths of hell in three holes, before strapping you back into the roller coaster for the rest of you round.

While a solid swing is critical to consistency on the course, your mind can play an even bigger role. A confident mindset can literally make or break a round of golf. But finding inner peace when you’re standing over a ten-foot putt to break 80 can be downright difficult. It’s one of the reasons professional golfers play for money on the weekend.

Josh Karp understands how frustrating the game of golf can be. Mr. Karp was in search of the inner peace most professional golfers feel in his new book Straight Down the Middle. He wanted to replicate the Zen-like feeling that would allow him to quiet his brain and just enjoy the game. Forget the swing thoughts and a fear of slicing the ball into that backyard on 16; Karp just wanted to find that place where he could be one with his game.

So he went looking for it, seeking out anyone and everyone that wasn’t a PGA Class A professional. The journey took him across the country, talking to everyone from Buddhists (hello, Tiger Woods!), karate instructors, Zen masters, and Rabbi’s, among others.

This funny recount of his journey to find a peace with the game is a book that’s meant to be enjoyed. This is far from you serious run-of-the-mill golf book. For all the times we tend to spend analyzing our swing on the range under a microscope, Karp shows us that sometimes it’s better to just let things be and enjoy the game. He manages to do just that, easing his day-to-day anxieties by just letting go of his inner golf demons and playing the game with a quiet mind.

Plus, he manages to drop his handicap from an 18 to an 11. And we all know that’s never a bad thing! I’d highly recommend Josh Karp’s book Straight Down the Middle to anyone in need of a good golf book for the upcoming summer months.


Written by Jonathan Wall

05/12/2010 at 11:51 am

Posted in Book reviews

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