A must read: “Straight down the middle” by Josh Karp

straightdownthemiddleLike many golfers I have my library of golf books. I’ve split my library into instructional books, mental game, and other.  Although this book falls into the category of other, I relate to its message because Josh’s journey through golf, in many ways, chronicles my journey.

It is amazing how golf connects to and reminds of every day life.  I know people who will play golf with potential business partners to see how they handle themselves on the course, as it is often a reflection of how they deal with adversity in life.

But the journey of improving your golf game can also have an impact on improving your life in general.  My life has changed as a result of playing golf.  I’m reminded of a quote “Whoever said golf and life are similar was wrong.  Golf is harder.”

Josh’s journey in which he learns to stop worrying and love his swing is a journey filled with ups and downs, meeting fascinating people, and making connections to things that on the surface seem unrelated to golf. But Zen and other disciplines have many similarities.  For me I always understood Zen to be about letting go.  It was about letting your body do what it does, instead of trying to control it with your conscious mind.  After all, a warrior who has to control his muscles consciously won’t last very long.  He will quickly be defeated by a foe with flow.

I love this quote from the inside cover of the book.

“Throughout the ages, the ancient arts of Zen and meditation have helped warriors prepare for battle,  brought philosophers to enlightenment, and opened the path to inner peace for countless practitioners.  Perhaps most importantly, however, these practices have allowed golfers to transcend their game and shave precious strokes off their handicap.”

I find that golf does indeed mirror many things in life.  Hard work pays off.  Tough rounds are interspersed with moments of glory, when we are in the moment and in the zone.  These highlights keep us wanting to come back to the course, to subject ourselves for what we know can be either bliss or frustration, and that’s half the fun.  You don’t know what you’re game is going to be like on any particular day.  You don’t know what your swing and your chipping or putting are doing that day until you get on the golf course and start hitting shots.

I said that my journey mirrors in many ways Josh’s journey.  I have not seen the people that he’s met but outside of golf I have been exposed to transformational techniques, and in many ways I’ve bridged the gap between them.  You can see part of that in the domain name of this website.  But the connections go deeper.  People who know me well, know that I am a bit of a philosopher and thinker.  It is partly why I created this website.  I wanted to write about what it takes to become a better golfer from a different perspective then almost everything else I see on the subject.  What I write about improvement is based on ideas, conversations and insights that germinate, then grow and develop, sometimes from the most unusual sources.  But like life, all things are connected.

I’m willing to try unconventional things to improve my game, and in that way Josh and I are very similar.  Get this book.  If any of what I wrote above connects with you at all, then you are going to love it.  He writes with a great wit and refreshing style. For me, this book is as close to a must read, as you will find.