By: Stan Utley
With Matthew Rudy
An Average Golfer Book Review
We all know the guy, or perhaps you're the guy, that blasts it by everyone in the foursome, is on or around most greens in regulation, but can't score. The idea is to put the ball in the cup in as few shots as possible, isn't it? Truth be told we could all use some help in that department and Stan Utley's aim is to help us in that quest. Stan's techniques must be sound since he's developed himself quite an impressive following in the professional ranks. His stable of clients include Sergio Garcia, Jay Haas, Rocco Mediate, and Paul McGinley. No lightweights there.
Stan breaks the short game down in his recent book to what he terms "basic" shots, the shots you'll typically need in the vast majority of situations involving the short game. His "basic pitch shot" is the first he teaches and with good reason, it's most likely used the most. He painstakingly details grip, posture, and technique so a sound understanding of his theories is easy to grasp and picture. In similar fashion he follows with the "basic bunker shot" and "basic lag putt". Good photos and explanation make a quick read of what many times in golf instructionals could be mistaken as a sleep aid. Stan continues with three shots that confound many amateurs and pile on strokes. He simplifies the 30 - 50 yard pitch, the shot from the rough near the hole, and the dreaded long bunker shot. Any improvement on those three is an instant stroke shaver for must of us. Stan draws interesting comparisons between a bunker shot and shots around the greens with the point being that decent fundamentals on the important types of short game shots will give us an answer for almost any predicament. He explains well his desire to let size of your pivot and speed of your turn determine distance in the short game. That provides consistency of results, something we all crave.
Stan lends some particular insider knowledge as to how he approaches teaching a top flight pro as well. I found some irony in that the pros suffer from very much the same swing maladies as us mortals, just on a higher starting plane. A large chapter is devoted to putting strategy including reading green slope and grass grain. The book delves into club set selection and make up as well. Mr. Utley didn't really leave many stones unturned.
The book has a "feel" aspect to it as opposed to many golf guides that are rather technical and seemingly impossible to incorporate into your own game. This book leaves you with the idea that you've just gained some kind of inside advantage that will pay quick dividends in your next round. Stan wisely informs us that we can have a much improved short game without starting over and ditching the swing we've had since day one. I call that practical knowledge, the most useful kind. One caveat remains though that's true of any golf instructional. Stan provides the wisdom, we have to provide the time and effort. Remember that next time you pull your driver on the practice range.
The Art Of Scoring is recommended by Average Golfer.
The Art Of Scoring, By: Stan Utley, with Matthew Rudy, Gotham Books, Available on Amazon.com.