Book Review

John Feinstein's "The Majors"

By Mike Dalecki,
Reader Review

I had the good fortune to receive many great golf books for Christmas. Here's a review of "The Majors," by John Feinstein.

In this 1999 best-seller, Feinstein follows the four major golf tournaments looking at inside story angles. He follows not only the eventual winner but also those who don't even make the cut, or don't even qualify.

I found his discussions of the qualifying process for both the U.S. Open and the British Open to be fascinating. I can imagine myself in one of those qualifiers; what I can't do is imagine myself securing a spot in the tournament. Maybe someday...but I digress.

If you liked "A Good Walk Spoiled," you'll also like this book. I don't think it's quite as good as "Walk," but it's good nonetheless. There's a little too much of the "He was born a tiny baby, had a golf club put in his hands at age 7, then his dad coached him through high school..." sort of stuff for my taste, but you can just skip that if you feel like me. I did.

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The real gem of the book, in my opinion, is not in the stories, although they are very entertaining. By the time I reached the end of the book, I realized that this is one of the better books on golf psychology.

Feinstein gets in the head of many golfers as they are in contention, and goes through how they failed, how they overcame their doubts, and how they survived.

It's a great resource for learning how to think one's way around the course, and how to understand what to do about the nerves we all get whether it's trying to break 90 or trying to win a major. The pros make the same kinds of mistakes we do, and we can learn from how they deal with it.

It doesn't replace Rotella's book ("Golf is not a game of Perfect"), but having read and re-read Rotella many times, the mental aspects of the game of golf just leap off the pages of "The Majors." In fact, Rotella figures in several of the stories, so those of you who are devotees of Rotella's approach will appreciate the book all the more.

On a scale of 1-10, I'd give it an 8.5.

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