Golf is not a Game of Perfect – Book Review

Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect - Book Review


Golf is not a Game of Perfect

by Dr. Bob Rotella

Versions available:

Genre: Golf Improvement Books

Brief synopsis: Golf is not a Game of Perfect is essentially a Bible for the psychological side of golf. It is one of the top three best-selling golf books in history and the number one book for any golfer looking to improve the mental aspect of their game. It makes a perfect gift for a golf mad-partner, friend, or member of the family, no matter what level of golfer they are, professional or complete novice.

This is one of the best golf gifts you could ever buy for yourself, a friend, or a loved one.

Favourite Quotes

“A golfer has to learn to enjoy the process of striving to improve. That process, not the end result, enriches life”

“Confidence is crucial to good golf. Confidence is simply the aggregate of the thoughts you have about yourself.”

Bob Rotella – Golf is not a Game of Perfect

Detailed Review

If ever I have asked a fellow golfer about the best golf book to read for great game improvement, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect was recommended frequently, which reassured me that it was well worth a read. In this review, we’ll look at Dr. Bob Rotella’s delightful book and the impact it could have on your golf game.

I first sought out this book in 2020. At that time I was struggling with confidence in my game. Immediately, from the first time I read it, I began to adopt some of Rotella’s key principles each and every time I played. His advice soon began to improve my game from the inside out.

It’s not just me that believes in his theories! Rotella’s professional clients over the years have included some of the world’s greatest golfers, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, John Daly, Brad Faxon, Tom Kite, Nick Price, Davis Love III, and Padraig Harrington, to name but a few. Many of these professional golfers have seen a hot streak from instilling Rotella’s principles and improving their state of mind.

The thing is, Golf is not a game of perfect. From the first tee golfers of all levels make many mistakes. What do we do when we’re not perfect golfers? Rotella has made his fame and fortune by answering that question in this book and his many other books.

Best Selling Golf Book

First published in 1995, Golf is not a Game of Perfect reached the heady status of being the most popular sports psychology book ever, and as such sits in a revered position in the top three best-selling golf books of all time. It references not only many of the great players of that era such as Fred Couples, Seve Ballesteros, and Corey Pavin but also includes plenty of stories about some of the other greatest golfers of all time such as Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. Psychology within the game of golf was not really discussed until Rotella’s work became prominent in the 1980s and 1990s, so he became the seminal leader in this area.

The book itself is obviously based around golf, but many of the psychological fundamentals that Rotella introduces can be transferred into other areas of life, which means that he offers the reader the opportunity to take away some guiding principles for both the game of golf and everyday living.

Rotella states that “even the greatest players are human, human beings commit mental mistakes, and all golfers can learn from the study of those mistakes.” Regardless of whether someone is a tour professional or a casual weekend golfer, there will always be mental mistakes made in the game of golf, so Rotella’s advice for limiting these errors is the ultimate key to better scores.

Practice, practice, practice …

Talking about golf specifically, Rotella asserts the importance of practice. He believes there are two states of mind when practising: the training mentality and the trusting mentality. The training mentality is where a golfer evaluates his shots critically and analytically. It’s where a golfer tries to MAKE things happen. The trusting mentality is where the golfer LETS things happen more naturally. Rotella suggests that a golfer should spend at least 60 percent of their practice time in the trusting mentality because it is where the mind is shut down, except for thoughts of target and routine.

Rotella also emphasises how there should be no “mechanics” on the golf course. His mantra is “Train it on the range so that you can trust it on the course.” Rotella explains the importance of a pre-shot routine and how incorporating a great pre-shot routine on the course will allow the golf swing to flow naturally. A sound pre-shot routine will help a golfer to hit more good shots. The pre-shot is an important part of a golfer’s mental preparation.

Although Rotella’s advice is now over 25 years old and golf has changed significantly in that time, the principles of Golf is not a Game of Perfect still remain true in its fundamental focus. The quality of your practice will impact your first tee shot. Rotella’s maxims will help golfers to play a bad shot less frequently. He repeats his mantra about the foundation of consistency throughout the book.

Rotella’s keen insight and awareness of all aspects of a golfer and the game of golf is why his advice is still as relevant today as it was when this book was published.


In conclusion, “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect” by Bob Rotella stands as an extraordinary book that transcends the conventional approach to golf. Through insightful stories and practical wisdom, Rotella delves deep into the player’s attitude, emphasising that success on the course is not solely determined by the flight of the golf ball. Instead, he illuminates the importance of mastering the mental aspects of the game, a lesson invaluable to both weekend players and professionals alike.

With Rotella’s guidance, readers learn to craft a game plan founded on consistency, a principle that serves as the bedrock for good golf. As one of the hottest performance consultants in the sport, Rotella’s teachings have transformed the way players approach their game, elevating their performances to new heights.

Whether you’re seeking to improve your handicap or unlock your full potential, “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect” offers good ideas and a roadmap to success on the greens and beyond.

This book in particular is my number one read that I would recommend to golfers looking to improve their game. If you prefer to listen to your books, then the Audiobook version of Golf is not a Game of Perfect is actually read by Dr. Bob Rotella himself.

Golf is NOT a game of perfect and a golfer won’t hit their best shot every time, but building on Rotella’s aggregate of thoughts will 100% improve their game. Will it make them an unstoppable golfer? Maybe not, there will always be a bad shot, but the principles will help all golfers from the most casual weekend player to the world’s most elite to deliver their best.

Enjoyed our review? Why not check out our compilation of other Best Golf Books to Read.

About the Author:

Dr. Bob Rotella
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Robert J Rotella (Dr. Bob Rotella) is a renowned psychologist and best-selling author who teaches students around the world how to use their minds to reach their potential. He is consistently recognised as one of the world’s finest sports psychologists and works predominantly with professional golfers from around the world. By helping these golfers to harness the potential of their minds and to control their emotions, he has helped coach and train many top golfers to win in excess of 75 major trophies.

Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect – Version Details

Product Details:

Golf is not a Game of Perfect – Hardback

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster Ltd (2 Aug. 1995)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 068480364X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0684803647
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.97 x 1.52 x 19.05 cm

Product Details:

Golf is not a Game of Perfect – Paperback

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster UK; UK ed. edition (7 Jun. 2004)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0743492471
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0743492478
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.99 cm

Product Details:

Golf is not a Game of Perfect – Kindle Edition

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster UK; UK ed. edition (11 Dec. 2012)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 426 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled

Product Details:

Golf is not a Game of Perfect – Audiobook

  • Listening Length‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 32 minutes
  • Author‏ : ‎ Dr. Bob Rotella & Bob Cullen
  • Narrator‏ : ‎ Dr. Bob Rotella
  • Release Date ‏ : ‎ 02 May 2000
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Program Type ‏ : ‎ Audiobook
  • Version ‏ : ‎ Abridged

Product Details:

Golf is not a Game of Perfect – Audio CD

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster Audio; Abridged edition (1 Jun. 2001)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780743508094
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0743508094
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 12.7 x 1.02 x 14.22 cm

Spotted any errors in this review or would you like us to review another golf book? Let us know here. Want to add your opinions? Why not add your own review in the comments below.

Last Updated on 05/04/2024 by StripeyGreenTV

(109 Articles)

Rob is the founder and creator of Stripey Green TV. Having played the game for more than 25 years, he has shared a lot of similar experiences to the readers of SGTV, made plenty of mistakes, and picked up a LOT of hints and tips along the way. It was Rob's desire to share his golf experiences that were the primary reason for starting the SGTV website. He is passionate about helping fellow amateur golfers to NOT make mistakes, whether it be in their play, the equipment they purchase, or the golf that they watch.


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