The Successful Golfer Book Review | A Look at the Book

Golf Review: A Look at the Book ‘The Successful Golfer’

As a golfer, you don’t really have to play too many rounds to realize the impact the mind has on each and every shot. With or without the mind in sync it affects your every move on the course. Dr. Paul McCarthy and Dr. Marc Jones take us to the depths of the internal secrets of the mental game from the inside of the brain—how you think and how it affects your game.

Bennion and Kearny is an independent publishing company based in the U.K. that prides itself on going straight to the experts from academia and business professionals to a rock critic and those at the top of the sports disciplines.

Bennion and Kearny turned to Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Jones to take us into the practical fixed for the mental game of golf. Both are accomplished Sports Psychologists and after reading the book, I totally understand that Bennion and Kearny went to the best of the best when it came to understanding how to get out of your own way on the golf course.

Who are the Authors

Dr. Paul McCarthy lectures at Glasgow Caledonian University in Psychology and specializes in sport and exercise psychology having published numerous papers and books. He has been working in Sport Psychology for over 15 years and works as a consultant in both amateur and professional golf. Without a doubt he has the knowledge and training to assist many in the world of golf and we should all hope to one day meet this talented and informative young man.

Dr. Marc Jones is a Reader in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Staffordshire University and has published well over 40 papers in which the majority focuses on stress and emotion and the impact they have on the individual. He too is a registered Sport Psychologist and divides his time between professional football and golf. Again, you will understand the depth of his insight and hope to stand face to face with a young many that can turn your sports life (and life) around.

 The Successful Golfer Cover

Overview and Breakdown of ‘The Successful Golfer’ 

What an incredible piece of literature. I was unable to put this book down from start to finish and am on the second read. As a Mental Trainer and Coach myself, this book really spoke to me from the inside of my soul to my external physical game. And I will be asking my players to pick this book up and read it from cover to cover and highlight areas and take notes in it. Yes, this is a book you can definitely get on Kindle or download to read on your IPad or Smartphone, but I love having both—the hard copy and the e-reader copy.

Why do I have two copies to read? Like I said, I am on my second read through and I am making notes on practically every page applying the ‘Eye-Opening’ information not only to my game, but to all my students/players.

Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Jones have hit the nail on the head with this look into the golfer’s heart and soul. It is allows you to define the type of golfer you are in the beginning of the book which then allows you to utilize the book in terms of your challenges. One may read it cover to cover like I did and others may skip to parts that make sense to what is presently holding you back from achieving your goals.

This book is nicely divided into three sections that allow the user (golfer) to head to the section that best meets the individual’s needs. The first section is spot on with regards to the 50 most common faults and fixes for the mental game of golf. This is a section that can really speak to each and every golfer and walk him/her through easy to understand fixes that through practice will help the player achieve their goals and rid themselves of the common faults we all encounter (yes, even me the former LPGA Player has faults to be fixed and I might add that I have been reminded by this book how to fix them…I am so happy!).

The second section gets into the nitty-gritty of key research on the psychology of golf and suggests technique based upon the research that will assist you the golfer into becoming a better more consistent player on the course.

The final section is focused solely on basic and practical techniques you can successfully utilize in becoming a confident golfer. I know for me that having deep seeded confidence will always allow me to succeed on the course and reach my potential. Without confidence, a struggle will always be my Achilles heel.  How about you? Are you confident on the course?

As the authors point out again and again, this book is your own personal assistant to help you reach your goals and there is not right or wrong way to read it. Head to the third section if you feel that is a gripping need you must get control of now. Regardless of how and what part you read first, you will find the book becoming your best friend…move over BFF’ers…’The Successful Golfer’ is about to bump you out.

One last thing to note that is such a great part of this book and helps your psyche really grasp each chapters success is the breakdown of ‘How Common is the Fault’ and ‘How Difficult to Fix’s for each mental fault you encounter. For example, the first fault states: ‘I never seem to be able to play as well on the course as I do on the range’. Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Jones have included keys that illustrate how common the fault is (5 golf balls is really common, 1 is rare) and how difficult it is to overcome (1 flag is easy, 5 flags means really difficult).  This is a great key to help you realize you are not alone in your thinking and in the end no matter the difficulty, you can find a way to fix the fault.


My Overall Take on ‘The Successful Golfer’

Impressed. Moved. Excited. Determined. Motivated.

This book is by far one of the best books I have ever read that is not only specific to golf and the mental game, but is so darn easy to understand and it really hits home for professionals and amateurs (no matter your index/handicap). The fact that the first section’s ‘chapters’ come with a quote (motivational mostly but also real life examples) of the fault and fix is truly genius. The reader can really get into each ‘fault’ knowing that one of the best has had the same thinking one time or, in fact, many times throughout a career. In addition, at the conclusion of each fault and assisting with the fix, there is a small paragraph summary that puts it all together and sends you on your way with sheer confidence to apply what you just read and digested.

The second sections really delve deeper into the research and how different techniques will only enhance your game and lower your score. It gives you the overall look into the research though the psychology itself of golf and then a technique to help you understand with key points. This section is deeper than the others but is valuable for the overall success of your game. It breaks down into ‘The Study’ (Basic research from a point of view by a specialist and his research group); the ‘Application’(applying the study and explaining the impact); and the ‘Key Point’ (summarizes the entire study preformed on the specific question or comment).

Overall, the second section provides real evidence behind the statement made and why it is true and how it many have changed, improved, disproved or challenged a thought or question about the game of golf and things we all are wondering. I like this section because nobody that I know of has taken this angle to get you to really understand the ‘whys’ behind something you and I have thought about in passing or on a regular basis.

The final section starts to sum it all up by giving the golfer practical ways to really develop yourself as a confident golfer. Without confidence you will never achieve your ultimate goals and this section addresses this perfectly. I walked away from this part of the book feeling on top of the golf world (at least my golf world) and went straight to the course with a totally different attitude and swagger.

What really struck me as an important factor to mention and to discuss was how the past, external and internal verbal influences, emotions, goal setting,  imagery, and exercise can impact our confidence. Without a handle on all these and understanding them, one will have difficulty stepping up to the ball with confidence. The book in the 3rd section addresses these and many others influences and gives you useful ways to deal and conquer each so you can become the ultimate confident golfer.

Final Thoughts

As a mental trainer, former LPGA Tour player and writer, it seems like a natural and good fit for me to take on the challenge of reviewing this book. After reading it once, I was impressed with the depth of knowledge and the author’s sense of really knowing what is going through the golfer’s mind. This is a read I would have loved to have in my arsenal during my tour days.

I did get a chance to read it again (and will many times ahead of me) because it is now a part of my ‘golf tool box’. The second read continued to open my eyes to many things I can use not only for my game, but also all the golfers I work with on a daily basis. Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Jones have done a most phenomenal job getting down deep into the golfer’s soul and pulling out the truth to the walls we all have up preventing our success. The tools they provide will give each of you (and me!) the confidence to take a sledge hammer and break those walls down.

It is my belief that you will gain a better understanding of yourself as a golfer and then some! This is a book every golfer in this world should have on their night stand, office and reading room.

I know that I have already started my third read through and I have made many notes throughout to help my game…now it is up to you to do the same. You best not leave this article without jotting down the name of the book and buying one online now! What are you waiting for…this is your time to shine and ‘The Successful Golfer’ will let you finally see the light at the end of the tunnel with confidence and a new found game.

I give ‘The Successful Golfer’ a Bunkers Paradise Eagle Rating


‘keep smiling and always believe’



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