Saturday, April 09, 2011

Golf's Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia

A few weeks back I started reading Golf's Sacred Journey: Seven Day at the Links of Utopia by David L. Cook.

My wife saw me reading it and said... "What are you reading?" (much like she did when she saw me reading the Cowboys & Aliens graphic novel).

In the same way reading a science fiction comic (Cowboys & Aliens) was odd so was the thought of me reading this book (pictured right) that is clearly about golf, and who's image seems to reflect a special significance to Texas. But like Cowboys & Aliens, my interest was peaked upon hearing the book would be made into a film, to be directed by Matt Russell.

The book is fiction, and tells the story about a discouraged golfer who finds himself getting a chance to reconnect to the game, his life, and his eternity through an older gentleman in a small town, Utopia, Texas.

While fiction, the book is a summary of what is assumed to be much of the motivational teachings of David L. Cook, PhD, who is a motivational speaker and trainer known primarily for working with golfers as well as the San Antonio Spurs from 1996-2004.

As the title suggest, the story primarily takes place over 7 days, where the discouraged young golfer meets an older rancher (Johnny Crawford) who teaches him about various aspects of golf in unconventional ways that involve getting to the heart of his game, and believing in himself, and ultimately looking towards what his own eternity looks like apart from his golf game.

I must be honest, because the meat of the book, bookended between more narrative chapters, are motivational sections, some sections clearly did not interest me and I was ready to get through them. Of these the one that had me painfully churning through was a section where Johnny takes the professional golfer trout fishing. Maybe I deserve to loose my man card, but as both golf and fishing don't interest me the comparison between the two was pretty painful.

At the same time, while I'm not interested in golf, I am someone who is interested in mentorship, teaching, and helping others experience personal development I was able to enjoy the lay out of some his teaching styles and methods, and even get a sense of personal motivation from the concept of what it is like to be a Johnny, as a man who helps out another man in his life.

So perhaps there is something here for a variety of people.

Dr. Cook comes at the story with a relaxed and honest story, which also embeds into the tale a Christian evangelistic message as well. This element is honest, and I imagine that causes some to embrace this novel while others could have a tendency to shy away. It's blatantly included, just as much as golf messages about seeing, feeling and trusting are included. He also makes a passionate push for not only Jesus, but a change in golf putting to face-on putting style (his point, truth should always trump tradition).

At around 150 pages, and endorsements from motivational speakers (Zig Ziglar), NBA MVPs (David Robinson), Golf champs (To Lehman, Larry Mize, Stan Utley, Scott Simpson, Aaron Baddeley), and Christian authors (Max Lucado), it's an interesting book that crosses a handful of genres. This crossing of genres will either make you interested because it crosses one of yours, or you might pass it by because it seems the furthest away from your typical reading. In all honesty, I'm glad I read it.

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