Author: 
Fred Shoemaker with Pete Shoemaker
Publisher: 
Perigee Trade
Date Published: 
April 1, 1997
ISBN: 
978-0399522765

Reviewed by Guest Reviewer: 

Michael Orwasky, O.D., FCOVD

Extraordinary Golf chronicles the author’s journey from a personal crisis in his golfing life.   His search involves finding a way to play the game, which is different from what most people play; not one bound by formulas and checklists, but one whose foundation is in freedom.  This involves a new perspective, not based in judgment, but rather opening up to what’s possible.

Golfers can certainly relate to the author’s struggles with playing by formulas and how this can rob your joy of playing the game.   By starting with a new viewpoint and goals, increased joy and satisfaction can be found in playing.  I personally found this new way of looking at things relevant not only to golf, but in learning any motor or perceptual activity.

This perspective is what makes the book unique and valuable.   I found myself using these concepts immediately in a vision therapy setting.  Some of the key concepts in the book start with the idea that awareness is the only thing that allows for development and that awareness leads to improvement. He points out the key to learning is to be aware of differences and discusses recognizing and getting past self-interferences.  

The section describing the differences between a coach and a teacher can be particularly helpful to therapists.  The author describes the heart of the coach’s interaction with a student as one of providing feedback to allow them to develop awareness of what they actually do.  The coach should encourage and allow room to explore.  The author also stresses learning not from an outside in approach, but from inside out.  The experience and awareness can then become one of not personal control, but one of trusting and letting go.  This is where the freedom the author was searching for come in.

I found the book to be a casual easy read, with life stories explaining the authors search and discovery of these ideas.  Golfers should enjoy this book, but non-golfers should also find very practical and useful information.  I found the process of learning and training the body and mind in this book to be applicable not only to sports, but something I immediately began using in my approach to vision therapy in general.

Additional comments from avid golfer and CC instructor Bob Hohendorf:

Dr Orwasky gives an excellent review.  His words are well chosen and so eloquent they do not give away the enjoyment of reading the book.  This book is an easy read for those who dislike or struggle with reading.  I to suggest it should be read by anyone who works with patients in a therapy capacity.  You will get something to help you deliver better VT to your patients, even though the title suggests it is a sports book.

Extraordinary Golf may be purchased through the OEP on-line store for $14.95.  Click www.oepf.org, and go to the store.