No BS Review – Zen and the Art of Disc Golf

A while back, I put up a post titled, “Who Says There are no Books For Disc Golf”.  In it, I said that while there were only one or two books directly about disc golf, if you expanded your thinking, there are plenty of books out there that would help you improve at the sport you love.  That lead to the Mind Body Disc disc golf book list.

That also led to an email from one Patrick McCormick.  It just so happened that Patrick was finishing up a several year long project.  Writing a book about disc golf.  Sometimes serendipity steps in and takes over.  This was one of those times.

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I had already been reading Patrick’s blog and was a fan of his on Instagram and Twitter.  When I heard that he was coming out with a book on disc golf, I really couldn’t wait.  Patrick and I share a lot of things in common.  I look forward to the day when we can get together and have a conversation or two about life, the universe, and disc golf (not only is that day coming soon, but you will get to sit in on that conversation here on the blog!). In the meantime, I get to read his book “Zen and the Art of Disc Golf”.

I’ve had my hot little hands on this book for a while now, but I really wanted to read and absorb it before writing this review.  Patrick has been getting some great publicity, but I cringe every time someone says they have only read part of it or even worse, get the title wrong!  Here at the Mind Body Disc blog, we will never rush something out to you just to get content on the site.  Patrick spent a few years of his life on this and I wanted to make sure I read the book as he instructed and gave it a quality review.

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The book is divided into 16 sections and Patrick recommends reading a section and then playing a round of disc golf to contemplate that section.  First of all, any book that tells me to put it down and go play a round between chapters is A OK in my world!  Second, this is exactly what you need to do with a book like this.

There’s a big trend right now that recommends that people read a book a week, a book a day, or some other such nonsense.  I’m a huge reader, but reading alone is not a virtue.  Reading alone does not help you better yourself.  Reading and then integrating what you have read and learned and decided can help you is the key.  You have to pause for reflection.  You have to internalize the things you are learning for them to do you any good.  I love that Patrick starts off his book this way.

When I first sat down to write this review, I was going to go through the book section by section and give an opinion, summary, or both.  But I want you to read the book, not just someone’s summary or interpretation.  Oops, I’ve gone and spoiled my end point.  Yes, go get this book and read it.  It’s worth your time.  You can get a copy on Amazon in paper back or Kindle form.  You can also get a signed copy on Patrick’s web site.

Not only is it worth your time to read this, but I want to recommend that you let your friends and loved ones read it.  Especially those that don’t play disc golf.  While that might sound strange at first, I have to say that outlined in this book are the majority of the reasons I play.  It’s a detailed explanation of why I spend so much time on the course and I think I’m safe in saying that I am not alone here.

Both my family and friends on many occasions have asked me why I’m so obsessed with the sport.  Usually, I can’t articulate the philosophical attraction I have for the sport without losing them in all the jargon that seeps into my conversation.  If I keep the explanation strictly to the esoteric aspects of my love for disc golf, I plant myself firmly in the role of metaphysical woo woo guy.  This book is exactly the explanation I’ve always grasped for.

It’s quotes like this that kind of just say it all:

“For those few seconds, time stands still, and all that matters in the world is a spinning disc in the wind.  Everything in our mind is at peace and when the disc lands, we want to do it all over again.” -from Zen and the Art of Disc Golf

Another thing I really love about the book is that it highlights the many parallels between disc golf and life in general.  Miyamoto Musashi said, “If you know the way broadly, you will know it in all things.”  In other words, excellence in anything will increase your potential in all things.  Excellence in life translates into excellence on the course.  Excellence in your game translates into your life.

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This directly addresses some of the most asked questions by players seeking to get better.  If you listen to the Disc Golf Answer Man podcast, read any disc golf forums, or belong to any disc golf related FaceBook groups, you’ll see question after question about how to improve in the mental aspect of the game.  Quite honestly, while there are some standard answers (have a short memory, only worry about the shot you are throwing, etc.), rarely are there any good explanations.  It’s not often that someone actually comes up with great advice for the mental game.

Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I started this blog.  The mental game is one of the mostly unaddressed aspects of our sport.  There are copious amounts written on technique, equipment, and courses.  There is almost nothing on the psychology of disc golf.  Patrick definitely changes that with “Zen and the Art of Disc Golf”.

And that’s important.  I don’t want to take anything away from the pros, but there are a lot of people who are as good or better than they are at the mechanical skill of throwing a disc.  The thing that makes a pro is their mental ability.  It’s their ability to think their way around the course.  It’s their ability to deal with and thrive on stress that very few of us can even imagine.  It’s their mental game that sets them apart and allows them to win where others crumble.  Patrick’s book is what I hope will be the beginning of a lot more information designed to help average players start to excel in the mental aspect of our sport.

“Hitting a few trees is not what separates a recreational player from becoming a pro. What separates a pro from a rec player is what the pro does next.” -from Zen and the Art of Disc Golf

 

In the end, it’s more than worth the few bucks it costs to go ahead and get this book.  All disc golfers need something like this out on their desk or on their coffee table.  It’s a book you can pick up and just read a few pages of and get something from it.  It’s also a great gift idea for the disc golfer in your life or even for yourself.

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As a last note, Patrick mentions at one point that he gave up playing a lot of rounds to write this book.  I want to point out that the one thing we all love to do, play disc golf, is the one thing that doesn’t actually grow our sport all that much.  The things that legitimize and grow disc golf often involve not being able to play disc golf.  Course maintenance, meeting with city councils, running tournaments, running Instagram and Twitter feeds, writing blogs, teaching clinics, running disc golf stores, maintaining websites, producing videos, and writing books all require that the people doing those things give up playing time to do them.

If for no other reason, this is why you should buy this book.  Honestly you should buy this book because it’s a worthwhile read.  But even if you don’t read, show Patrick some love for the time he took to put together something that is clearly coming from a place of love for our sport.  Buy the book to show your support for those who are sacrificing their own time on the course to hopefully make yours better.

Remember to follow Patrick on Instagram and Twitter.

Pick up his book on Amazon or at his web site Zen Disc Golf.

If you have his book, please leave him a review on Amazon too, you have no idea how helpful that is.

For a chance to win a signed copy of his book, I have two opportunities for you:

First, follow the Mind Body Disc feed over on Instagram.  We’ll be giving away a copy this weekend (12/13/2014).

Second, subscribe to this blog.  We’ll keep you up to date on all  the new posts, reviews, and smart ass ramblings that we’re known for around here.  We will give a signed copy away to a random subscriber!  Giveaway on December 25th, who knows, you may get an unexpected Christmas gift!  Not only that, but stay tuned for the upcoming feature, Zen Conversations, where Patrick and I will have an ongoing public conversation about life, the universe, and the Zen of disc golf!

Update to this post, all signed copies have been given away and these particular giveaways are over.  We are always giving stuff away, though.  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and here to stay up to date on all the freebie action!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”