In reading Mr. Anderson’s book, two things stood out: he’s a decent writer and has a severe golf fetish. Regarding his approach to the craft of writing, in “Going Fore It” Anderson marries descriptiveness with a merciful conciseness that leads the reader very smoothly through the book. As for content, Anderson calls upon a lifetime of golfing experiences to paint the picture of the mental relationships between golfer, golfing, the golf course and course design itself through a light transcendentalist prism. He then blends these relationships by connecting the proper mental approach of the game of golf to achieving peak performance in life. His skillful crafting of such a weighty subject of spirituality was kept light and entertaining, culminating in a smooth read. However, themes of eastern philosophy and transcendentalism along with the clear influence of Deepak Chopra were a bit overwhelming. At times I found myself reaching for the granola and wanting to light some incense to enhance the experience. While reading the book, though I had no reason to question the author’s handling of the English language and the game of golf, I did find myself wondering why I was reading it. Though Anderson and I are both avid golfers and share a love and appreciation for the game, there seemed to be a major divide regarding the role the game plays in our lives.
I agree with the author on the idea that a clear mind off the golf course leads to better scores on the golf course. Having distractions carried onto the course doesn’t lend itself to proper concentration and scoring on it. If you have ever played a round of golf when skipping out of a work meeting and feel guilty while draining a thirty foot put, you know exactly what I mean. Mr. Anderson has a great description of a interesting concept called “mindful mindlessness” that addresses this scenario wonderfully. The author explains the concentration concepts that many apply on the course and then also applies them off the course. He caddies your brain through connecting you to how you were able to focus to score well, then deconstructs it to apply that mindset to life in general. It is at this point where the divide between the author’s view on golf and life and my own personal view of its place threatened to morph into canyon-like status. Anderson steeps himself so deep in a worshipful trance focused on the game of golf and the courses it is played on, that it becomes borderline bizarre. Correction. It is bizarre. It is reminiscent of the character Ty Web from the movie Caddy Shack, but only if we were forced to take him seriously. Anderson’s reverence for the sport squarely places him in a unique sort of yogi zen master positioned within his own brand of new eastern golf theology. In short, golf is both his mantra and his idol and he is not shy about it in the least. Or he may just be a skilled writer, excellent golf instructor and a misguided spiritual adviser who is actively seeking to proselytize.
In the end if you enjoy a smooth read, are golf obsessed, and are not attached to any western religious dogma then this book is for you. It is well written, entertaining and should not take you too long to get through.