'The Art of Scoring' by Stan Utley

By: Dr. John Wagner

When I first starting reading this book I thought it was going to be one of "those" with lots of stuff but not much new. As I got into it, though, I really enjoyed what the author had to say about the area he was addressing, which is the short game.

Utley, a teacher to several top touring pros, starts by telling us about a day he spent with two 10 handicappers and one 19. He played nine holes with them and pointed out ways for each to lower their scores.

This is all well and good for a playing lesson, but what does it have to do with the book? So I read on and actually found myself learning from Utley's instructions and looking forward to reading more. He really knows the game and certainly is a great teacher.

If you are really a student of the game, then this is a good book. It really gets into the nuts and bolts of techniques involved in chipping, putting and hitting out of a bunker, with many good tips.

My problem is how to take what I read and apply it on the golf course. You would have to first practice with the book in hand and set up the situations that the author presents in order to learn how to execute the proper swing and hit the shot. A lot of the information is provided that I would not be able to put into use without first practicing it for quite some time.

The various things to do in a bunker, depending on the length of shot needed, would be hard to remember but, for a great player, probably relatively easy. That's why Utley is a good teacher for the pros. The book is fine, but I'd rather take a lesson from Utley than try to remember all the things he writes about.

In sum: This is great reading for serious players who want to improve their short games.

"The Art of Scoring," by Stan Utley with Matthew Rudy, Penguin Books, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-592-40448-3

Dr. John Wagner has been a Seattle dentist for 37 years. He's been published in several dental journals as well as had several articles appear in the turf magazine for Pacific Northwest golf course superintendents. John has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Washington Business School for several years and as a guest lecturer for several dental societies. Dr. Wagner is the co-designer (with Steve Shea of the Berger Partnership) of a golf course in Japan that cost over $120 million and was built by Wadsworth Golf Construction. He's a Past President of the Washington State Golf Association and a Trustee of the Pacific Coast Golf Association. A 7 handicap, John is currently a member of the USGA Green Section and a Director of the WSGA.