The Four Foundations of Golf

updated 29 Apr 2023

John Sherman: Manage your expectations to play better golf

The four foundations of Golf is book written by John Sherman of practical-golf.com. He plays off a +2 handicap and his book will help you "become a happier more fulfilled golfer through expectation Management"

Expectation Management

John worst experience in Golf was when he was in his twenties golfing with his Dad and he broke a club in frustration. His Dad left the course in disgust without saying a word to him. Understanding how much your practice and play and what you're out on the course to do, have fun, by challenging yourself, and spending time outside in a beautiful setting. Yes you can play for those scores and that handicap but understand that this is a game.


Play the back number and embrace your driver. 3 wood and 3 hybrid are not necessarily more accurate. Dispersion on a 3 wood is about the same as a driver for mid and low handicappers. He shares lots of great data about not being aggressive enough off the tee and less aggressive with iron shots. With your irons and long wedge shots, just attempt to get it on the green, play the back number, and get it on the green, you don't need to be shaping it into the pin, just worry about getting it on the green. "The meat of the green is never a bag target".


At the foundation of Practice there is the idea of building a reliable routine for every single shot. He had the chance to golf with a Superbowl kicker and he asked the kicker how he kicked game winning field goals and he was actually able to do through his pre-kick routine, it was so ingrained in his system.

The other element of practice is work on great contact. Making great contact with the ball is the secret to better golf.. Professional golfers never ever have contact misses, and plus handicappers rarely do. They have directional misses but not contact misses. Making great contact every single time will significantly reduce score and is really the ultimate point of the game. Even if you only have a net to work with, working on making great turf contact, face control, and making sure you're hitting the ball with the center of the club face will do wonders for your golf game. He does not necessarily encourage getting super technical with swing mechanics, "Be an athlete" and learn to hit the ball through hitting a lot of golf balls, aka "Swing your swing" baby!

Lastly, Physical fitness. John encourages weight lifting. Lifting weight will help mitigate injury and help with mobility. He was able to fix his lower back that was injured through golf with dead lifting. He also encourages swing speed training in the right settings to increase explosiveness.

Sharp Mental Game

Lastly Golf is obviously a mental game. Strengthening the mental game will improve your scores and your overall experience on the course. Every shot is its own independant event, and each shot needs to approached fresh. There is no reason or need to carry over the highs or lows of the previous shot. John encourages using meditation apps and breathing exercises to learn how to become aware of when the game is coming off the rails, and things you can do get the train back on the tracks through awareness.

Where to buy the book

Amazon Link