50 Words or Less
Gary Player: A Game for Life is a 3 DVD set packed with 4 hours of lessons from the Black Knight. Topics include sand play, practice, short game, putting, diet, and fitness. Entertaining and informative.
If you’ve ever seen Gary Player on TV, you know that he doesn’t lack for energy or things to say. In Gary Player: A Game for Life, this golf legend has the opportunity to stretch out and share his accumulated wisdom on everything from diet to bunker play. Unlike many instructional DVDs, this isn’t a library of 2 minute clips, but long form lessons from one of the game’s best.
The first disc is divided into two sections: Sand Play and Practice. Mr. Player is one of the best bunker players in history, so there’s obviously a truckload of useful information there. The only problem is that it’s not organized in any particular way, so it’s a bit harder to take away a cohesive message. I’d recommend jotting down notes as you watch and trying to organize it at a later time, perhaps after a second viewing. The Practice segment deals with both how to practice and the full swing. This is my favorite section because it has some of Mr. Player’s best stories. It’s pretty cool to hear a living legend talking about his swing discussions with other former greats.
The second disc covers Short Game and Putting. Again, the information isn’t really organized, but that’s both a strength and weakness. Mr. Player shows you how to hit all kinds of different shots and, importantly, when it’s appropriate to hit them. The course management aspect of the short game section could shave many strokes from the scorecards of weekend golfers.
The final disc includes sections on fitness, diet, and an interview. Any golf fan knows that Mr. Player was and is legendary for his fitness routine which was decades ahead of its time. In these areas, Mr. Player does a good job of both showing you what he does and making more realistic recommendations for the everyday golfer. I don’t know how much of Mr. Player’s routines are based on modern science versus a “common sense/this worked for me” approach, but the things that he recommends broadly are hard to argue with.
Unlike most of the golf instruction DVDs that have come out over the last few years, A Game for Life isn’t broken up into dozens of short chapters. Instead, it’s presented as long-form discussions, approximately 30-45 minutes, on each topic. This makes the viewing more pleasant and more cohesive, but it does make it more difficult to go back and re-watch the sections that you need most.
Peter Kessler is listed as the co-host of these DVDs, but he plays a fairly minimal role. He serves to hand clubs to Mr. Player and ask questions to move things forward. He should, however, be applauded for his acting when he tells Mr. and Mrs. Player that their green juice (kale, celery, etc) “isn’t unpleasant.”
Overall, if you enjoy Mr. Player, you’ll enjoy watching these DVDs. The way the information is presented allows him to “stretch out,” talk more, and share more of his personality and experiences with the viewer.
Unlike many instructional DVDs, I would recommend A Game for Life even if you aren’t looking to remake your swing or fix your short game. The format makes this entertaining viewing for any golf enthusiast as Mr. Player shares stories, hits shots, and throws out tons of useful nuggets of information.