Need a new book to read or looking for the perfect Christmas present? Here are the best golf books.
Best Golf Books
This could never be a definitive list, rather a steer to books that will certainly entertain and educate. Some of the finest players to compete in the game, and some truly fine authors, have taken to writing and we have tried to include as many of their books as possible below.
Also if you want more buying advice, we recommend checking out a couple of the other posts below to make sure you have the perfect gift for yourself or a golfing loved one!
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Best Golf Books
Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book
This must be one of the most digestible books ever written as Penick and his co-author Bud Shrake take you through one of the greatest instruction books of all time through a collection of anecdotes.
It was only written in 1992 when Penick, who coached the Hall of Famers Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls and Kathy Whitworth, was in his late 80s – and he would die in 1995 just before Crenshaw won his second Masters. It is the highest-selling golf book and is an absolute must read if you’re looking for some practical and mental help which, basically, all of us are.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $14.19
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £13.57
Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, Ben Hogan
If ever there was a player that you would want to pick the brains on the golf swing it would be Hogan who many still regard as the greatest ball striker of all time. Ask Jack Nicklaus who he thinks is the best swinger ever and he’ll tell you it’s Hogan.
The nine-time major winner believed that any golfer with a modicum of skill could break 80 and in the Five Lessons he breaks down the swing into five parts – grip, stance, backswing, downswing and the swing process.
In each chapter he explains and demonstrates each part of the swing with clear illustrations and, along with Penick, it is the most thumbed golf illustration book of all time. It was initially released as a five-part series in Sports Illustrated in 1957.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $9.79
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £4.99
Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect, Dr Bob Rotella
All Rotella books are worth a read and he’s pretty much the go-to name in golf pyschology – ask Padraig Harrington how important he’s been for his career, he’s also worked with the likes of Nick Price, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.
Through a collection of brilliant and fascinating anecdotes Rotella will help the casual golfer to learn from the greats of the game and it’s all very easy to follow rather than needing a degree in psychology to unravel it. You’ll read this and then want to read it all over again and then find yourself dipping back into your favourite and most relevant chapters in the years to come.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $24.39
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £6.75
Caddy For Life: The Bruce Edwards Story, John Feinstein
Like Rotella you can’t really fail when you pick up a Feinstein book, be it about golf or any other sport. His exhaustive research, incredible knowledge and easy-going pace make his books a hugely pleasurable experience and this is no exception – I must have cried for at least 80 per cent of this when flying through it in a couple of days on holiday.
Bruce Edwards, who caddied for Tom Watson in all of his eight major wins, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2003, a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. His life is brilliantly and poignantly chronicled by Feinstein – he died in April 2004 at the age of 49.
US Buy Now at Amazon from £13.37
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £12.99
The Match, Mark Frost
Frost is best known as the co-creator of Twin Peaks but his contribution to golf writing is immense. The Match is set in 1956 at Cypress Point, one of the most iconic and beautiful courses on the planet, and the story of the greatest private match is then told through the recollections of the four players.
The match was pulled together when Eddie Lowery, once upon a time caddy to Francis Ouimet, claimed that two of his car salesmen – US Amateur champion Harvie Ward and the young Ken Venturi – could beat anyone. Fellow millionaire George Coleman then turned up with Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.
Other outstanding golf books by Frost are The Greatest Game Ever Played and The Grand Slam.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $13.60
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £4.77
To The Linksland, Michael Bamberger
Bamberger wrote this after caddying the 1991 season on the European Tour and then playing the linksland in Scotland. The journeyman Peter Teravainen, a practising Buddhist and graduate from Yale, was his player and the story takes them through Europe and into the lives of those playing the tour in the early 90s.
In Scotland Bamberger meets John Stark, a teaching pro at Crieff GC, and a mystic who taught the American that ‘to feel the proper tempo of a swing, you have to hear the swing’. From there he tackles the likes of the Old Course, Cruden Bay, Prestwick and Royal Dornoch with the new ‘secret’ before a ground-breaking trip to Machrihanish. A great book for your golfing soul from a journalist who remains at the top of his game to this day.
US Buy Now at Amazon
UK Buy Now at Amazon
Uneven Lies, Pete McDaniel
A narrative on the history of African-Americans in the game which begins with the 1896 US Open where black players first took part in national competition. It features over 250 never-before-seen photos and it tells the rich history of a people’s struggle to find a place in American golf.
This book recognises the sacrifices made by so many and gives a very different insight into some familiar courses – the foreword comes from Tiger Woods.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $22
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £13.32
Unconscious Putting, Dave Stockton
The title should be enough for most of us to give this a go. Stockton believes that every player has their own ‘signature stroke’ and it’s all about tapping into that through visualisation, the right frame of mind, your pre-shot routine and connection to the shot to make more putts rather than obsessing about the mechanics. It’s not about over-thinking things, more getting into the right mindset to knocking it in.
Whatever your ability Stockton will be able to help you and there are some handy hints on green reading and choosing the right putter.
Stockton was instrumental in helping Phil Mickelson land the 2010 Masters and he has also assisted with the likes of Annika Sorenstam and Rory McIlroy.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $19.94
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £21.31
Golf My Way, Jack Nicklaus
How could you not include a book from the leading major winner of all time? Unlike other books by the Golden Bear, which have focused solely on tips, this gives us a proper look into his approach to the game.
New material has been added to include a ‘Reflections and Recommendations’ chapter which tells the reader why he added a certain element to his game and how his mental game evolved over the years. If you think how fascinating is in a 10-minute chat on Sky Sports then this promises to be an enlightening read, how could it not be?
US Buy Now at Amazon from $17.06
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £8.80
The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods, Hank Haney
This might not have lived up to the hype but it’s a great reveal into certain aspects of Tiger’s swing and life after their six years together – TW himself called it ‘unprofessional and very disappointing. I think people understand this book is about money’.
If you want a few tidbits.. Woods is allegedly a bad tipper, he was put out by Ian Poulter ‘mooching’ a lift on his private jet, he thinks Phil Mickelson is ‘too opinionated’ and, while Haney is quick to point out how grateful he is to work with Tiger, he picks plenty of holes in his character. As for Tiger’s indiscretions Haney is quick to point out that caddy Steve Williams was ignorant of anything.
Ahead of his resignation Haney, in a series of texts, wrote to Woods ‘I feel like I have been a great friend to you, I don’t feel I have gotten that in return’. Which probably explains plenty.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $14.93
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £8.34
Zen Golf, Dr. Joseph Parent
Dr Joseph Parent is both a noted PGA Tour coach and a respected Buddhist teacher. In this book, he teaches golfers how to play with more consistency and less frustration, and consequently how to lower their scores.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $12.64
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £9.72
How I Play Golf, Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods reveals the five secrets to his amazing success in this book. It features a combination of physical, metaphysical and psychological practices that he used daily to stay at the top.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $15.89
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £15.45
A Life Well Played: My Stories (Commemorative Edition), Arnold Palmer
The commemorative edition of the instant New York Times bestseller–now with a foreword by Jack Nicklaus.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $14.79
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £14.27
Dream On: One Hacker’s Challenge to Break Par in a Year, John Richardson
John Richardson – a regular bloke who enjoys a round of golf in his spare time – set himself the challenge of playing a scratch round at Clandeboye Golf Club within twelve months, and spent an exhausting and exhilarating year living, breathing, eating and sleeping golf, while trying to hold down a full-time job, a marriage and semblance of family life.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $14.25
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £9.72
The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup, John Feinstein
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Good Walk Spoiled, a dramatic chronicle of the bitterly-fought 2016 Ryder Cup pitting a U.S. team out for revenge against the Europeans determined to keep the Cup out of American hands.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $19.99
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £22.50
The Bogey Man: A Month On The PGA Tour, George Plimpton
What happens when a weekend athlete – of average skill at best – joins the professional golf circuit? George Plimpton spent a month of self-imposed torture on the PGA tour to find out, meeting amateurs, pros, caddies, officials, fans and hangers-on along the way.
US Buy Now at Amazon from $16.85
UK Buy Now at Amazon from £7.78
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