Christmas gifts for golf lovers are always tricky to get right, but a good book on the sport is something all golfers would be glad to receive. Here we take a look at 10 of the best golf books ever published:
Golf in the Kingdom by Michael Murphy
En-route to India, on a quest to find enlightenment, the young author stops in Scotland for a last round of golf. To that extent, the book is factual. But things then take a much more unusual (and fictional) turn, as he lands a game with the charismatic professional “Shivas Irons,” and embarks on a metaphysical and spiritual journey to discover his inner golfer. This is a fabulously surreal look at the sport.
Preferred Lies by Andrew Greig
Convalescing after undergoing brain surgery the author and poet Andrew Greig decides to dust down his golf clubs, having not played for a number of years. He then begins a golfing tour to try and uncover the essence of golf. Beautifully written with wonderful descriptions of the courses he visits, the people he meets and the shots he plays, this is a captivating read.
Four Iron in the Soul by Lawrence Donegan
Donegan, a former musician then golf correspondent for The Guardian, spent a summer caddying for Scottish professional Ross Drummond. This is a very funny account of those months. Donegan gives a different perspective on the pro tour – the stress, the fine margins between success and failure, the laughs and the strange characters attached to the circuit.
The Greatest Game Ever Played by Mark Frost
The incredible story of the 1913 U.S. Open in which a 20-year-old American amateur called Francis Ouimet took on, and defeated, British golfing legends Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. This is a magnificent piece of historical writing as well as storytelling. Frost sets the scene by introducing the main characters with complete backstory, as well as describing the social and political setting. He then vividly re-lives the incredible tournament that was eventually decided in an 18-hole playoff.
Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr Bob Rotella
The bible of golf psychology: This book has helped countless players from struggling beginners to top tour pros. The book provides an examination of the golfer’s mind and advises how players can improve their mental approach to the game. It might seem like common sense, but so few golfers are actually able to maintain a calm and rational attitude on the course – this book will help you to do that.
Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf
Written together with legendary American golf writer Herbert Warren Wind, this is generally regarded as one of the greatest instructional books ever published. It has stood the test of time and Hogan’s straightforward and measured approach to the game comes through on the pages.
Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and teachings from a lifetime in golf
Penick spent more than 60 years coaching golfers of all standards. He helped those starting out in the game as well as top professionals like Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw. With a lifetime’s experience to draw on, the Texan imparts his wisdom via a carefully chosen selection of tips, anecdotes and recollections. Some are on the technical aspects of the game while others focus more on the proper way a golfer should behave in order to earn the respect of fellow players. If you enjoy this, there’s more of the same in his “Little Green Book.”
The Golf Omnibus by P.G. Wodehouse
This is a wonderful collection of short stories by the creator of Jeeves and Wooster. “The Oldest Member” tells a series of tales in which a selection of hilarious characters battle with their games in typically farcical circumstances.
Golf My Way by Jack Nicklaus
This is a comprehensive look at the technique and game of the greatest player to ever wield a club. Jack admits his style won’t suit everyone, but you’ll learn a huge amount from studying his technique whether you choose to try and replicate his action or not. He talks about how to hit the shots he favours and he recounts a number of the best shots of his career.
Golf Dreams by John Updike
One of the finest 20th Century American writers, Updike was also a keen golfer. In this superbly written collection of golf essays, he describes the game as he and most mere golfing mortals experience it. He captures the raw spirit of the golfer and gets to the heart of this great game in the most poetic way.