Being a fan of golf, it was natural for me to collect several books on the subject. I’m actually thirty-two. This collection is eclectic in that it covers every aspect of the game that has been written about. Some of these books were gifted to me, but most were bought during my years of chasing this crazy game. (Or is the game driving you crazy?)
For the interest of other golf fans looking for a good book on the game to read, I have categorized my collection by subject. True, you can argue with my categorization, but it should help anyone looking for a particular aspect of the game. Next, my collection is divided into the following categories.
• Historical (Ancient writings about the game)
• Collections of comments and quotes from writers and players
• The mental side of the game
• Architecture course
Historical: These are reprints of three of the oldest known books on the game.
Thistle Golf Club Rules by John Cundell, 1824. This is a copy of the first book on golf, containing an attempt to establish a history of the game, as well as the rules in effect at the time the book was written.
Some Inconsistent Observations About Golf by Robert Chambers, 1862. This book is the third book on the game ever published and offers Mr. Chambers reflections on the instruction and rules of the game.
Kicks and others by Bernard Darwin, 1911. A collection of essays by Bernard Darwin. Darwin was a world-class player who never lost his passion for the game. He was known for never quoting a player. Once, when asked if he was going to attend an interview with a new British Open champion, he snorted: “My readers want to know why I think he won, not why that fool thinks he won.
The next category is a collection of writings, comments, and anecdotes from and about golfers of all shapes and sizes.
Passion for golf, edited by Schuyler Bishops, 1998. A collection of pieces written by the best sports writers of the last fifty years that reveal the inseparable relationship between this game and life.
Great golf stories, edited by Robert Trent Jones, 1982. A comprehensive collection of writings on the game. It offers the best that has been written with ongoing commentary from one of the best course architects.
“And then Jack told Arnie”, edited by Don Wade, 1991. Don Wade has been covering the professional tour and collecting true stories about players and the game since 1970. This is a collection of his stories.
The profitable golfer, edited by Gary McCord, 2000. This book is a rich compendium of quotes that reflect the history, lore, agony, and excitement of the game from Will Rogers to Tiger Woods.
Golf instruction. No collection would be complete without books on instruction. I never kept all the instruction books I bought, but these few that I have left include a couple of very good ones.
Tiger Woods – How I Play Golf by Tiger Woods, 2001. Tiger Woods how to play the game. Do I need to say more?
Classic golf instruction by Christopher Obetz, 2005. Lessons from Jack Nicklaus and Others with Amazing Drawings by Anthony Ravielli. Ravielli’s drawing rewards the reader with an incredible insight into the golfer’s body at work.
Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book by Harvey Penick, 1992. Harvey Penick’s notebook of his teaching years. It gives him his practical wisdom by eliminating the technicalities and helps golfers play their best.
Suitable for golf from Gary Player, 1995. One hundred exercises that will improve your game.
Punctuation elements by Raymond Floyd, 1998. Raymond Floyd’s lessons on getting the ball into the cup with the fewest strokes.
See it and immerse it by Dr. Craig Farnsworth, 1997. An instructional book on how to improve your putting by teaching you how to better see the line and hit the ball into the hole.
The impact zone by Bobby Clampett, 2007. This book is a unique guide to teaching a golfer to understand how to improve his swing to achieve better impact of his club on his ball.
Think like a tiger by John Andrisani, 2002. An analysis of Tiger Woods’ mind game based on John Andrisani’s experience as Tiger’s teacher from ages 10 to 18 and his interaction with Tiger’s family and acquaintances during those years.
The architecture of the golf course is its own particular type of design. Here are some books on the subject written by some of the great masters of the art, as well as one of the younger generation.
Golf by design by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. 1993. Jones leads golfers from the tee to the green by detailing how architects pose challenges and offer the player strategies to cope with them.
Golf, as it was meant to be played by Michael Fay, 2000. Scottish-born Donald Ross designed more than 400 courses in the United States and Canada. In this book, Michael Fay takes the reader on a walk through 18 of Ross’s masterfully designed holes chosen from courses in the USA.
Golf never failed me by Donald J. Ross, 1996. Donald Ross’s missing comments on architecture, course maintenance, and everything else. These comments were written before 1914, they were meant to be published at that time, but for some reason they were never published. They came to light after Ross’s death in 1948.
Sandy Lyle takes you through the championship fields of Scotland by Sandy Lyle with Bob Ferrier, 1982. Sandy Lyle takes the reader through fairways and greens describing the challenges of six of Scotland’s best courses. Several photographs and a schematic of each hole described are shown.
The anatomy of a golf course by Tom Doaks, 1992. Tom Doaks discusses his craft and explains the strategies behind an architect’s decisions when laying out a field and how he plans to have the field played.
The mental side of the game. Golf is the game that sometimes makes players go crazy. This game has been said to reflect all the positive and negative aspects of life. No wonder so much has been written about this. Here are several books that cover the mental side of the game.
Golf and the spirit by M. Scott Peck, 1999. In this book, M. Scott Peck writes a book for both beginners and teachers. It goes beyond mechanics to explore the deeper issues, the ways to manage the emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of this wonderful, maddening, deflating and inspiring game.
The golfer’s guide to the meaning of life by Gary Player, 2001. Fifteen Gary Player Lessons from “Why Play Golf” to “Sportsmanship” and “Motivation” ending with “The Eternal Game.”
Golf dreams by John Updike, 1996. John Updike reflects on gambling and its mental challenges.
Golf for lighting by Deepak Chapra, 2003. This book is a fascinating story about Adam, who is playing a terrible round, when he meets a young teacher named Leda. In seven short but profound lessons, he teaches Adam the essence of the game that explains a lot about life itself.
A good spoiled ride by John Feinstein, 1995. John Feinstein has written an account of the life of a professional golfer on the PGA Tour.
Links by Lorne Rubenstein, 1991. Links is about the essence, mystique and intrigue of the game, and the magic that attracts people from all over the world.
Finally, golf humor. If you play regularly, you must have a sense of humor about the game and, in particular, about your game. These are some of the funniest books ever written.
Divots, Shanks, Gimmes, Mulligans and Chili Dips by Glen Wagoner, 1993. The first half of this book is about Wagoner’s life on the road as a writer and observer. The second half covers the life of a hacker, throwing clubs and everything in between.
Golf ability by Stephen Potter, 1968. Fun lessons on tactics and stratagems that a player can use to win.
The Down Hill Lie by Carl Hiassen, 2008. Carl Hiassen’s chronicle of his shaky return to the game after a 30-year absence and the consequent demolition of his self-esteem will have you rolling with laughter. A book for all game lovers.
Golf à la carte by Peter Dobereiner, 1991. A collection of some of the best works of Peter Dobereiner, dean of golf writers and surely one of the funniest men to ever touch a pen and hit a club.
The art of rough golf by Michael Green, 1967. Humorous anecdotes about a hacker’s experiences in the course.
And probably the prize from my golf humor collection:
The Golf Omnibus by PG. Wodehouse, 1914. Thirty-one humorous tales from the fairway to the green, from the clubhouse to the master of comic fiction’s sand trap.
Hope you enjoyed viewing my useful collection. It should keep you reading about the game for some time, and I hope they make you laugh along the way.