Improving golf does not always have to be done through intense training sessions and everyday practice.
Sometimes, all you need is a good book to guide you — or at the very least, to get you on the right track.
Here are some of the BEST GOLF BOOKS that you should check out!
The Best Golf Books: Instructional Guide Books
The first few books are all about fundamentals, perfecting your swings, and other practical tips!
Here are some great picks!
1. Little Red Book by Harvey Penick
Leave it all to Penick to guide you through everything that there is to know about the golf world.
If you have time to spare for ANY golf book ever written at all, then let this be your pick — it’s one of the MOST ACCESSIBLE AND USEFUL GOLF INSTRUCTION BOOKS out there.
You can expect to read about the following in comprehensive detail:
- Simplified explanations of the rules of the game
- Anecdotes supporting some philosophies to apply when in-game
- Practical tips to follow for better form
- Advice and observations from an industry professional
Among these, what makes HarveyPenick’s Little Red BookEXTRASPECIAL is how EASY it is to digest for everyone.
This is why it has become a STAPLE READ among fans, beginners, and seasoned golfers alike.
To further understand the credibility behind this seemingly handy manual, it would be best to learn more details about the author himself.
Who Is Harvey Penick?
Penick coined the famous line “take dead aim” in golf — you can’t ever leave golf courses anymore without hearing it during the game!
But more than this, Harvey Penick also has a reputation in the golf industry for being the head pro at Austin Country Club for over 50 years.
He has coached the following Hall of Famers throughout his entire career:
- Tom Kite
- Ben Crenshaw
- Betsy Rawls
- Mickey Wright
- Kathy Whitworth
His years of experience allowed him to collect his thoughts on the intricacies of golf well into his 80s.
Finally, in 1992, Harvey Penick’s Little Red Bookwas officially penned and published with the help of Bud Shrake. This was made for golf enthusiasts worldwide to appreciate the sport even more.
This is a best-selling golf book filled with great insight and reflection that you should get your hands on!
2. Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan
We can’t talk about amazing golf books without mentioning Hogan’s The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.
It was initially released as a five-part series in Sports Illustrated in 1957 before being published in 1985.
As a golf instruction book, Hogan was able to depict the life of your average golf player through illustrations, drawings, and diagrams — which is GREAT, especially if you’re just a beginner in golf!
Hogan’s expertise as one of the BEST GOLF SWINGERS in history carefully instructs his readers by guiding them through the following golf swing basics:
- Swing Grip
- Swing Stance and Posture
- Parts of the Swing — backswing, downswing, swing process
Additionally, Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons is presented in the first-person voice.
And this is where criticism arises following the book:
- On the one hand, this makes the instruction manual more personal and easier to follow — in a way, YOU get to put yourself in the shoes of one of the greatest players in golf history.
- On the other hand, this could often feel impersonal when he simply RETELLS his story rather than TEACH.
Regardless, the perspective doesn’t get in the way of teaching you the basics of your swing. Five Lessons by Ben Hogan is still one of the best starter instructional golf books you can read right now!
3. Golf My Way by Jack Nicklaus
Published in 1974, Jack Nicklaus provides the industry with a play-by-play on golf that has stood the test of time.
Jack Nicklaus has won 117 PROFESSIONAL TOURNAMENTS throughout his entire golf career. This credibility allows him to provide great insights for golf enthusiasts everywhere on the following:
- Sport management
- Short game tips
- Practice routines
- Player analysis
- Swing philosophy
Following this, professionals often regard his writing structure as widely contributing to how Golf My Way has become one of the most detailed instructional books.
Nicklaus creatively shares UNIQUE outlooks and techniques all types of players can adopt.
So What Else is There to Criticize?
Well, critics note that his plays may be too UNCONVENTIONAL for some — especially his swing patterns and techniques.
This has often led others to disprove the effectiveness of Nicklaus’ book.
Despite this, industry players still appreciate such information for them to assess which styles work for them the best.
Golf My Way has sold more than 2 million companies since its release!
4. How I Play Golf by Tiger Woods
We all know who Tiger Woods is: the most decorated PGA Tour player, winner of the sport’s biggest events, and one of the most famous ATHLETES in the history of modern sports.
This is why getting your hands on this book can definitely help in giving you a better perspective about the game.
To preface, Tiger Woods touches on ALL the fundamentals that you need to know about the sport:
- Short game and long game basics
- Putting, grip, stroke, and alignment
- Proper posture and stance
- Types of shots
- Swing analysis
Woods will particularly help you develop your backswing and downswing.
He synthesizes all of these by talking about his own experiences on the golf course — easing you into how you should treat golf courses as your own as well.
Additionally, you can expect to learn more about the physical and psychological aspects of the game through text, pictures, and slow-motion photography as effective guides.
Tiger Woods’ How I Play Golf is overall regarded as one of the best golf books you can read for its attention to detail and instruction clarity.
5. Short Game Bible: Master the Finesse Swing and Lower Your Score by Dave Pelz
Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible is the FIRST BOOK in his four-book series “The Dave Pelz Scoring Game Series.”
In this book, Pelz focuses on the improvement of your short game.
It’s an easy-to-follow guide for you to get those LOW SCORES for a better rank. You can expect to see the following:
- Informative texts and step-by-step guides
- Charts and photos for visualization
- Innovative tests and exercises
Pelz approaches the typical golf book in a UNIQUE WAY by helping you find your own personal weaknesses.
Others would instead let you correct wrong practices, making the guides feel impersonal to the player.
To look at how he developed his methodology, it would be best to learn more about Pelz himself.
Who is Dave Pelz?
Pelz specializes in the short game. He willingly shares his knowledge and teaches golfers through his many golf schools and clinics.
More importantly, Pelz was also a former NASA physicist, emphasizing his value for research and scientific data.
These experiences have given his methodology and skill a great reputation in the industry!
Ultimately, his clinics have attracted top golfers like Tom Kite and Lee Janzen for guidance.
That said, you can say that Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible is in itself: a short game BIBLE.
The Best Golf Books: Mental Fortitude Books
Aside from books that teach you all the fundamentals and physical tips of the game, there are also many great books that teach you mental toughness while playing!
Let’s take a look at some of them!
1. Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella
Golf is indeed not a game of perfect.
Dr. Rotella could not have emphasized this more.
This book works so well among all other mental fortitude golf books because Dr. Rotella establishes a conversational relationship with his readers.
The topics the book tackles are all about how to BE GROUNDED during all of the stages of your game. It achieves this well among many other things:
- Less jargon for easier understanding
- Engaging tips to encourage mental adoption
- Memorable quotes and anecdotes for better retention
Although others may find Dr. Rotella’s advice too generalized, we find that he is still a credible professional worth listening to — he’s a sports psychologist known to teach golfers like Nick Price and Davis Love.
Psychology in golf is still a growing field, and Dr. Rotella has been one of the main players so far.
So if you want to read a simple and straightforward mental realignment golf book, we highly suggest you check this one out.
2. Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game by Dr. Joseph Parent
Dr. Parent has coached several PGA Tour pros, adopting many philosophies from being a Buddhist teacher.
Dr. Parent shares these experiences through his book Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game.
Zen Golf teaches golfers this by following the PAR framework:
This is in line with how Parent emphasizes CONSISTENCY and LESS FRUSTRATION while in-game.
The PAR framework plays well with the philosophy of treating golf as a play at the moment rather than a systematic and straight-cut sport.
Overall, Pelz crafts a really good golf book for BOTH amateurs and professionals to find their mental footing and fight off your on-course demons while out on the golf course.
The Best Golf Books: Anecdotal Books
If you want to read some of the most popular golfing stories about some legendary players, then get yourself some anecdotal books!
Here are a few to check out!
1. Mark Frost Collection
Mark Frost is a well-known novelist, screenwriter, film-and-television producer and director. Yet, his contribution to golf writing is commendable.
This section will look at three of his books that we think are essential reads.
The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever
The Match sees amateurs Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi against pros Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson in 1956 at Cypress Point.
Often described as a suspenseful battle story, it started with a BET by Francis Ouimet’s caddie, Eddie Lowery. The bet was how two car salesmen could beat ANYONE in golf.
The industry refers to this amateur vs. pros game as the GREATEST PRIVATE MATCH ever played!
The Greatest Game Ever Played: A True Story
The Greatest Game Ever Played is another of Mark Frost’s works, a highly commended anecdotal golf book.
Here, he tells the story of Francis Ouimet and Harry Vardon, who are famous for breaking social barriers to play the game.
The two battled it out on the 1913 U.S. Open at Brookline in Massachusetts over an 18-hole playoff. It’s a story on the golf course that has helped the sport RISE IN POPULARITY in the U.S.
The Grand Slam: Bobby Jones, America, and the Story of Golf
Rounding up this list of Mark Frost works is a story about the Grand Slam of 1930.
In this story, Frost retells how Bobby Jones singlehandedly popularized the grand slam term following a SWEEP of all of the sport’s biggest events.
This is an inspiring story of how Jones’s career took off AFTER the stock market crash in 1929.
2. Caddy for Life: The Bruce Edwards Story, by John Feinstein
John Feinstein is one of the most decorated sports authors today.
He has a way of retelling amazing storiesso that you would pick it up DESPITE not being a fan of the sport.
In Caddy for Life, Feinstein tells the story of Bruce Edwards, who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2004 at age 49.
What Is the Bruce Edwards Story?
You cannot get into golf without ever hearing about the inspirational Bruce Edwards.
He is simply the MOST FAMOUS CADDIE in professional golf:
- Caddied for Tom Watson
- Won eight major events together
- He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2003
- Died in April 2004 at the age of 49
Lou Gehrig’s is a progressive disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain AND spinal cord.
To not get into much detail about the story, let’s leave it at that.
Feinstein incorporates his extensive research, industry knowledge, and emotional writing to beautifully tell golf stories (and industry secrets) only a life-long caddie like Edwards would know.
3. A Course Called Ireland by Tom Coyne
Curious about the many golf destinations around the world?
This book by Coyne provides great insight into the seaside course in Ireland.
With great humor and attention to detail, Coyne walks his readers through the 1,967,680 yards of Ireland’s golf courses that HE has also walked through.
It’s a GREAT way to immerse the sport’s nuances in the most unique way possible.
4. A Life Well-Played: My Stories by Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer is often referred to as The King of Golf!
With multiple PGA Tour titles under his name, Palmer puts out a CHARISMATIC PLAY STYLE that keeps everyone reeled into his personality,contributing to his fame.
A Life Well-Played is a special gift to the golfing world as FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS from the man himself were finally shared with the public.
What Specific Stories Can Golf Fans Expect?
The PGA Tour champion shares never-before-seen pictures of his life.
See, The King KNOWS what his fans would want to see and hear about — he’s great at that, a natural people-person.
In this book, he shares the following as if he were talking to anyone as his friends:
- Challenges faced throughout his career
- Friendships and rivalries on the course
- Family, business, and personal adventures
- Insights and advice for fans and players alike
- History of “Arnie’s Army”
However, the highlight of this book is how Arnie shares his thoughts and feelings on the moniker The King. It’s anecdotes like this that make his stories more MAGICAL than they already are!
A Life Well-Played has a foreword from his long-time competitor and great friend Jack Nicklaus.
That in itself is a testament to his charisma and character! Arnie Palmer was a man of integrity more than a competitive spirit.
The Best Golf Books: The Honorable Mentions
There are A LOT of golf books that you should read.
If you still have time, here are 7 other books that we recommend for you to check out:
- The Last Stand of Payne Stewart: The Year Golf Changed Forever by Kevin Robbins
- Unconscious Putting: Dave Stockton’s Guide to Unlocking Your Signature Stroke by Dave Stockton
- The Natural Golf Swing by George Knudson
- Dead Solid Perfect by Dan Jenkins
- Golf in the Kingdom by Michael Murphy
- A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour by John Feinstein
- Dream Golf: The Making of Bandon Dunes by Stephen Goodwin
Did you enjoy our list of the BEST GOLF BOOKS for you to check out? A golf nut like you should definitely widen your perspectives on the sport by expanding on genres.
By following the approach laid out in this article (Instructional, Mental Fortitude, Anecdotal), you get the COMPLETE GOLFER EXPERIENCE.
Relive the dream golf tour life with the players in these stories and fall in love with the sport all over again.
Have any other good golf book or golf magazine in mind? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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