10 books every golfer should read

10 books every golfer should read

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Golf has permeated our culture like few other sports have. It has found its way into our movies, TV shows, magazines and of course books. While the appeal of picking up a hardcover book and reading it front to back is diminishing, that doesn’t diminish the quality of some great books on golf – as the saying goes about sports writing, the smaller the ball, the better it to write.

In honor of National Library Week and World Book Day, here are 10 great books you need to read.

A good walk spoiled: days and nights on the PGA tour by John Feinstein

(Amazon)

Feinstein paints the golf world in a way that has never been captured before. Feinstein gets inside the minds of some of the game’s greatest players, as well as struggling newcomers. Journey through some of golf’s great moments, like Davis Love III’s epic comeback victory in the Ryder Cup.

Feinstein expertly describes: “In one week you have discovered the secret of the game; the next week you’ll never want to play it again,” which sums up each man’s relationship with golf.

The Big Miss: My Years as Tiger Woods’ Coach by Hank Haney

(Amazon)

It’s no coincidence that Tiger won six majors during Haney’s six years as Tiger’s swing coach. He was by his side both on and off the course, streamlining Tiger’s mechanics and discovering what made the athlete tick.

Despite all his criticism, he is only looking for understanding. Tiger’s most dominant fear on the course was “the big miss,” a shot so terrible it ruins the entire round. Haney gives us a metaphorical twist.

The best game ever played by Mark Frost

(Amazon)

This is the famous story of working-class boy Francis Ouimet, who grew up across the street from the Country Club and would play the US Open on the same course in 1913.

Against all odds, and with his 10-year-old caddy by his side, he takes home the title in an 18-hole play-off against the great Harry Vardon. One of the biggest stories in amateur golf.

Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game by Dr. Joe Parent

(Amazon)

The best players know that golf is a game of self-confidence, and especially concentration: the ability to focus and block out distractions. The goal of achieving clear thinking is also at the heart of Buddhist teachings. In his highly original and groundbreaking book, renowned PGA coach and Buddhist instructor Dr. Joseph Parent uses this natural connection to teach golfers how to clear their minds, achieve ultimate focus and play in the moment with every shot.

Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible

(Amazon)

This book is considered current for advanced golfers, so it may be a bit overwhelming. But golfers who understand the importance of playing golf within 100 yards are better off than most golfers. Improve your game significantly and read up.

My Life In and Out of the Rough: The Truth Behind All That Bullshit You Think You Know About Me by John Daly with Glen Wagoner

(Amazon)

John Daly’s tumultuous life has been well documented over the years. ESPN is recent 30 for 30 is a great detail from the career of this beloved golfer. Learn about the man before he hit the big screen with his amazing autobiography. He talks about his gambling, addiction, multiple divorces and even the great golf he played.

The Bogey Man: A Month on the PGA Tour by George Plimpton

(Amazon)

Happily enough to write in the less guarded era of golf, when entry to the Tour was not as regulated, Plimpton gives a weekend golfer’s perspective from the ropes. He discusses not only the pros, but also strange caddies, smart officials and cocktail-sipping fanatics. His writing style is truly unique.

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Lessons from a Lifetime of Golf

(Amazon)

In golf instruction, it is not what you say that gets through to the student, but rather how you say it. No one said it better than Harvey Penick. He gave his life to the game and had the gift of making it sound so simple.

Whether it was hitting a big winner or helping a novice student get the ball in the air, his dedication was the same. He wrote down tips and tricks in a red, spiral-bound notebook after each work day at Austin Country Club to create a book that would eventually become one of the best-selling golf books of all time.

Slaying The Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour by Shane Rya

(Amazon)

One of the more recently published books on this list, Killing the tiger by Shane Ryan reads like a series of feature articles on each tournament from the 2014 PGA Tour season.

Many of the key players profiled in Ryan’s book – Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler – are still the biggest names in the game today. Get to know the players you watch every week on Tour a little better.

Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan

(Amazon)

Ben Hogan had no access to modern technology, yet discovered aspects of the golf swing that remain valuable to this day. Hogan found his answers in the dirt through a finger-to-bone work ethic unlike anything we’d seen before. This book is a must-read for golfers of all levels.


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