It was really hard to narrow down my collection of golf books to just these ten. I’ve included books for those about to make that golf pilgrimage to Scotland, my favorite instructional golf book, as well as some books about real people pursuing their golf dreams too!
How about you? What are your favorite golf books? I’m collecting them!
Top 9 Golf Books
Scratch by Troon McAllister
Tiger reveals that he’s been playing Bridgestone balls for many years = Bridgestone made Nike balls. Costco cannot keep up demand for their Signature golf balls. Multiple bloggers and YouTube “golf testers” claim Costco balls perform equally or better than even Titleist Pro V1, at half the cost. If you ever wondered: do golf balls REALLY make a difference in my game, read this hilarious fiction by Troon McAllister. If that name sound too good to be true for a golf writer, it is. Lee Gruenfeld’s insightful, and not so tongue-in-cheek, tale of how golf ball companies’ marketing make us spend $50/doz is truly a good read.
The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream by Dan Washburn
We’ve all seen the ascension of Japanese and Korean golfers to the top levels of both PGA and LPGA tours. Are the Chinese next? In this fascinating book about golf in China, Dan Washburn follows an aspiring professional golfer, a farmer caught up in a race to develop golf resorts, and a golf course designer, all in their quest for piece of the pie that’s becoming Golf China. It’s a story about people struggling with modernity, set in golf. Highly recommended.
Two Years in St. Andrews: At Home on the 18th Hole by George Pepper
You may recognize Pepper’s name – he was the editor-in chief of Golf Magazine for 25 years, till 2003. He picks up and moves to a flat, next to the home hole of the Old Course at St. Andrews. His recollections and telling of sights, smells, sounds, characters, and above all, the golf at the Old Course, is unmatched. I read this book prior to my trip to Scotland.
You are admitted to Harvard, but you really don’t know what you want to do with your life. Why not be a caddie at the Home of Golf? Horovitz does exactly that – something that most of us would be too scared to do. Funny, charming coming of age story. If you’re planning to make your pilgrimage to St. Andrews, read it before you go.
Old and Young Tom Morris each won 4 Open titles. Kevin Cook tells the story of golf’s patron saints: Old Tom’s days as a caddie and gambler to Champion Golfer and the greenskeeper for the Old Course; Young Tom, golf’s first phenom who won his first Open at age of 17 and die of heartbreak at age of 24. Ben Crenshaw says “every golfer should read Tommy’s Honor, and I agree.
Golf in the Kingdom by Michael Murphy
If you believe, as I do, golf at times border on mystical realm, read this book. Get to know Shivas Irons, golf pro and philosopher at mythical Burningbush Links in Scotland. Let him introduce you to “true gravity” taught to him by Semus MacDuff, his mentor. If Michael Murphy’s words truly moves you, you can try the Eslan Institute in Carmel, CA.
The Big Three and Me by Billy Casper
Autobiographies are boring to me: usually not well written, most authors are full of themselves and likely to embellish their accomplishments. Not Billy Casper. A humble, deeply religious man, Casper played against the best in the world (Palmer, Nicklaus and Player) and beat them all. He is undoubtedly the most underrated golfer of all time. “Buffalo Bill” won 51 PGA Tour events, 3 majors, and was on every US Ryder Cup team from 1961 – 1975. Casper passed in 2015. If you don’t know his story, you should read it.
In my opinion, the best and the only book one should read about the golf swing. Period.
The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever by Mark Frost
How would you like to play a match against Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson (at height of their games) at Cypress Point Golf Course in Carmel, CA? That’s what two amateurs did. Incredible story of Ken Ventury and Harvie Ward going against the two greatest golfers ever. I grew up in Monterey and played Cypress few times (even won a high school league championship there) so this book really stirs my golfing soul.