These are my favorite golf instruction books for new golfers
I’m not a coach. I’m a student — just like you. I love this silly game, and am endlessly fascinated by it. I took it up when I was about 10, played on my college golf team and am still hooked on it. Although I was lucky enough to have many great coaches who helped me along, like most golfers, I learned the game by reading books (which might explain why I ended up at GOLF Magazine).
I still read golf books, and while there are so many wonderful ones out there it’s impossible to put them all in a single list. So instead, I’ll focus on my personal favorite books for new golfers — those just taking up the game. These are the books that I always keep close by, and will always recommend to a beginner golfer looking for a go-to they can use as a reference.
Nick Faldo: A Swing For Life
I’ve probably read this book a hundred times. It’s my all-time favorite, and one I always return to. Don’t believe me? Click the right arrow below and you’ll see my beat-up copy, which I wouldn’t sell to you if you offered me $1 million for it. Thankfully, you can get it for $39 elsewhere.
In all seriousness, the reason why I love this book so much is because it describes the fundamentals of everything, crisply and clearly. Faldo’s golf swing is textbook, he’s not trying to reinvent the wheel with his approach. He focuses heavily on the fundamentals — grip, posture, stance, tempo. Getting those things right early can save you so much stress in the long run.
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A Swing for Life (Revised, Updated)
Tiger Woods: How I Play Golf
Yes, it’s Tiger Woods’ book, but don’t let that distract you. This book is a fantastic one, published by our friends over at Golf Digest. I still have my original copy, which you can see in the picture at the top of the article.
Tiger’s book provides easily-accessible tips from one of the greatest players of all-time, and unlike Faldo, there’s a little bit more subjectivity from Tiger about what he thinks is best, and a little more detail along those lines.
Tiger Woods: How I Play Golf
Play Better Golf, by Jack Nicklaus
If you needed proof that I’m not trying to up-sell you on anything, here it is. Two books you can get on eBay for under $5 each. These two are absolute gems from Jack Nicklaus, and they’re part of the same series, so I’d probably recommend splurging about $9 for both of them.
Basically, they’re comic-book style illustrations of little tips from Jack Nicklaus. You won’t get much in-depth advice, but that’s the point. It’s all the simple stuff, presented simply. Do this when you’re in a bunker, sort of stuff. And, if nothing else, they’re just good fun to flip through.
Play Better Golf: The Swing From A-Z
Play Better Golf: The Short Cuts to Lower Scores
Golf Annika’s Way
I’ve always thought this was one of the most underrated golf books, and I’ve never fully understood why. Annika is the GOAT of women’s golf and her instruction book is helpful and personal, with stories about how she overcame her shyness to how she handles nerves on the course.
Golf Annika’s Way: How I Elevated My Game to Be the Best—and How You Can Too
Classic Golf: The Photographs of Walter Iooss Jr.
And finally, a book that has nothing to do with instruction, but the perfect coffee-table book that gives you a sense of the game’s history, it’s style, and its legends. It gives you a feel for the best of golf through some glorious images.