22 great golf books every golfer should read (according to you)

December 17, 2019

If you’re a golf nut, there’s no shortage of amazing golf books out there. From page-turning biographies about your favorite pros to self-help manuals to improve your own mindset to brilliant fictional pieces and more. There’s something for everyone.

Looking for recommendations, I recently polled Twitter asking for your favorite golf books. And you, faithful GOLF.com readers, came through big time. More than 100 responses rolled in and more than 80 different titles were mentioned. So I decided to turn this into a tidy list for you golf junkies looking for a new book to read. Granted, this isn’t the most scientific way to create a list of some of the best golf books, but you can’t argue the logic behind golf fans recommending golf books for fellow golf fans. If there’s anyone who knows golf books, it’s you.

So here is a condensed list of your recommendations. To make this list I included any book that was mentioned more than once. But if you want the full list of book mentions, scroll through this feed to find the book that’s right for you (or that’s right to buy for someone else). Enjoy.

The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever, by Mark Frost

The Match was the runaway winner based off our informal poll, receiving three-times as many votes as the books succeeding it. And it’s hard to argue against it. In 1956 amateurs Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi faced off against pros Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson in what is still touted as the greatest private match ever played. Frost captures all of its page-turning suspense and glory. BUY NOW

Harvey Penick’s Little Big Book, by Harvey Penick

Legendary teacher Harvey Penick penned the best-selling instruction book of all time — which he started in his red notebook, hence the title — and several years after its original release it’s sill wildly popular for its golf and life teachings. If there were a bible for golfers, this would be it. This was tied for the second-most recommended book via your submissions. BUY NOW

Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game, by Dr. Joseph Parent

Dr. Parent teaches golfers (even several pros) how to clear their minds, focus and play in the moment. One of golf’s most famous self-help books for your mind, this was tied for the second-most recommended book via your submissions. Parent has also helped me with my own on-course demons. BUY NOW

The Greatest Game Ever Played: A True Story, by Mark Frost

The story of Francis Ouimet and Harry Vardon, who both broke down social barriers to play the game and later met in the 1913 U.S. Open at Brookline in Massachusetts. The 20-year-old Ouimet beat Vardon and Ted Ray in an 18-hole playoff, and his upset victory is still wildly credited with helping grow the sport in the States. BUY NOW

Extraordinary Golf: the Art of the Possible, by Fred Shoemaker, with Pete Shoemaker

Do you head to the course and the first tee thinking about what’s wrong instead of what’s possible? If so, this book is for you and will help you think in a positive way to help your game. BUY NOW

Caddy for Life: The Bruce Edwards Story, by John Feinstein

This is the story of Tom Watson’s long-time caddie Bruce Edwards, who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2004 at age 49. The duo won eight majors together, and John Feinstein tells the story of Edwards’ extraordinary life and gets him to open up about the secrets of golf that only a life-long caddie would know. BUY NOW

Bud, Sweat, & Tees: Rich Beem’s Walk on the Wild Side of the PGA Tour, by Alan Shipnuck

Rich Beem went from zero to hero after winning the 2002 PGA Championship, but who is this guy, anyway? Shipnuck was given unprecedented access to tell the story behind the story, and it’s one fun and rowdy ride as you’re taken behind the scenes with one of golf’s most popular folk heroes of the 2000s. (Alan Shipnuck is a GOLF senior writer.) BUY NOW

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

Another one of golf’s most well-read and timeless books, Hogan’s Five Lessons is fully illustrated with drawings and diagrams to make learning from one of golf’s all-time greats a breeze. BUY NOW

Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible: Master the Finesse Swing and Lower Your Score, by Dave Pelz

Want to improve your short game? Learn from the master. Pelz has coached stars such as Phil Mickelson and was the visionary behind the 60-degree wedge. BUY NOW

Missing Links, by Rick Reilly

One of America’s most famous sportswriters, Reilly pens this laugh-out-loud novel about a group of golf-obsessed buddies who make a $1,000 bet as they compete to be the first to get on an exclusive nearby course. BUY NOW

Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, Dr. Bob Rotella

Dr. Rotella’s highly acclaimed work will change your competitive mindset in no time. There’s no shortage of insightful and helpful quotes for swing thoughts, either. BUY NOW

The Grand Slam, by Mark Frost

No golfer has ever achieved the calendar year grand slam — except for 28-year-old amateur Bobby Jones in 1930. In The Grand Slam, author Frost takes you through that epic year and pulls back the curtain on one of golf’s most legendary figures. BUY NOW

Unconscious Putting: Dave Stockton’s Guide to Unlocking Your Signature Stroke, by Dave Stockton

Teacher and putting guru Dave Stockton has helped some of the game’s top stars flourish on the greens and win the sport’s biggest events. Now his mental and physical approach can help you shave strokes as well. BUY NOW

The Last Stand of Payne Stewart: The Year Golf Changed Forever, by Kevin Robbins

The tale of Stewart and his final year on the PGA Tour, 1999, which culminated with the tragic plane crash that took his life. Author Kevin Robbins beautifully captures the man behind the knickers and the legacy he left behind. BUY NOW

Golf in the Kingdom, by Michael Murphy

A classic every golf fan must read (or at least be aware of, since people love to debate this one). It’s a spiritual adventure that takes place in the 1950s when a student stops for a round at the Links of Burningbush in Scotland. His life was never the same again. BUY NOW

To the Linksland: A Golfing Adventure, by Michael Bamberger

In 1991, Michael Bamberger quit his job and picked up a looping gig on the Euro Tour. He chronicled every step of the way, including his adventures to some of the greatest (and most remote) golf courses in the world. (Michael Bamberger is a GOLF senior writer.) BUY NOW

Dream Golf: The Making of Bandon Dunes, by Stephen Goodwin

This one is required reading for anyone making the lengthy journey to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, which sits on the Pacific Ocean in Bandon, Ore. It’s the in-depth story of one of golf’s great destinations and a behind-the-scenes look at how it all came to be. BUY NOW

The Natural Golf Swing, by George Knudson

Dear inconsistent golfers: this one is for you. Are you going against your natural swing? Perhaps you are, and it’s holding you back. This one teaches you how to beat those bad habits by using the talents you already possess. BUY NOW

A Course Called Ireland, by Tom Coyne

A must-read for any golfer planning a trip to one the greatest golf destinations in the world. Coyne spent 16 weeks playing every seaside course in Ireland, and he learned so much more than just golf. BUY NOW

Golf My Way, by Jack Nicklaus

There are few better ways to learn the game than devouring tips from the sport’s ultimate champion. Nicklaus’ “Golf My Way” has sold more than two million copies since it was released in 1974, and it remains an enjoyable and informative read for any golf fan. BUY NOW

A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour, by John Feinstein

Feinstein covered, went behind the scenes and traveled with some of the best players in the game to unveil what Tour life is really like, and tell the stories behind the stories of life as a pro golfer. BUY NOW

Dead Solid Perfect, by Dan Jenkins

Legendary golf writer Dan Jenkins will have you laughing with every turn of the page in this novel about life on the PGA Tour. It was even made into a movie in 1988. BUY NOW

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