My Top 10 Best Golf Books

These are some of my all time favorite golf books. If you are looking for a new golf book idea or perhaps as a holiday gift, you might want to check out why these have made my top 10 list.
I have tried to include instructional golf books to golf course books and some other eclectic choices as well. I hope you enjoy them. I am curious to hear your comments on them and would love to know YOUR favorites too. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

golf_in_the_kingdom_coverGolf in the Kingdomby Michael Murphy

One of my all-time favorites. This is such a strange and beautiful book. Every time I re-read it I find something new. It’s the story of a man who meets up with a legendary Scott Shivas Irons on the links of Burningbush (i.e.; The Old Course at St. Andrews). It is very difficult to describe all the beauty, mystery, history and enchantment of the game. This book comes pretty close.

7_laws_coverThe 7 Laws of the Golf Swing by Nick Bradley

I have read a TON of golf instruction books through out my golfing career, including classics like, Ben Hogan’s Five LessonsGolf My Way, How I Play Golf and many others but for me this book is the best. The illustrations are what really make this book. It becomes easy to really visualize what Nick is trying to explain. It’s actually hard to explain the power of them and how they can improve your game. Just pick it up and you’ll see what I mean.

golf_not_a_game_perfectGolf is Not a Game of Perfect by Bob Rotella

I have almost all of Bob Rotella’s books. And I love them all. But this one really gets at the essence of the game from the famous sports psychologist. Let’s face it, If you try to play perfect golf every round you will soon end up in the cuckoo house. Once you finish this book you’ll understand those negative thoughts, emotions and feelings you experience while playing are common to all. The next phase is, knowing that, how to re-interpret them for optimum performance. This book shows how.

little_red_bookHarvey Penick’s Little Red Bookby Harvey Penick

The lessons and stories in this book were collected by Mr. Penick over a lifetime of golf instruction (and which he never intended to publish). In this book the famed teacher of Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw shares his wisdom in page after page. There is something so simple and so true in his instruction and insight. If your game has your mind (and your swing) wrapped up in knots, this book is the best medicine you can take.

are_you_kidding_meAre You Kidding Me?: The Story of Rocco Mediate’s Extraordinary Battle with Tiger Woods at the US Openby Rocco Mediate and John Feinstein

As of this writing we are in the downfall of Tiger Inc brought on by all his off-course shenanigans. But it really does not weigh into my decision to put this book on the list. In my mind, it truly WAS one of the most epic battles in golf history. Rocco the underdog holding his own against the hurting and wobbly-kneed hero, Tiger. Of course we know Tiger prevailed but this book goes behind the scenes with some exquisite details of the 5 day battle at Torrey Pines.

getting_up_and_down_tom_watGetting Up and Down by Tom Watson

Gee, not sure I should be recommending this after Tom (as we all know) did NOT get up and down to become this year’s (2009) British Open Champ. But I have written about this book before here called, Getting Up and Down by Tom Watson, and it has some of the best short game instruction you will EVER find. Many, many tips and techniques are now part of my game and has helped bring it to new levels thanks to this book.

golf_dreamsGolf Dreams by John Updike

I have always been a fan of John Updike’s writing. No one could spin such lyrical detail out of the mundane such as he could. In this collection of observations, Updike does just that.
The essays range from a spoof on golf instruction books to viewing golf on TV to the ethical and moral imperatives of the game. A little something for everyone by one of the great American writers.

spirit_of_st._andrewsThe Spirit of St. Andrewsby Allister MacKenzie

Famed golf course architect Allister MacKenzie, whose design credits include Augusta National, Cypress Point and Lahinch, goes on the say in Chapter 1, “Golf, in its early days, was always played on commons or links land which bordered the sea…” This is great stuff –  to be able to see the game of golf through the eyes of a legendary golf course designer.

hoganHogan by Curt Sampson

An absolutely fascinating read. I could not put this book down once I started reading it. I have always been (like many others, I  suspect) fascinated with the mystique of Hogan, his “secret” and more. But the book shares just how tortured an individual Hogan was. After watching his father commit suicide with a gun and witnessed by Hogan you can begin to understand how he turned inward to become one of the greatest players of the game.

core_performance_golfCore Performance Golf by Mark Verstegan and Pete Williams

I did want to include a fitness book on this list and I think this book is one of the best I have seen. This is cutting edge information that you can use to propel your game to new levels via training and nutrition.

I thought I knew a fair amount before purchasing this book but it really opened my eyes to all the new (and very cool) developments in the world of scientific golf training. It’s not by accident that more and more of the world’s top athletes (and, of course, golfers) are training at the Athletes Performance Center. This book will make a world of difference to your game – I promise!

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  • I haven’t actually read any of those. Bob Rotella’s book are supposed to be really good. I have read one of Tiger’s book on the mental side of the game which was really good. Also read a good book called ‘The Mental Game Of Golf’ by Timothy Gallway.

  • I,m an avid reader/ a book few years back called by memory “faraway Greens” about a round of golf between the goodie and the baddie..a gallery formed to watch and a woman started to reminise about a round played for her hand in marriage…twas a great yarn…hole by hole description…alas i cant find it anywhere now…mabey they changed the name… no idea of the author…have you any ideas?…regards

  • golfdash

    Sorry Neil. Not exactly sure of what book you are referring to. Do you have anymore details?

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  • I’d love to see help sites prioritize tips. Too often there are so many tips floating around that novices can’t focus on anything long enough to get it down. I do believe there is a hierarchy of tips that, if followed, help novices learn the game faster.

  • ben carter

    Great list. Have you come across the following recent publication

    Hit Down Dammit! (The Key to Golf)

  • Randy

    The Ultimate Golf Secret By Jim McCright was my favorite golf book. It
    focus’s on the mental side of the game and really opened up a door for
    my progress. You can check out one of his articles if you’d like.

  • David Worley

    You really need to check out ‘Journey through the Links’ (voted no.1 golf book for 2007 by Sports Illustrated) and the sequel which is even better -‘Another Journey through the Links’ (only golf book shortlisted for the 2011 British Sports Book Awards).

  • michael

    A Good Walk Spoiled is not on this list? Are we talking about golf?

  • Sorry, did not think it qualified, Michael. I’ve read it a few times and thought these others were better.

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  • Please consider my 5 golf books in your list of golf novels – Thanks – Jim

  • We will, James! Thanks for stopping by!


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  • Steve Smith

    The best new golf book for 2015 is “Golf’s Forgotten Legends &
    Unforgettable Controversies”. It’s highly historical, incredibly
    controversial and very humorous. It’s a must have book for all golfers. If you buy it, I guarantee you’ll love it.

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