Best Golf Books


stack of books

There are many different kinds of golf books- Instructional books, biographies from players or their coaches, fictional books, etc… I am going to list the best golf books for golfers of all skill levels. These books should be on every golfer’s bookshelf or Kindle.

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

This book is the best-selling golf book on Amazon and for good reason; it is a timeless instructional book by Ben Hogan who is one of the greatest golfers who ever lived. The illustrations by Herbert Warren are top-notch and the attention to detail is excellent. Even the anatomy of the tendons of the muscles is very accurate and this is coming from a Physical Therapist. The reason this is the number one book I would recommend is that it provides the reader with an excellent starting point for how to swing a golf club. There is no fluff or filler which is so common with books these days. This book consists of 128 pages and each page is full of information. There is nothing that is being sold or useless filler information. It is a very refreshing read that gets straight to the point.

The premise of this book can be summed up with Hogan’s thought process that any golfer can build a repeatable swing and break 80 if they are willing to work hard and follow the instructions in this book. I would recommend you take a look at the video below of Ben Hogan’s swing. It is one of the most beautiful and efficient swings the golf world has ever known. Even Walter Hagan was known to stop his practice rounds just to watch Ben Hogan. If you are going to learn, you mine as well learn from one of the best ball strikers to grace the sport.

The book is broken down into 5 sections: 1. The Grip 2. Stance and Posture 3. The First part of the swing (Backswing) 4. The second part of the swing (Downswing) 5. Summary and review

Each section provides very concise and easy-to-follow text on that component of the swing along with excellent illustrations to aid the text. This is one of the first golf books I read when learning the game and it provided me with an excellent starting point on learning the golf swing. Much of what I learned in this book is still present in my swing today. You can grab this book for 5 dollars on Kindle or 9 to 10 dollars for a paper book. This is a timeless classic and deserves the top spot for best golf books.

2. Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf

Harvey Penick (October 23, 1904- April 2, 1995, was a professional golfer who later became a renowned coach. He was inducted into the world golf hall of fame in 2002. His legacy lives on in this timeless classic of a book that has helped thousands of golfers worldwide improve their game. He co-authored this book with Bud Shrake. It quickly became one of the best-selling golf books of all time. While Hogan’s book above can be very technical full of illustrations and text centered on the technical aspect of the golf swing, Penick takes a different approach and speaks to the reader in much easier-to-understand prose. He has a way with words and was able to take very difficult and complex topics and boil them down to their most simple components and somehow relay this info to the reader so even a beginner can understand what he is saying.

The book is quite a bit lengthier than Hogan’s coming in at 208 pages. You likely won’t have much difficulty getting through this book however as Penick writes in a very conversational and easy-to-read manner. You will likely come back to this book over and over again. Penick has some very interesting swing and practice ideas. One notable one is his recommendation to think of the golf swing as you would swing a bucket of water. As you can see his approach to teaching someone the game of golf is very different from Hogan and why the game is such a beautiful and individual one. On one hand, you have Hogan, who provides a very objective matter-of-fact way to play the game and then you have Penick who provides loose instruction which allows the golfer much greater individualization.

Regardless of what stage you are at in your golf game, this is another classic that deserves to be read at least once by every golfer.

3. Golf is not a game of perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella

This book is a stark contrast to the first two in that it dives deep into the psychology of the game. Dr. Bob Rotella is a sports psychologist and performance consultant who has a very distinguished list of clients he has worked with including Tom Kite, Davis Love III, Pat Bradley, and John Daley to name a few. One of the great strengths of Dr. Rotella is his ability to take complex information and present it to the reader in an easy-to-read manner. Often medical professionals have difficulty transferring their knowledge to others. They just can’t provide the information in an easy-to-understand format which is extremely important if you are to be a good teacher. Dr. Rotella does not have this problem and quite the contrary his greatest strength might be his ability to come down to the level of the reader.

The mental game in golf might just be the most important component. It is a game you can love at times and others wish you never played again. The professionals on tour are not immune to the pressures and wild swings of golf either. Tiger Woods who will go down as one of if not the greatest golfer of all time had a streak where he was one of the most mentally strong individuals on tour. In my opinion, when he was in his prime, I don’t think there was a golfer nor will there be another golfer who was as mentally strong and focused as Tiger. It goes to show just how important the mental aspect of golf is if you want to shoot low scores. This book is not only suitable for the competitive golfer but also the recreational one who just wants to go out and have a good time. This is a key teaching in Rotella’s book- loosen up and have fun.

Coming in at 224 pages this book has great depth though isn’t as easy of a read as the first two books however Rotella does a great job of not bogging the reader down in medical jargon. It is not as monumental as Hogan’s or Penick’s but just as important if not more so and why it takes the number three spot in best golf books.

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

This book is much different from the first three in that it is not trying to teach you anything. It is a brilliantly presented story of a golf match between two top amateurs Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi against Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. This match occurred due to Eddie Lowery who was a wealthy car dealer who challenged a fellow millionaire George Coleman that his employees Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi could not be beaten. Lowery challenged Coleman to bring any two golfers and Coleman showed up with none other than Hogan and Nelson.

The match was played at Cypress Point Club in the famed Monterey Peninsula which is located within Pebble Beach. It is often ranked as one of the top 5 golf courses in the world with breathtaking views of the ocean. This book not only details the match in riveting fashion but is also a timepiece that will take readers back to the era of the 50s. While a great read for any avid golfer it might be the most enjoyable and interesting to those who lived during that decade as it will be a trip down memory lane to what was less complex and hectic times.

This is a longer book coming in at 288 pages however you should be able to breeze through this as there is no instruction or technical jargon to get bogged down by. It is a casual read that any golfer will find joy in reading.

5. The Big Miss: My years coaching Tiger Woods by Hank Haney

Hank Haney was Tiger Woods golf coach from 2004 until 2010. Tiger had already cemented himself as the greatest golfer of his era and possibly all-time at the young age of 28. Tiger had the world in the palm of his hands. Yet he was still looking to improve his game and called Hank Haney and asked him to be his coach. This book details Haney’s time with Tiger Woods and Haney does not shy away from telling Tiger’s shortcomings not just in the game of golf but outside of it. While this book is more of an autobiography on the coaching relationship between Haney and Tiger there are some invaluable golden nuggets on the mindset of how Tiger trained which can give great insight as to how Tiger rose to the top of the sport.

If you are a massive fan of Tiger Woods and believe him to be a saint you might not want to read this book as it provides a darker side of Tiger which can leave you questioning whether he should be held in such high esteem. If you are willing to read this with an open mind and see Tiger for what he is- a remarkable athlete and golfer who is one of a kind albeit a man with man flaws, you will be rewarded with a fantastic book.

This is also a longer book at 274 pages but is a very easy read for golfers of all ages.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent Posts

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x