There is a wide range of golf books available that cater to different tastes, and we think you will enjoy this list of 35 nonfiction reads.
For those interested in memoirs, there are tales of personal triumph and adversity on the links. Those passionate about the history of the game can learn about its origins and greatest players.
And for those who just want to hit the course, there are guidebooks with insider tips on the best courses around.
Whatever your interest, there is a golf book on our list for you.
So, grab your clubs and head to the library (or ebook store) for some reading on the greens. It'll be time well spent.
Written by: Harvey Penick & Bud Shrake
Published: 2012 (1992)
It's no secret that one of the best ways to improve your golf game is to learn from someone who has mastered the sport. Harvey Penick, a long-time lifelong caddy and instructor, shares his wisdom in a little red book that has become a classic in the world of golf. He shares lessons and teachings that have helped him succeed from golfers such as Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, and others.
Whether you're just starting out or you've been playing for years, there's something in this book for everyone. So, if you're looking to take your golf game to the next level, be sure to check out Harvey Penick's Little Red Book.
Written by: Mark Frost
This is not your typical book about golf and the famous duels during the game. This is a game about two wealthy men who were hanging out at the 1956 Bing Crosby Clambake Tournament on the gorgeous Monterey Peninsula in Northern California. Why does this matter? Because this is where Eddie Lowry decided to offer a bet to George Coleman.
The bet? Eddie said the best amateur golfers could beat any pro. Coleman decided to take him up on his bet.
The next day, Eddie showed up with the best amateurs, Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi, while Coleman showed up with Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. Frost does a wonderful job interlacing the stories of the men and the play on the course. It should have been a slaughter. Who wins and gets the ability to pronounce themselves the best? You'll have to read on to find out!
By the way, the bet was for $1,000,000, and that was in 1956. Just imagine how much that would be now!
Written by: Tom Coyne
No one ever said being a tour pro was easy, but playing on some of the best courses and other ones that are almost unknown in each of America's fifty states? That's a more challenging task than most people could even imagine. Coyne takes on that challenge and provides readers with an insightful look into the unique golfing experiences available in each of the fifty states.
Whether it's teeing off at the top of a mountain or alongside an ocean vista, Coyne provides an entertaining and engaging look at some of the most revered courses, including Shinnecock, the Newport Country Club, and others. Being able to talk to so many staff and caddies, he learns excellent stories. He also gets to meet some of the greatest, and you get their thoughts and wisdom.
Written by: Stephen Goodwin
Bandon Dunes is without question the crown jewel of golf courses in Oregon. It is one of the most beautiful courses ever designed because Mike Keiser decided to build his dream one. This is the story of how he chose to build it there, how they financed it, the team they gathered to design it, and how they completed it.
Golfers will love the hole-by-hole descriptions so you can get a feel as if you are there in the moment. Also, it allows you to figure out how you would play that hole and plan out your strategy while having fun at the same time.
Written by: Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian
In this book, Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian explore Woods' life both on and off the golf course. Tiger Woods is one of the most successful athletes in history. He has won 14 major championships, second only to Jack Nicklaus. But his personal life has been tumultuous, with multiple affairs and very public divorce. The downfall started in 2009 when his wife Elin Nordegren found out he was cheating on her, and he crashed into a tree.
They examine how he became one of the greatest players ever, as his mother and father relentlessly drove him no matter what he wanted, as well as how his personal troubles have affected his career. The book is full of insights into Woods' life and offers a unique look at one of the most famous athletes in history.
Written by: Joseph Parent
How do you stay calm and focused under pressure? How do you react when things don't go your way? If you're looking for ways to improve your golf game, look no further than the book Zen Golf by Joseph Parent. In this book, Parent outlines techniques for mastering the mental game of golf.
He is most famous for his "PAR Approach," which focuses on Preparation, Action, and Response to Results. Using principles from Zen Buddhism, he provides tips for staying in the present moment and keeping your composure on the course.
He also helps people deal with anxiety and other issues that may come up. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, these techniques can help you shoot lower scores and play with more confidence.
Written by: Arnold Palmer
When most people think of Arnold Palmer, they think of one of the greatest golfers of all time. But there is so much more to Arnold Palmer than just his legendary career on the golf course. In this book, Palmer opens up about his life and shares some of the incredible stories that have shaped him into the man he is today.
Palmer's story is truly an inspiring one. From growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania to becoming one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, you'll get to know the man and why he was known as one of the true gentlemen of the sport. In his final book published, he wanted people to realize that they too could become much more than they even hoped to be.
Written by: John Feinstein
Published: 2006 (1995)
In this book, Feinstein gives readers an inside look at the professional golf world through the stories of players, caddies, and others involved in the sport. He paints a picture of what life is like on the PGA Tour and how that differs from everyday golfers. This book gives you an inside view of the minds of some of the greatest in the history of the game.
While some may think professional golf is all about glitz and glamour, Feinstein shows that it's often grueling work with long hours spent traveling to different courses around the country. Readers will get a new appreciation for the game after learning about all that goes into being a successful golfer on the PGA Tour.
Written by: Bob Rotella
If you're like most golfers, you probably think that playing perfect golf is the key to shooting lower scores. But according to sports psychologist Bob Rotella, that's not necessarily true. It can be just the opposite. Instead of stressing about being perfect, you can allow yourself to make mistakes while still improving.
In his book, Rotella offers tips and advice for improving your game by accepting your mistakes and learning from them. An example is that so many golfers focus on hitting the ball the farthest, but not on the enjoyment of the setup and swing, and do worse because of anxiety and a lack of self-confidence.
So, don't focus on playing a perfect round; instead, focus on making fewer mistakes and improving your overall performance. You may be surprised at how much lower your scores can go.
Written by: Kevin Cook
No sport is as steeped in history and tradition as golf. The origins of the game can be traced back to 15th century Scotland, and it has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world ever since. In Tommy's Honour, author Kevin Cook tells the story of two of golf's most influential figures: Tommy Morris, Sr. and his son Tommy Jr.
This father-son duo helped shape the sport into what it is today, and their tale is one full of passion, heartbreak, and heroism.
Even though they loved each other, they would fight it out on the course and elsewhere to prove who was the best. The story delves into the devastating death of young Tom's wife and then the tragedies that followed for both him and his father. If you want to learn more about this father and son duo, who changed the game of golf forever, this is the book for you.
Written by: Kevin Robbins
In the early morning hours of October 25, 1999, golfing great Payne Stewart and five other passengers boarded a private Learjet in Orlando, Florida, bound for Texas. The plane never made it to its destination. Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft lost pressure and crashed into a remote field in South Dakota, killing everyone on board.
This included Payne Stewart, just as he became a fantastic comeback story after many years. The tragedy marked the end of an era in golf for so many.
But as Kevin Robbins reveals in his new book, it was also the moment when the game underwent a seismic shift that would forever change how it was played. Drawing on extensive interviews with those who were there - players, course designers, broadcasters - Robbins tells the story of how one horrible death led to complete change in the sport.
Written by: Terri Leonard
There are many great golfing memoirs written about men, but what about women? In this book, editor Terri Leonard shines a light on some of the best female golfers to ever play the game. Women were not always welcome in the game.
These essays and stories by and about some of the greatest, including Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Patty Berg, and others, are enthralling and eye-opening for all.
No matter the circumstances, these women fought through them and made sure their voices were heard. Through their personal stories, you'll be inspired by their strength and resilience on and off the course.
Written by: Charles Lindsay with a foreword by John Updike
This is probably one of the shortest books on this list at just over a hundred pages. However, it is still hilarious and wonderful at the same time. Lindsay is a master photographer, not a master golfer, and this book exemplifies both qualities.
In it, he takes photographs of some of the most exciting places where he's lost his balls and tells little stories about them. The locations include Pebble Beach, Bandon Dunes, St. Andrews, and many more famous courses. There is also a forward by the famous writer John Updike and a funny story written by Greg Norman.
Written by: Butch Harmon
In his new book, The Pro: Lessons About Golf and Life from My Father, Claude Harmon, Sr., author and PGA Tour professional golfer Claude Harmon III shares intimate stories and lessons about golf and life that he learned from his father.
Growing up in the shadow of one of the game's greatest players, Claude III had a front-row seat to history as his father coached some of golf's biggest names, including Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods.
In The Pro, readers will get an inside look at what it was like growing up in a household with a famous father. It also delves into how he and his brothers help others try to master the game, and their own travels through life, in it.
By taking on the ways of their father, they continue helping others while staying humble and kind, and they will help you also.
Written by: Mark Broadie
Are you looking to master your golf game? If so, then you need to check out this book by Mark Broadie. This book is based on a revolutionary new approach to analyzing and improving your golf game. Instead of just using gut feelings, this book focuses on data and statistics to prove that this is the best way to improve your strokes and scores.
In this book, you will learn how to use the strokes gained approach to help you improve your game.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, this book will help you take your game to the next level. You will also learn to understand your own strengths and weaknesses better and use that information to improve your game. So, if you are serious about improving your golf game, then be sure to pick up a copy of Every Shot Counts.
Written by: Pete McDaniel
According to the reports you'll see on T.V. and in the media, very few people of color have been a part of golf history. However, this book examines how the game has been a way to segregate and integrate depending on the times. Examples of this include African Americans only being caddies and not playing on the courses.
It also examines how the African American players ended up having their leagues since the PGA wouldn't allow them in, and finally, when they were allowed to join it. The stories of the athletes in it are touching, and it is a shame that so many were so talented and yet unable to show that for so many years.
This book will shine a light on these times and why it is still so important to work for equality in sport and everyday life in today's world.
Written by: Alice Cooper & Keith Zimmerman
Who would have ever thought that Alice Cooper, of Heavy Metal and Shock Rock fame, would be a golfer? Well, he sure didn't. Since he had tried pretty much every drug in the world and was drinking a quart of whiskey a day, he was probably more likely to be dead.
However, a friend dragged him off his couch, and they went for a game. From that moment on, golf has become his addiction.
Even though this is a book about golf, it is so much more than that since it is about the life of Alice Cooper too. Instead of just meeting Arnold Palmer or John Daly, which he did, he writes about his times hanging out with Led Zeppelin and other musicians.
For someone who started just putting around to stay sober and then becoming a Pro-Am competitor, this is a biography like no other.
Written by: Shirley Spork
Simply stated, Shirley Spork has been one of the most powerful women in the sport. Being that she was one of the original "Thirteen Founders," she's played against the best in the world through many generations. However, she's done much more than that. She's been a coach, a manager, and one of the founders of the LPGA.
Of course, there is more to Spork than just her wins and her fight for equality. She has great stories about the people she's golfed with and the people she's met through the years. She also makes sure to drop some of her famous "Sporkisms," which include her special instructions on how to be the best golfer possible.
This is the story of a woman who would not give up, no matter how much was against her and made sure to make this “man’s sport” one more welcoming to women all over the world.
Written by: Jim Gray
What do you get when you mix a little bit of Tiger Woods, a smidge of Michael Jordan, a sprinkle of Kobe Bryant, and a heaping portion of LeBron James? The GOATs – the greatest of all time. In this enthralling book, Gray uncovers never-before-told stories from some of the nation's most legendary athletes.
Through conversations with these sports icons, readers gain an unparalleled perspective on the moments that made them who they are today. Being that this isn't only about Tiger Woods and golf, you will still enjoy all the stories and thoughts that the greatest of all time have to give you in their respective sports.
Written by: Iain T. Spragg
If you love looking at some of the most beautiful golf courses in some of the most beautiful locations, then this is the book for you. Or for someone you love and want to give as a special present. Some of them include the highest golf course globally at La Paz in Bolivia to the lowest golf course in Death Valley in the USA.
Some golf courses are located near the classic castles in European countries, while others are in Hawaii or parts of Asia, such as the incredible Angkor Wat in Cambodia. There will be something for everyone, even if you aren't a golf fan because the photos are so gorgeous, and the locations are so magical.
Written by: Calvin H. Sinnette
Golf has long been seen as a sport for the wealthy and elite in America. It's a game that's often associated with country clubs and corporate business deals. But what many people don't realize is that golf has a rich history among African Americans dating back to the early 1900s. In this book, Dr. Calvin H.
Sinnette tells the little-known story of how black golfers fought against discrimination to carve out a place for themselves in the game.
From early pioneers like John Ann Gregory and Ted Rhodes to modern stars like Tiger Woods, Sinnette chronicles the struggles and triumphs of African American golfers over the past hundred years. Even if you aren't a fan of golf, this is a worthwhile read to help shed light on the history of racism in the sport.
It is as relevant today as it has been in the past.
Written by: Steve Newell
The game of golf requires split-second decisions, infinite patience, and perfect execution. Although it may seem daunting to the beginner, anyone can improve their game with the proper instruction and practice. Steve Newell provides an all-inclusive guide to mastering this complex sport in this book.
Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your game to the next level, The Complete Golf Manual is essential reading for any golfer. This manual covers everything you need to know to play like a pro, from choosing the right equipment to perfecting your swing.
Instead of spending your time trying to figure it out on your own, using his suggestions on how to fix the top 10 mistakes makes this book worthwhile for any golfer.
Written by: Bubba Watson
Few athletes have achieved as much success in their careers as Bubba Watson. But as we know, no one's life is a straight line. We all have our ups and downs, victories, and struggles. This includes Bubba Watson. In this book, he shows that one can be at the top at one moment and then back at the bottom at the next.
In fact, for every victory Watson has enjoyed on the golf course, there have been plenty of struggles along the way. These include his anxiety attacks, the loss of his father, and how finding God helped him through so many difficult times.
Being able to balance both the positive and the negative, he’s remained focused on his goals and continued to work hard. As a result, he's become one of the most entertaining and successful golfers in the world today.
Written by: Jack Nicklaus II & Don Yaeger
We all know that Jack Nicklaus was one of the greatest golfers of all time. And now his son, Jack II, wants to help you learn the top eighteen that his dad imparted to him during his lifetime. Raised to be humble and kind, like his dad, the rules he imparts are quite easy to understand, but they are harder to put in place.
Some of these include respecting the people you love, including always showing respect and love. For him, that meant trying to eat dinner at home with his wife of over fifty years as often as possible. He also writes about how to treat children growing up with respect and boundaries so they know how to respect themselves and others.
The lessons are excellent, and the stories about growing up, with Jack Nicklaus as his dad, are touching and enduring.
Written by: The Editors of Golf Magazine with George Peper
This is the perfect coffee table book for anyone who loves golf or even those who couldn't care about golf since it is beautifully designed and presented. With over six hundred photos and stories about the history and the best way to play them, it is a dictionary of helpful terms and more.
Readers love this book because they can look for their favorites and see if they are there, and if they are, they can see what makes them so unique and worth mentioning. This book is truly stunning and will make a great addition to anyone's library.
Written by: Rick Reilly
In his first year in office, Trump played more rounds of golf (the presidential version of speed dating) than any other president. And while Trump is certainly not the first president to play golf, the way he plays explains a lot about who he is and how far he’ll go to win, even if winning just makes him a sore loser.
Using interviews with many of the most famous players in the game, you'll learn loads of "tactics" that Trump uses so he can come out ahead. This includes having his secret service help move balls, having caddies change scorecards, and making up absurd lies about his golf courses and their worth.
Meanwhile, Trump does his best to shy away from all the contractors he never paid, how he interferes with other people's games, and so much more.
Whether you are a fan of Trump or not, you will learn a lot about his character.
Written by: Matt Adams
The title of this book pretty much explains it all: It is some of the greatest players in the sport recalling their most significant moments. Some of the memories include Billy Casper in the 1966 Open, Gene Sarazen in the 1935 Masters, Jordan Speith in the 2017 Open, and so many others it is hard to keep count of them.
One of the stories' favorites is about the "Tiger Slam" when he won all four of the majors in a row. It is an amusing take when you add photographs, scorecards, quotes, and more. It is also a quick read since it comes in at just two hundred pages.
Written by: Tripp Bowden
This is a sweet and touching book about how Tripp Bowden, who was raised in Augusta, Georgia, couldn't care less about golf until he met the elegant Freddie Bennett. After they met, Bennett tutored Bowden and helped him earn a scholarship to college and eventually a qualifier in the British Open. Bennett became known as one of the best caddies in the game.
Through the book, Bowden imparts little bits of knowledge that Freddie taught him along the way. Because Freddie was an African American, the game and the world were very different for him than for Tripp, which is one of the essential parts of this book. It is incredibly touching since Freddie has since passed away.
Written by: Leslie Nielson and Henry Beard
Known by most as a comedian and for his roles in, Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies, Leslie Nielson's book is precisely what the title states: A stupid little golf book. And for that, we can be thankful because he knows he isn't a pro and isn't trying to convince you that he is…or that you could be either.
With loads of helpful advice, such as holding the club at the thin end or skipping the last hole so you'll have a lower score, you can quickly put these plans into your game. You may not really get any useful information out of this book, and if you do, that probably isn't on purpose, but you'll get lots of laughs and maybe a few ideas of your own.
Written by: John Updike with illustrations by Paul Szep
For those that don't know the name, John Updike is one of the most respected writers in U.S. history. He was also an accomplished golfer who loved everything about the game. This book is a compilation of essays and articles about the author’s love for the game of golf.
The book offers an insightful look into the mind of one of America's great writers, as he discusses everything from his personal experiences on the golf course to his thoughts on the history and evolution of the sport.
Whether you're a golfer yourself or just interested in what makes the game so special to those who love it by one of the most erudite writers in history, this is for you.
Written by: Alister Mac
Initially written and found in 1933, this book may appear dated, but it isn't. Why is that? Because it was written by one of the most fantastic golf architects. Mackenzie was the designer of courses such as Augusta National, Pasatiempo, Cypress Point, and many others.
Not only do you get to learn about the history of golf, from the earliest golf courses to the most current (at his time), you know about the players too. This is part of what makes this book unique since many are from players alive during his time, such as Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen, and others often forgotten in more recent books.
Written by: Curt Sampson
The Slam, as it is known, is when a golfer wins all four championships in one year. This includes the Master's, the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, and the Open Championship. No one even imagined this could happen until Bobby Jones accomplished this feat in 1930. What is more impressive is Jones's life before and after he became a superstar of the sport.
The write-up of the four tournaments is incredibly moving and very true to life. Most people don't realize that he was a very sickly child, which continued throughout his life. At times he was unable to eat, became an alcoholic, and barely was able to keep himself healthy.
With these issues, and his skill respected by all, he retired after winning the Grand Slam.
Written by: Rick Reilly
Have you ever wanted to be a professional golfer? If you are reading this list, the answer is probably “Yes.” However, have you ever wanted to be a professional caddie? I’m guessing not so much. And that is where one of the funniest sports writers on the planet comes into play; he decides to caddie for some of the best players in the world to see and understand how they know the game.
Some of the golfers you’ll meet in this book include Tom Lehman, John Daly, Casey Martin, and Jill McGill of the LPGA. As if that wasn't enough, you will also get to experience what happened when Reilly caddied for Deepak Chopra and Donald Trump!
Along with learning a bit about how to be a better golfer, you will learn a lot about laughing at how to be a better caddie. Whether that improves, your game is questionable.
Written by: Mark Frost
Some people might say that the greatest game ever played was the Super Bowl or the Masters. But those people have never heard of Harry Vardon and Francis Ouimet. This book tells the story of two men who changed golf forever. On one side, you had Vardon, a 6-time British Open Champion who was known for his smooth swing and precise putts.
On the other side, you had Ouimet, a 20-year-old amateur whose lack of experience led many to underestimate him. When they faced off in the 1913 Open, it was more than just a golf match - it was a battle between the old guard and the new generation.
If you want to find out who won, you’ll just have to read the book!
Written by: Shane Ryan
With Tiger Woods' name being in the title, you'd imagine this book would be focused on Tiger Woods, but it isn't. It is about the people who have come on the scene since Tiger Woods. In this book, Ryan decides to delve deep into the 2014 PGA season and become one of the insiders. This is a serious rogues' gallery of random people.
The fun of this book is that the sport was just starting to change, and being on the frontlines gave him insights, unlike any others. He got to see pros such as Bubba Watson, who was a devout Christian, but you’d never know that from his outburst on the course.
Rickey Fowler became famous for his game but was more widely known for his horrid orange pants.
These two are just a few of the people you'll meet and see how they changed the game, and are still changing the game, right now.