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Ultimate List Of The Best Golf Books – Our Top 50 Picks

Updated on July 25, 2019

Looking for the Best Golf Books ever written? You've come to the right place!

On this page we have listed and ranked our favourite golf books of all time. Our list covers some of the best golf book biographies, classic tournament accounts, instructional books and inspirational stories.

If you feel we have left out a book then please leave us a comment at the end of the article and we will review it for inclusion in our list.

Best Golf Books for Gifts

For those looking to buy an awesome golf book as a gift, then our Editor's Choice is Hank Haney's The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods (ranked #14 below) or Alan Shipnuck's Bud, Sweat, And Tees (ranked #5 below). Both are super entertaining reads!

Of course you may also want to check out our Ultimate List of Unique Golf Gifts.

Best Instructional Golf Book

In terms of instructional guides, our favourite golf book is Herbert Warren Wind's Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf (ranked #3 below).

Our Best Golf Books Ranked (No.1 to No.50)

#1. A Life Well Played: My Stories - Arnold Palmer

What better way to celebrate the life of the King than to read about the life of the King in his own words? A wonderful blend of anecdotes, wisdom and experiences which give a fascinating insight into how the great man got to where he did - and stayed there. Whether you're a golfer or not, this absorbing New York Times bestseller is one to get your hands on.

#2. The Greatest Game Ever Played - Mark Frost

Nope, not the film. This is the story of Harry Vardon and Francis Ouimet, who, although world's apart in terms of geography, overcame the hurdles of poverty and seemingly-insurmountable social barriers sharing one common bond - a deep passion for the game they loved. Their paths collided at the 1913 US Open, and the resultant duel ignited the game of golf in a way no one thought possible.

#3. Ben Hogan's Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf - Herbert Warren Wind

He and Moe Norman owned their swings, said Tiger Woods. He was right. But it didn’t come easy. Hogan spent endless hours honing his ball-striking, and hard work underpins the path to success he charts in this book. But this has to be one of the finest instruction books of all time: clear processes and invaluable, relatable tips for every part of the game in each of these lessons. Literary gold, quite simply.

#4. Men in Green - Michael Bamberger

This book offers profoundly original, first-hand insight into what America's golden generation of golfers in the 60s, 70s and 80s were really like. It's an eye-opening and fascinating glimpse of how these mortal stars coped with the rigours of Tour life, interacted with each other and ultimately flourished. There are some equally intriguing stories of many other people on the Tour who you might not otherwise think of. A great read which reaffirms a common school of thought: golf was just more fun in those days.

#5. Bud, Sweat, And Tees - Alan Shipnuck

A hilarious yet poignant tale of player (Rich Beem) and caddie (Steve Duplantis) whose wayward and tumutuous paths cross in time for the 1999 Kemper Open, where the duo pull off a sensational, shock victory in their first tournament together. Brilliant insight into the real lives of players and caddies on Tour, and the challenges they face to maintain a normal life whilst leading a wholly abnormal lifestyle.

#6. Dave Pelz's Putting Bible - Dave Pelz

The second of Pelz's 4-feature series, and probably the best of the lot. 43 per cent of the swings you make are with the flatblade, and it's responsible for an even higher proportion of your pain and suffering! The irony of this book is that it is written by a Nasa scientist, and yet it is the simplicity of his approach to putting which underpins it! Some fascinating research lies within, but, thanks to 15 concise and simple steps, your road to putting perfecting is a clearly charted one.

#7. Putting Out of Your Mind - Dr. Bob Rotella

Drive for show, putt for dough. Well, best to have the putting Bible then, and this is precisely that. With a blend of accounts from players Rotella works with, unique and effective drills, and some valuable key thoughts and insights, you have here a book which will make you think very differently next time you wield the flatblade. Bravo Bob - a real eye opener, and a piece of merchandise which will cure plenty of putting-induced agonies.

#8. Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons And Teachings From A Lifetime In Golf - Harvey Penick

This little red book is arguably more famous than the Chairman Mao’s! Penick kept a diary from the beginning of his golf career as an eight-year old caddie in Austin, Texas. This book is the manifestation of nearly half a century of seeing the best golfers in action, and, as you can imagine, there is some cutting-edge wisdom within – but all communicated in a simple, direct way. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, this one is a must read. Who wouldn’t want to hear from “the Socrates of Golf”, after all?

#9. Golf is Not a Game of Perfect - Dr. Bob Rotella

Rotella's genius comes from his ambivalence to convention, and this is personified in spades here. He goes far and above the normal aspects of golf such as technique or skill. This is all about honing everything else in the game: mental preparation to dealing with pressure. Throw in some interesting accounts from the players he works with, and you've got a book that will give you an awakening about how you can take your game to the next level - without hitting a single ball on the range.

#10. The Longest Shot: Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan, and Pro Golf's Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open - Neil Sagabiel

Perhaps one of the greatest sporting upsets of all time. NBC-TV claimed that Ben Hogan had won the 1955 US Open after he tapped in on the final hole. But little-known Jack Fleck, still out on the course, clawed his way back from nowhere, and made the clutchest of putts to force a playoff with his idol. It was one he went on to win, and subsequently etched his place in history. A brilliant tale of an impossible journey, against impossible odds, where the human spirit triumphed.

#11. The Masters: Golf, Money, and Power in Augusta, Georgia - Curt Sampson

For Masters enthusiasts, an absolute must read. It may be the greatest event in the world, and a hallowed turf where legends are made and slayed. But beneath the surface lies a sinister and dark underworld. The man who pulled the strings that made the Masters what it is was its founder, Clifford Roberts, a New York stockbroker. His unrelenting grip on power culminated in him killing himself on the premises three decades ago. This is the story of the man whose shadow still looms large over Augusta today, even from his grave.

#12. Dave Pelz's Short Game Bible - Dave Pelz

Is he the guru of golf? He's certainly a strong candidate for the job. This is the first in a four-book series from Pelz, and we think he's found the short game formula here. A relentless focus on improving weaknesses, with the help of some charts, photos and data, will help you to cut out mistakes and avoid shot wastage. It's all so simple and easy to apply to your game - exactly how short game instructions should be.

#13. David Leadbetter 100% Golf: Unlocking Your True Golf Potential - David Leadbetter

Whether beginner or not, this is a pertinent book, and a great reference to have on hand. As only Leadbetter can, he speaks to the senses as he breaks down the fundamentals of the game. So applicable and relatable are his insights that it feels as though he's speaking directly to you. A lifetime of theories and learnings about every aspect of the game are compiled in this: the golfer's swing and short game encyclopedia.

#14. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods - Hank Haney

This was a book shrouded in controversy, and spelled the end of the Woods/Haney kinship. But it's still a fascinating read, which charts the partnership that propelled both men to super-stardom in their respective spheres until those fateful controversies in late 2009. Try as he might, Haney just couldn't save his star client after that- and then sold him out.

#15. Faldo/Norman: The 1996 Masters: A Duel that Defined an Era - Andy Farrell

A six-stroke lead going into Sunday. He couldn't blow it, could he? Unfortunately, he did, and in spectacular fashion too. Farrell enables you to re-live the drama and agony of that fateful duel between Faldo and Norman at Augusta, with first-hand accounts, 18 chapters worth of blow by blows and epic portraits of the two rivals. Prepare to shed a tear or two, but this vivid account of events is well worth a read.

#16. The Fundamentals of Hogan - David Leadbetter

The underlying fundamentals for the perfection of Ben Hogan's swing were expected to go with the great man to his grave, given the lack of literature, footage or photographs to analyse of him in action. But then he published the 1957 bestseller "Ben Hogan’s The Modern Fundamentals of Golf", and this book is effectively the sequel, with commentary thrown in from the revered David Leadbetter. A recipe for success, as you can imagine.

#17. Training a Tiger - Earl Woods

Hands down one of the most fascinating golf books we've ever read. Who on earth could raise their child like that? A gripping account of how Earl - a Green beret who served in Vietnam - relentlessly grooved the basics in Tiger, then the fundamental techniques, before cracking the whip with some extraordinary mental toughness training drills. Brutal, but effective. And a unique, complicated bond between father and son to boot. Captivating stuff, but a nice, easy read too.

#18. The Plane Truth for Golfers - Jim Hardy

Peter Jacobsen coined Hardy “the most knowledgeable teacher in golf”. Certainly his numerous accolades make him a strong candidate. This is an insight into his original understandings and insights of the golf swing, and how he divides it into two categories: one-plane and two-plane swings. The former is for your natural athletes, while the latter is more suited to players of “varying” abilities. The point is, whatever level you play at, this book will get you thinking about your swing in a way you haven’t before. And it’s not even as radical as it sounds – it’s just really, really helpful with rock-solid advice and plans.

#19. No Hiding in The Open: A Journey in Professional Golf - John Hoskison

Here's a fascinating account of the trials and tribulations of aspiring European Tour pro John Hoskison. A tale of how the other half in professional golf live, as he experiences the extreme highs and lows of this volatile career as one of golf's marginals. His quest for solutions is ongoing, and he certainly doesn't find all of them. Funny, heartbreaking and genuine, all at the the same time - and with an unexpected twist at the end to boot.

#20. Every Shot Counts - Mark Broadie

Who better to take golfing heed from than... a Business School professor? In this book, the pioneer of the 'strokes gained' putting statistic delves into the real secrets of golf with data and analysis from the financial world. It may sound like a left-field mismatch, but it's actually an intriguing approach to improving on-course decision making. And it cut a lot of ice with me.

#21. Arnie: The Life of Arnold Palmer - Tom Callahan

Few people knew Arnold Palmer better than Tom Callahan, and in these pages he pays tribute to the most influential man the game of golf will ever know. Here he shines a light on Palmer's extraordinary golfing ability, his business acumen, and how he popularised a game once the preserve of a closed-off elite. What a life. What a man.

#22. David Leadbetter's Faults and Fixes - David Leadbetter

One of the earlier Leadbetter gems, and way ahead of its time. It starts at the end: an index of 80-odd problems with the various components of your golf game, and we daresay he's got just about every one covered - from grip to finish. Each fix is well thought out, with full-colour illustrations highlighting clear processes. I definitely had a few lightbulb moments when flicking through these pages.

#23. The Magnificent Masters - Gil Capps

For me, 1986 trumps it, but '75 was still one of the great Masters of all time. Re-live the hole-by-hole drama of this epic as three giants of the game (Nicklaus, Miller and Weiskopf) lock horns in a showdown for the ages. The Golden Bear came good in the end, but this was a seesaw of emotions that the author captures with staggering detail. It feels like a front-row seat to the action, and for those with a penchant for Masters history, it's a must read.

#24. Good Walk Spoiled - John Feinstein

You don’t know the pressures pros deal with until you’ve read this book. Here we get an insight into the minds and lives of players like Greg Norman, Tom Watson and Nick Faldo during the gruelling 1993 season on Tour. The intensity and competitiveness of it all is relentless and strenuous. But as we find out, there is no bigger obstacle to success in this game than you. Great read.

#25. Tales from Q School: Inside Golf's Fifth Major - John Feinstein

If you think majors are pressure-filled cauldrons, try Q-School for size. These guys very careers hinge on six hellish rounds in which futures are made, or ruthlessly broken. One of the best sports writers in America captures it all in these pages: hope, belief, ecstasy, disappointment, heartache and nerve-jangling bravery. This is real pressure, and it isn’t for the faint-hearted.

#26. The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever - Mark Frost

When Francis Ouimet made history by winning the US Open in 1913, his bagman was 10-year old Eddie Lowery. 43 years later, Lowery, now a millionaire, places a bet with a rich friend that his fearsome twosome - Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi - can't be beat in betterball. Enter Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan. The result? Arguably the greatest private match ever played, and you get to live every bit of it in this book.

#27. Tour Mentality: Inside the Mind of a Tour Pro - Nick O'Hern

Australian Nick O'Hern was the ultimate journeyman, seemingly at the limit of his ability every time he played. And then he beat the great Tiger Woods - twice. Here we get into the mind of one of golf's true grinders, who forged his way as a pro without an abundance of talent, but plenty of mental toughness.

#28. Paper Tiger: An Obsessed Golfer's Quest to Play with the Pros - Tom Coyne

Tom Coyne hardly fit the profile of a successful professional golfer. Profoundly overweight and bogged down by a 14 handicap, his dream to play with the pros seemed a joke to many. But his obsession to play with the big boys knew no bounds, and he leaves no stone unturned to realise his dream. We get to understand his unique, slightly edgy character, while simultaneously getting a deeper understanding of how golf can bring out the best - and worst - in people along the way.

#29. The Anatomy of Greatness: Lessons from the Best Golf Swings in History - Brandel Chamblee

He's been known to cause a stir as an analyst on the Golf Channel, but here Brandel Chamblee speaks our language: who better to learn from than the best? Much of Chamblee's theories and analysis in the book are data based, yet he gets his point across in a simple, intriguing and thought-provoking way. With a hint of his controversial nature thrown into the mix too!

#30. Dead Solid Perfect - Dan Jenkins

An at times hilarious read, released in special edition with a new foreward from Jenkins' legendary 1974 novel. Here we see life on the PGA Tour from the perspective of journeyman Kenny Lee Puckett. Brilliant quips about marriage, golf and adventures with his Texan buddies combine with some poignant tales of woe to produce an enjoyable and relatable story.

#31. The Making of the Masters: Clifford Roberts, Augusta National, and Golf's Most Prestigious Tournament - David Owen

Clifford Roberts is probably not a man you would like to have worked for. The New York stockbroker cum Augusta chairman's authoritarian stranglehold on power and unrelenting attention to detail hardly created fertile ground for laughs a minute. But it did pioneer the greatest tournament of all. Here Owen takes us into the archives, as we learn how Augusta and the Masters - inextricably linked - overcame early struggles to become a club/event which now personifies perfection and everything glorious about the game.

#32. Golf My Way: The Instructional Classic, Revised and Updated - Jack Nicklaus

By no means the first book to come from the Bear, but one of the most fascinating. This isn’t just about instructional advice and mechanics – Nicklaus incorporates his entire approach to the game in these pages. How he coped with mental challenges, ageing, equipment changes and many other intangibles that few golfers overcome. But he did, and it’s what made him the greatest of all time. And you get to be let right in to it all, courtesy of this book.

#33. Ben Hogan's Secret Fundamental - Larry Miller

Ben Hogan was one of golf's great enigmas, and his very private nature exacerbated the mystery surrounding him. He'd long alleged that there was a core secret to his success, which he'd never reveal. But here the reputable Miller reveals all, including the key underlying fundamental to Hogan's brilliance, and breaks it down with vivid imagery and diagrams too. Invaluable stuff.

#34. Crouching Tiger Hidden Hogan - Pradeep Bahirwani

In his legendary book "The Five Lessons", Ben Hogan states that any golfer with reasonable coordination can break 80. He always spoke of "The Secret" to unleashing his full potential, but never said what it was. To his grave it went with him, and we thought the Secret would die a mystery. This book, however, unpicks his cryptic clues on the subject, and ultimately brings the Secret back to life.

#35. The 1997 Masters: My Story - Tiger Woods

To mark the 20th anniversary of Tiger's record-shattering Masters triumph in 1997, he produced this gem which allows us to relive that heady week at Augusta. We also understand how he got there, how it shaped his career and the stories behind the success. A gripping first-hand account of history being made in a manner the golfing world had never quite expected.

#36. His Father's Son: Earl and Tiger Woods - Tom Callahan

There was no bigger influence on Tiger Woods than his dad, Earl, and this is an extraordinary biography of the Vietnam veteran. It doesn't always make for sympathetic reading, but the insights are profound, fascinating and gripping. He may be one of the hardest men golf has ever known, but he forged a truly unbreakable bond with his son, who went on to rewrite history. And this is a front-row seat to find out how.

#37. Swinging from My Heels: Confessions of an LPGA Star - Christina Kim

Kim is undoubtedly one of the LPGA Tour's great characters, and here we go backstage into her eventful 2009 season. This one has it all: the glimpse of life as a child prodigy, near misses in majors, Solheim Cup team issues, and the trials and tribulations of a young woman dealing with the difficulties of life as Tour player - both on and off the course. Very enjoyable, albeit at times harrowing, read.

#38. The A Swing: The Alternative Approach to Great Golf - David Leadbetter

Never been a massive Leadbetter fan, but, give him his dues... 30-odd years at the top is a special achievement. Here we delve into his so-called A-swing - A standing for "alternative". It's based on scientific principles and his biomechanical research, yet is profoundly simple to understand and implement. Simpler still to repeat, in fact. The theory is that ingraining the A swing comes easier than most, thanks to a 7-minute practice plan, coupled with some drills and around 200 diagrams. Only one way to find out: have a read, and then hit the practice range!

#39. Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game - Dr. Joseph Parent

The whole "body and mind" thing may be a turn-off for some, but in a sport like golf, the two are, for better or worse, inextricably linked. Who better to articulate that than a Buddhist PGA Tour pro? This book offers a fresh perspective on clearing the head from distraction and interference, and turning your brain from enemy to ally. Crack that code, and your body will do the rest.

#40. Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes on the New PGA Tour - Shane Ryan

After Tiger Woods' fall from grace, many wondered who would carry golf's mantle. Shane Ryan covered every inch of golfing turf around the world in 2014 to find out, and got inside the ropes to document it all. After a thrilling season when a new generation of hot shots and a couple of senior heads locked horns to produce some hugely unpredictable finishes, we were safe to draw one conclusion: the baton has been passed into safe hands.

#41. The Impact Zone: Mastering Golf's Moment of Truth - Bobby Clampett

No matter how you take the club back, or how majestic your finishing position is, it's the couple of inches either side of impact that matter most. Here Clampett delves into how swing dynamics are often lost in the pursuit of arbitrary stylistic perfection, and instead offers a refreshing alternative. With assistance from CBS's Swing Vision high-speed camera, you can compare yourself against images of the world's best players, and take away valuable key thoughts and drills which help you nail it when it matters most: in the Impact Zone.

#42. Fearless Golf: Conquering the Mental Game - Dr. Gio Valiante

#43. Gary Player's Black Book - Gary Player

An easy read, which effectively amounts to a Q&A session with the Black Knight. The 9-time major winner sets out 50 questions based on specific problems and scenarios which are commonplace for a golfer, and offers thoughtful, insightful ways of dealing with them. The questions divide into three parts, relating to 1) golf, 2) life, and 3) business. The usual Player haughtiness blights the tone, but, cut through all that, and there is plenty of useful insight to be harnessed here.

#44. Open: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black - John Feinstein

Has there been a more-gruelling US Open than Bethpage 2002? Maybe. But not many. This was the first time a public course had ever played host, and it left many a player battered and bruised. But one man came out on top in the end, defying the odds to finish under par. In this one, Feinstein captures and articulates the gory details of that gruesome week from inside the ropes, and invites you to delve into a great rivalry that underlined this memorable week.

#45. The Green Road Home: Adventures and Misadventures as a Caddie on the PGA Tour - Michael Bamberger

Bamberger's legend as a sportswriter is now established, but this one of the first bits of magic he produced. Here we take a ride on his shoulders during his time as caddie for some of the world's best players - and larger-than-life characters. It's funny, it's entertaining, and it's an always-interesting, behind-the-scenes look into life as a caddie - and a professional golfer.

#46. Draw in the Dunes: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World - Neil Sagabiel

Perhaps the only Ryder Cup in history to top Medinah 2012, or Brookline '99. The British had been largely battered for 42 years by the time they arrived at Birkdale in 1969, but this time they matched America step for step, taking 17 out of 32 to matches to the final hole. Then the climax shocked the world - and forged lifelong friendships. A great account of the infamous "Concession".

#47. Golf Flow - Dr. Gio Valiante

Probably aimed at better players, but this is another intriguing approach from Valiante towards keeping the mind in check. With all the discontinuity that comes with hitting, then waiting, then walking, and then doing it all over again, maintaining focus is harder in golf than any other sport. Learn how the pros he's worked with overcame this fundamental challenge in their own ways, and it's likely that at least one or two will resonate with you.

#48. Golf in the Kingdom - Michael Murphy

A youngster en route to India stops over in Scotland, and tries his hand at the Burningbush links golf course. That day, his life is changed forever, as he delves deep into the spellbinding, haunting game of golf at its most mystical. For the philosophers of the game, a fine read which draws the inextricable link between the game of golf and the powers of the human soul.

#49. Caddie Confidential: Inside Stories from the Caddies of the PGA Tour - Greg Martin

The man behind the man behind the man: I'm talking about the real life of a Tour caddie, and that's what we learn about in surprising detail in this book. Here we get an insight into great stories, both on and off the course. Who's the best tipper? Who's the most popular player? Who's the angriest on tour? It's all in here, and it's told from the perspective of the guy who has the best view of all from within the ropes.

#50. Tiger: The Real Story - Steve Helling

The 2009 Tiger Woods scandal shocked the world. Or did it? How much about Tiger did we really know? This book takes us about as close as we could possibly get to this inordinately complex man, and we also get a glimpse of those who surround him: a relentless father, an ambivalent mother and a wife who seems caught up in it all. We also learn the pain of his stunning fall from grace, how it nearly broke him, and where to from here...

Tags: Best Golf Books, Golf Book Gifts, Recommended Golf Books, Top Golf Books

About the author 

Michael Todt

Mike fell in love with the game from a very early age – a passion that hasn’t diminished ever since. He earned provincial colors throughout his junior years, but by the time he reached Varsity, the realization set in (thanks largely to some cold ales) that it was time to favor the pen rather than his clubs. He now writes for GA along with a few other sources.

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  1. The sub-title on the Alan Shipnuck Rich Beem book is incorrect. Amazon got it wrong, and evidently you all didn’t check very closely.

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