Gearing up for a new golf season can mean more than updating your golf wardrobe or getting in shape. Immersing yourself in the sport also means engaging your mind and diving into a good golf book. Whether you prefer history, fiction, or want to read the best golf instruction books, our curated list of the most interesting golf reads (or listens if you prefer audio books!) is here!
Best Golf History Books
Want to get a sense of the roots of the game you love? Brush up on some of the most historic moments in golf and celebrate the achievements of inspiring women. Here’s our favorite reading on the history of golf.
- The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever by Mark Frost - A favorite for anyone interested in golf history and a legendary foursome that paired two amateur golfers against golf’s greatest living pros. Set in the backdrop of Cypress Point and featuring the impacts of women in the sport, The Match is a suspenseful ride packed with golf history.
- Charlie Takes His Shot: How Charlie Sifford Broke the Color Barrier in Golf by Nancy Churnin – The inspiring true story of determination in the face of discrimination. In a sport blemished with a now-revoked “Caucasian-only” clause, Charlie Sifford prevailed, opening the doors of the game to a diverse spectrum players.
- Wonder Girl by Don Van Natta – Multi-sport superstar athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias lived an incredible life before taking on the game of golf. She became a female golf celebrity in 1947, winning 17 straight amateur victories and every golf title available. The bold story of this LPGA founding member is not to be missed!
- In the Women's Clubhouse: The Greatest Women Golfers in Their Own Words by Terri Leonard – This beautiful anthology offers fascinating insights into the lives of the best women golfers. In a sport dominated by men, these stories highlight the tenacity and passion it takes to break glass ceilings.
Best Golf Instruction Books
Great idea to take in some golf literature focused on improving your golf skills! While many books focus more on specific techniques, we truly love these two guides for shifting your attitude and mental perspective:
- Unconscious Putting: Dave Stockton’s Guide to Unlocking your Signature Stroke by top golf coach, Dave Stockton. This guide offers simple physical routines and a mental framework to break free from rigid, mechanical putting and focus on the goal: getting the ball into the hole. This book is a quick read that offers players, whether amateur or pro, a simple art to mastering the putt.
- Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game by Dr. Joseph Parent –This instructional guide draws on Zen tradition to help eliminate mental distractions on the fairway. PGA Coach and Buddhist instructor, Dr. Joseph Parent helps players square their physical game with the play-by-play that happens in the mind.
Best Fiction Golf Books
Golf appears as a minor character in many novels, but there are relatively few fiction books that center around the game. You’ll enjoy these two novels on a relaxing day, and the descriptions of the game will make you long to play your next round.
- Back Spin by Harlan Coben – Sports agent Myron Bolitar lands in the middle of a kidnapping plot centered around the U.S. Open. Written in 2009, some cultural references in this book are a bit outdated, but the story is compelling and it’s easy to get swept up in the story. This is the perfect beach read between rounds on the fairway.
- Missing Links by Rick Reilly – In this fun read, four friends place bets on who can get access to a highly exclusive private golf course, Mayflower Country Club. The book has some laugh-out-loud moments.
Best Non-Fiction Golf Books
These books don’t focus solely on history, which is why we placed them in a category of their own. Featuring a travelogue through American golf courses, a coffee table book filled with beautiful photos, and a chapbook of funny and inspiring golf anecdotes, this list adds the perfect variety to your golf library.
- A Course Called America by Tom Coyne – Take a narrated tour of golf throughout all 50 states and gain a fresh perspective on the people, cultures, and landscapes of America’s best golf courses.
- The Making of Pacific Dunes by Tom Doak – Full of gorgeous photography, this book recounts the history of an iconic course. Authored by the course’s architect, it outlines the decisions and challenges that guided construction. Whether you have played Pacific Dunes or are planning your visit, this book is a fun way to acquaint yourself with the features of each hole. Plus it’s beautiful enough to sit on your coffee table and spark conversation.
- Unplayable Lies by Dan Jenkins – If you need a lighthearted book to toss in your carry-on bag or thumb through while waiting behind a slow group on the fairway, this book fits the bill. It’s filled with funny anecdotes and tidbits of golf history.
- Every Shot Must Have a Purpose by Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriot - This excellent read provides insight into a golfer’s holistic game: the integration of one’s physical, mental, technical, emotional and social being. It will inspire the novice, seasoned golfers, and non-golfers alike.
- Building of a Champion by Avis Brown Riley - Introduced to golf by her father, Avis shares her inspirational story of overcoming segregation in the sport. She brings knowledge and experience to lessons for established and aspiring golfers.
- So Help Me Golf by Rick Reilly - This new book from a pro golf author is one we can’t leave out. Take a deep dive into the game, its quirky traditions, its heroes, long shots, and the courses that have inspired greatness.
Now that you have your summer golf reading list, pack your suitcase or golf bag and get to reading! We’ve even got the perfect comfy lounge clothes for lazy weekend reading sessions. Enjoy!