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Non-Instructional Golf Books

post #1 of 105
Thread Starter 
This is a catch-all thread to discuss all non-instructional golf books.
post #2 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

Loved Paper Tiger by Tom Coyne. I wish he had gotten his shot at Q school but in some ways it may be more appropriate that he didn't. Cool when to get a look into a guy taking a shot we would all love to have the chance to take.
post #3 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

I also enjoyed Paper Tiger, and thought Coyne really helped describe just how difficult it is to go from being a really good golfer to becoming a tournement golfer - something that Hogan always said were two completely different sports. If you liked Coyne's writing style, I also suggest reading his book "A Course Called Ireland". He took another sabbatical from his normal life and walked the perimeter of Ireland, playing most of the links courses on the way. He gives a nice description of how different links golf can be, especially those courses that aren't famous to all of us, and overlays this with an enjoyable description of Ireland and the amazing hospitality of the Irish. It's a fun read that is part golf, part travelogue, and part introspection arising out of hundreds of miles of trudging from course to course.
post #4 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

I 3rd Paper Tiger as being a good read

I also enjoyed...
A Good Walk Spoiled
Fairways and Greens
The Green Road Home
Caddy for Life
post #5 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

The Mysterious Montague by Leigh Montville.

Great true story about a Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
guy who is a wanted convict in New York and runs away to California and becomes the world's best amateur golfer. His identity is later found and he is held on trial in NY. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
He ends up being acquitted of the charges and tries and fails at becoming a pro golfer.


He becomes sort of a cult figure among golfers and as the story goes he once bet that hit could hit a bird off a wire with a 9-iron, and he did.

He also beat Bing Crosby at golf with a fungo bat, a shovel and a rake.
post #6 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

Tom Coyne (of "Paper Tiger") also wrote a nice book called "A Course Called Ireland", describing his experience of walking the perimeter of Ireland playing most of the links courses in the country. After Paper Tiger, he took another sabbatical in his life and took a month off (he must have a more understanding wife than mine!) and carried his clubs and belongs, walking essentially the whole country in pursuit of an understanding of the essence of links golf. The book is a nice mix of golf course descriptions where he gives a good description of what really distinguishes Irish links golf from what we're used to, combined with a nice description of the Irish country side and weather, an underestanding of what pub life is all about (and what distinguishes bad, good, and great pubs), and most interestingly his experiences and perceptions of the Irish people, including his many descriptions of Irish acts of hospitality. Part travelogue and part golf description, I found this a very enjoyable read that makes me want to start planning a long trip to Ireland (although I would certainly plan on driving and not walking!
post #7 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

I loved John Feinstein's Tales from Q-School. It's a must read for anyone out there thinking about a career in Pro golf. It's also a great read for a hacker like myself. High drama. Heartbreaking, inspiring read.

An added bonus for me was the fact that I've played a round at Panther Lake at Orange County National- the site where they held Q-School Finals that year (2005). Being able to picture the place was especially fun for me.

Also, the book even mentions young Mike Perez from Big Break Disney briefly. Feinstein calls him a "hot head" if I recall correctly.
post #8 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

Originally Posted by JetFan1983 View Post
I loved John Feinstein's Tales from Q-School. It's a must read for anyone out there thinking about a career in Pro golf. It's also a great read for a hacker like myself. High drama. Heartbreaking, inspiring read.

An added bonus for me was the fact that I've played a round at Panther Lake at Orange County National- the site where they held Q-School Finals that year (2005). Being able to picture the place was especially fun for me.

Also, the book even mentions young Mike Perez from Big Break Disney briefly. Feinstein calls him a "hot head" if I recall correctly.
Great book! All of his golf books are great reads. I would recommend his other sports books, but this is a golf thread . Alright, maybe a few: The Last Amateurs, (especially liked it because i'm applying to 2 Patriot League schools), The Punch, A March to Madness, Last Dance: Behind the Scenes at the Final Four

I also enjoyed his other golf books: Caddy For Life: The Bruce Edwards Story, Open: Inside the Roped at Bethpage Black, A Good Walk Spoiled, The Majors, and of course, Are You Kidding Me? by Feistein and Rocco Mediate about the 2008 US Open.

IMO He has a distinctive, easy to read writing style that is not exactly structurally amazing, but his books are always so thoroughly researched and the stories so enticing, they are hard to put down. Plus, they are pretty quick reads.
post #9 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

My favorites:

- Bud, Sweat, & Tees: Rich Beem's Walk on the Wild Side of the PGA Tour.
- Tommy's Honour: The Extraordinary Story of Golf's Founding Father and Son
- Tales from Q school

I'm about to start "Fairway to Hell" ther real story of Carl Hiaasen (great writer), to take up the game again in 2005 after quitting in 1973. It's going to be fun..
post #10 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

Originally Posted by jamo View Post
......and of course, Are You Kidding Me? by Feistein and Rocco Mediate about the 2008 US Open.

I'll second the recommendation of "Are You Kidding Me?". It's a very interesting and funny view of the inside thinking of what is one of the greatest tournaments ever. Rocco just has to be one of the most likeable guys on tour. And since I was at that Open, it was really interesting to read about what was going on on the other side of the ropes. A really fun read.

On a separate note, does anyone have any good recommendations for biographies on Same Snead and Byron Nelson? I've read a couple on Hogan, and am trying to get a better understanding of the tour and personalities in the tour as it has evolved through the years.

I'd also highely recommend "The Match" by Mark Frost. This book gave some great "mini-biographies" of some of the other characters and the issue of how golf change from an amateur to truly professional sport. His style of jumping back and forth between the gripping match taking place on the hallowed grounds of Cypress CC, combined with the backstories of the participants and the sport made for an interesting style book that reads well. And I was really surprised to learn that the author is the same Mark Frost who teamed up wtih David Lynch for the TV series "Twin Peaks". He certainly must be an interesting author!
post #11 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

Originally Posted by Paxarin View Post
I'm about to start "Fairway to Hell" ther real story of Carl Hiaasen (great writer), to take up the game again in 2005 after quitting in 1973. It's going to be fun..
Is that anything like his book Downhill Lie? They seem to be on the same topic. Good book too.

Originally Posted by Clambake View Post
I'll second the recommendation of "Are You Kidding Me?". It's a very interesting and funny view of the inside thinking of what is one of the greatest tournaments ever. Rocco just has to be one of the most likeable guys on tour. And since I was at that Open, it was really interesting to read about what was going on on the other side of the ropes. A really fun read.

On a separate note, does anyone have any good recommendations for biographies on Same Snead and Byron Nelson? I've read a couple on Hogan, and am trying to get a better understanding of the tour and personalities in the tour as it has evolved through the years.

I'd also highely recommend "The Match" by Mark Frost. This book gave some great "mini-biographies" of some of the other characters and the issue of how golf change from an amateur to truly professional sport. His style of jumping back and forth between the gripping match taking place on the hallowed grounds of Cypress CC, combined with the backstories of the participants and the sport made for an interesting style book that reads well. And I was really surprised to learn that the author is the same Mark Frost who teamed up wtih David Lynch for the TV series "Twin Peaks". He certainly must be an interesting author!
The Match is great, along with Frost's other books, The Grand Slam: Bobby Jones, America, and the Story of Golf and The Greatest Game Ever Played, which yes, was made into a Disney movie with (my most hated actor) Shia LaBeouf. The book is much better than the movie. Frost seems to be creating a golf history series, starting with Vardon and Ouimet of the early 1900's, then Bobby Jones on the 30's, and Hogan, Nelson, and the various amateurs of the 40's and 50's.
post #12 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

I agree with any of the three Mark Frost books, though the Match was probably my least favorite of the three. Golf in the Kingdom is a classic, and as kind of follow up to it, In Search of Burningbush by Michael Konik was also good. I also really enjoyed Two Years in St. Andrews by George Peper, and Final Rounds by James Dodson.
post #13 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

Originally Posted by jamo View Post
Is that anything like his book Downhill Lie? They seem to be on the same topic. Good book too.
Actually, i think it's exactly the same book, with too different titles.. first published as "the downhil lie" and then as "Faiway to hell".. l
post #14 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

Couple more.

- Preferred lies, by Andrew Greig, "the story of one man's connection with the ancient game, and of his relationship with the people he has met and golfed over the years"
- Golf on the Edge, by Stephen Cartmell, This guy plays what he believes to be the 18 most outstanding links Courses in UK.
post #15 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

i just finished reading byron nelson's biography "how i played the game." it was a decent read and held my interest pretty well from start to finish. he goes into a fair bit of detail on what it was like playing the tournament circuit back around the 30s and 40s, and then what it was like being a part of television as it was up-and-coming in regards to broadcasting tournaments and his role as a commentator.
post #16 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

"Four Iron in the Soul" by Lawrence Donegan

An enjoyable book where the author takes a year off from his newspaper job and gives caddying on the European Tour a shot. He hooks up with Ross Drummand, a longtime pro on the tour who just couldnt ever seem to put it all together. Lawrence starts off with bounds of enthusiasm but is a neophyte on what a pro caddy actually does and the life of a caddy, and through the season he truly starts to understand the caddy's life but also becomes more frustrated as Drummond continues to struggle. The book gives a great insight into how the caddy's life is very different from that of the pros, particularly for those that aren't carrying the bag for a top player. The book is an interesting study in the may differnt personalities on the European Tour and the psychology in the player/caddy relationship, all wrapped into a nice travelogue that starts in South Africa and bounces around the different European Tour stops, some great and many bad.

Donegan's book is kind of similar to "Paper Tiger" by Tom Coyne, but I think Donegan is a better writer. To me Coyne's writing was little more selfish in that he's always talking about his thoughts and experience, and while Donegan does a little of that too he also spends a lot of time seeking out interesting backstories of others, including the top caddies such as Woosnam's caddy, tour players accused of cheating and their caddies, etc.

Overall, and enjoyable book and one I recommend.
post #17 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

I really like books on golf course architecture. So far I have:
* Nicklaus by Design
* Golf Architecture: A Worldwide Perspective Vol. 2 | Edited by Pau Daley - This is a collection of essays on design philosophy of different greats, practical stuff on clubhouse structure, and stuff on golf catching on in developing nations, modern day legal issues in course layout.

* The World Atlas of Golf. More a collection of layouts sketches on hundreds of prominent courses, and detailed five-page features on dozens of truly famous ones. Touches on architecture as a theme.

All of these are full-color photo "coffee table" books, so I am on the lookout for similar items in the 90%-off bins in Borders. I've located about a dozen or so classic books/reprints by the likes of Alistair McKenzie and W.A. Tillingast, but they all cost $50 on up if you buy them new. They are so specialized, they won't show up at Borders.

I secretly wanted to build golf courses when I was younger, but right now many USA areas seem to have more courses than they need. I especially like courses where they just took the rolling land and found a fair number of natural holes, rather than moving 10,000 cubic yards of dirt for every short par 3.
post #18 of 105

Re: Non-Instructional Golf Books

Originally Posted by WUTiger View Post
......They are so specialized, they won't show up at Borders.

This is a fun thread, it's nice to get some recommendations from people on books other than the usual instructional books. By the way, I have a good tip for those searching for more esoteric books, especially those out of print. Check out abebooks.com.

Abebooks.com is a consortium of bookstores worldwide, originally focused on collectible books. I first discovered the site as a recommended place to find and determine value for first editions and rare books - as an example, they have an exquisite first edition "The Big Sleep" by Raymond Chandler for $25k if anone is interested. I've bought a number of collectible books from the site such as old first edition Hemingway, Steinbeck, etc. and every time I have found the service from the member bookstores to be outstanding and their ratings of book condition (if used) have always been better than described. Just for fun, I looked up Nicklaus' classic on golf architecture "Nicklaus by Design" and found copies ranging from $1.92 for a well-used example to $250 for an autographed first edition in fine condition.

Even if you're not looking for rare Raymond Chandler books, it's a great place to find those hard-to-find golf books and check if the prices are fair - a great resource for anyone who loves books.
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