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Do you ever feel like your game is on the brink of a BIG breakthrough, yet through self-sabotage, you just can't seem to translate that to lower scores?
One of the best ways to take your game from good to GREAT doesn't require you to show up to the golf course. Sometimes, reading a great golf book can give you the perspective shift you need to shoot your lowest round ever.
Here are my Top 10 Golf Books of All Time.
When it comes to golf instructional books, you have to be careful. Everyone teaches a slightly different way, and some methodologies are more radical than others.
Below is a short list of my favorite instructional books that will provide a "neutral" starting point for most golfers. These books not only cover the modern fundamentals of the golf swing, but also come packed with golden nuggets of wisdom from the authors, who also happen to be some of the greatest and most accomplished players of their time.
It would be irresponsible of me to not put this legendary text at the top of my list. It's short, concise, has excellent visuals, and covers all the basics of the game. While arguably not the most "beginner friendly", it can be read by golfers of all skill levels.
I think every golfer should read this at least once, but there are 2 sections of the book I'd take with a grain of salt:
- Ball position - Hogan talks about placing the ball position off the inside of the left foot and adjusting the width of the stance depending on the club. In general, this is good advice, but don't get too prescriptive with it. Different lies and shot shapes will require slight adjustments to ball position.
- Right elbow - Lots of amateurs will look at how Hogan tucks his right elbow into his side and try to replicate it. This is NOT good for many golfers. Everyone is built differently and Hogan was able to tuck his right elbow more than most of us can. It's okay to have a slight "chicken wing" in the backswing, so long as the left arm is adequately supported.
Arguably the most legendary golf instructional book of our time, Hogan's Fundamentals is a must-read for all golfers at least once.
Golf My Way by Jack Nicklaus is one of my favorite books because he not only teaches the fundamentals of golf but also sprinkles in some of that 18-time major champion wisdom and strategy.
This is a great book to "read between the lines" and soak up everything the Golden Bear has to say!
Similar to Golf My Way, you'll find all sorts of golden nuggets in this book.
In addition to fundamentals, Tiger talks about things like the mental game, course management, and why he plays like he does.
If there is any book I'd recommend buying a physical copy of, it's this one. With lots of great pictures, it's both a beginner and expert-friendly guide to the game of golf. There's something in this for every golfer.
While I can't say I'd recommend this book to most golfers (it is VERY difficult and confusing to read), I'd be leaving out a piece of golf history by excluding it.
After studying this book deeply, it has become the most influential book for my own understanding of the golf swing. Furthermore, the concepts in this book lay the foundation for nearly every teaching methodology you see across the golf industry today (whether the instructor accepts/understands this fact or not).
If you truly want a challenge and are looking to deeply understand the golf swing, I recommend following my Golfing Machine reading guide.
If you have any aspirations of breaking 80 or even 70 and haven't read a book in this category, I highly recommend starting today. As you lower your scores, the mental game becomes more and more important. Here are my favorite books to take your game to the next level.
Coming in the first spot on my mental game book list is a Bob Rotella classic. This book has a unique way of shifting your entire perspective on the game through anecdotes from some of the best players in the world that Rotella works with.
I can't put a finger on how this helped my game, yet after closing this book, I fired a 68 on my home course after struggling to break 75 for several weeks prior. This book will drop your scores and increase your enjoyment of this challenging game we call golf.
If I had to choose a single book to gift to a golfer of any skill level that I thought would improve their game overnight, it is this one.
I LOVE this book. Lynn and Pia are Annika Sorenstam's mental game coaches (among other pro golfers). Annika is the only woman to ever shoot 59 on the LPGA tour, and the entire premise behind this book is that every golfer should try to shoot a 54 each round (i.e. a perfect round).
While a 54 is not realistic for any golfer, the mindset required to even think about shooting such a low score will change your game overnight.
If you have a slight analytical sense to you, like to practice, and are dedicated to improving your game, this book is a must-read.
This is a totally underrated book. You won't see this recommended on many golf sites, yet it is an INCREDIBLE story of Gary Player's career. Gary gives a behind-the-scenes look at what a tour player thinks about leading up to, during, and after winning a major championship.
While you won't get a bunch of tactical tips from this book, you'll learn how to compete from one of the best in the game.
This book is full of actionable strategies for lowering your scores. For years, I have used several of the tips I read in this book during competitions.
If you play in your club championship, the amateur tour, or even skins games with your friends, this book will have you shooting lower scores in no time.
This is a collection of bite-sized stories from Harvey Penick's teaching days that offer a dose of entertainment followed by some actionable strategies for shooting lower scores and improving your golf swing.
Harvey Penick was the golf coach at The University of Texas from 1931 to 1963 and more famously coached great players such as Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw.
This book is full of wisdom and has something for every golfer.
Seeking a way to calm the mind and perform better in tournaments, I found mindfulness and meditation to be one of the most effective ways to do that. I started a daily practice years ago and have kept up the habit to this day.
Zen Golf provides a gentle introduction to mindfulness and how you can apply it to golf.
If you're looking for a way to lower your scores while also getting more enjoyment out of your rounds, this is a great place to start.
While these books are top of my list, I've put together a more comprehensive guide here that you can check out: Best Golf Books of All Time.