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11 Best Golf Books of All Time: Must-reads for every golfer

Last Updated: Dec 18, 2023

11 Best Golf Books of All Time: Must-reads for every golfer

I've read a TON of books throughout my golf career. These are the best golf books that I have ever read and I'm confident you'll find a game-changer here.

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TLDR; Which product is best for you?

Here's a quick summary of which products are best for each golfer.

Best Overall
Every Shot Must Have a PurposeEvery Shot Must Have a Purpose

In this book, the authors present a perspective starkly different than many mental game books. If you're serious about your game, this is an MUST READ.

Data-driven golfers
Every Shot CountsEvery Shot Counts

In Every Shot Counts, Mark Broadie introduces a revolutionary approach to game improvement—the strokes gained approach. This is a must-read for all golfers.

Overall Mental Game
Golf is Not a Game of PerfectGolf is Not a Game of Perfect

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.

Most Actionable
The Inner Game of GolfThe Inner Game of Golf

One of the most actionable mental game books, The Inner Game of Golf provides all sorts of great strategies for taming the mind on the course.

Overall Swing Fundamentals
Ben Hogans Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of GolfBen Hogans Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf

Arguably the most legendary golf instructional book of our time, Hogan's Fundamentals is a must-read for all golfers at least once.

Best Stories
Don't Choke: A Champion's Guide to Winning Under PressureDon't Choke: A Champion's Guide to Winning Under Pressure

This book takes you inside the mind of one of the game's greatest players, Gary Player and shows you how a pro thinks on the golf course!

Pro Insights
Golf My WayGolf My Way

While I wouldn't consider Jack's swing one that most golfers should copy, this book has the perfect blend of wisdom, strategy, and instruction. A must-read.

Beginner Swing Fundamentals
How I Play GolfHow I Play Golf

I think this is one of the most approachable introductions to the game of golf out there with some advanced strategies sprinkled throughout.

Analytical Golfer
The Golfing MachineThe Golfing Machine

This book is TOUGH. I don't recommend it for most golfers, but it is one of the most influential texts of our time and deserves a spot on my list!

Featured image 11 Best Golf Books of All Time: Must-reads for every golfer

Around The DIY Golfer, golf books are foundational to my teaching. I am an avid student of this game and have formed many of my opinions from a combination of personal, competitive golf experience and my deep study of the game through books.

I've read a lot more books than the ones mentioned here, but these are the best golf books for all types of golfers in my opinion.

Be sure to bookmark this post as I often add to this list!

Pick #1: Every Shot Must Have a Purpose

This is by far my favorite golf book. If you are looking for a book that will give you a systematic way to practice and play golf, then this is for you. The authors were Annika Sorenstam's mental coach when she became the first woman to break 60 in competition. They focus on creating a "process based" system for thinking about golf rather than an outcome/results based approach. Following the methods in this book, you will walk out on the course knowing that if you commit to a specific process and routine, the results will follow.

Every Shot Must Have a Purpose product image
Every Shot Must Have a Purpose

In this book, the authors present a perspective starkly different than many mental game books. If you're serious about your game, this is an MUST READ.

Pick #2: Every Shot Counts

As a web developer by profession, when I saw a golf book that talked about "dynamic programming" I was all ears.

And boy did it deliver. Every Shot Counts is probably the single most influential book in the past couple of decades and introduced the strokes gained methodology that is used on tour today.

While this book is geared towards someone who enjoys looking at statistics and data, I think the conclusions we can draw from it apply to anyone who steps foot on a golf course.

If you're a statistics nerd, buy this book now. If not, don't worry, I cover all of the findings of this book across The DIY Golfer website in qualitative terms, so you'll surely stumble on it at some point!

Every Shot Counts product image
Every Shot Counts

In Every Shot Counts, Mark Broadie introduces a revolutionary approach to game improvement—the strokes gained approach. This is a must-read for all golfers.

Pick #3: Golf is Not a Game of Perfect

If there is one book that I would suggest reading the night before a golf tournament to get your mind in the right spot, it is this one. Bob Rotella is easily the most famous golf mental game coach and writer and has awesome stories from the ranks of professional golf that nearly put you in the mind of a professional. Rotella does not present a system for golfing, but teaches you how to think through stories about professionals that he has worked with. If you think professional golfers have it easy out there, you really need to pick this book up. It is not only helpful to your game, but genuinely a fun read.

Golf is Not a Game of Perfect product image
Golf is Not a Game of Perfect

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.

Pick #4: The Inner Game of Golf

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.

The Inner Game of Golf product image
The Inner Game of Golf

One of the most actionable mental game books, The Inner Game of Golf provides all sorts of great strategies for taming the mind on the course.

Pick #5: Ben Hogans Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Ben Hogans Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf product image
Ben Hogans Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf

Arguably the most legendary golf instructional book of our time, Hogan's Fundamentals is a must-read for all golfers at least once.

Pick #6: Don't Choke: A Champion's Guide to Winning Under Pressure

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.

Don't Choke: A Champion's Guide to Winning Under Pressure product image
Don't Choke: A Champion's Guide to Winning Under Pressure

This book takes you inside the mind of one of the game's greatest players, Gary Player and shows you how a pro thinks on the golf course!

Pick #7: Golf My Way

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!

Golf My Way product image
Golf My Way

While I wouldn't consider Jack's swing one that most golfers should copy, this book has the perfect blend of wisdom, strategy, and instruction. A must-read.

Pick #8: How I Play Golf

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.

How I Play Golf product image
How I Play Golf

I think this is one of the most approachable introductions to the game of golf out there with some advanced strategies sprinkled throughout.

Pick #9: The Golfing Machine

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.

The Golfing Machine product image
The Golfing Machine

This book is TOUGH. I don't recommend it for most golfers, but it is one of the most influential texts of our time and deserves a spot on my list!

Pick #10: Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons And Teachings From A Lifetime In Golf

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.

Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons And Teachings From A Lifetime In Golf product image
Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons And Teachings From A Lifetime In Golf

You cannot go wrong with this gem. No matter what your skill level, you'll find something to help your game in Harvey's Little Red Book.

Pick #11: Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game

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.

Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game product image
Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game

Zen Golf is the bridge between mindfulness and your golf game. The book offers simple strategies that will help you lower your scores and enjoy the game more.

About the author: Zach Gollwitzer

Zach Gollwitzer profile picture

Hey, I‘m Zach, the founder of The DIY Golfer! I created this site while playing D1 collegiate golf with a simple mission—I wanted to learn the golf swing and get better at golf myself.

Fast forward a few years, and my “journal“, The DIY Golfer, has been viewed by millions of golfers worldwide looking to do the same with their games. my mission is to make golfers more consistent in just a few hours a week through advanced practice strategies and timeless, first-principle golf instruction.