Geeked on Golf

A Celebration of the People & Places that Make Golf the Greatest Game

Geek’s Library

“Golf is a science, a study of a lifetime, in which you can exhaust yourself but never your subject.” – David Forgan

We are awash in digital media, easily available to geeks eager to study the game and its playing fields.  I have created a video archive and a guide to online resources that are regularly updated, but I also like to take it back to the old school – print.

Starting with magazines, there are three that I find compelling: Links Magazine, The Golfer’s Journal, and Caddie.  Each takes a different angle on the game, but all three have the fundamentals in common – in-depth, smart writing, coupled with beautiful photography.  I am a subscriber to each, and they are my favorite things to find in the mailbox.

Below is an alphabetical list of my favorite books on golf courses, architecture, history, and playing the game.  I am not much of a book review writer, so I have included the official summaries.  Links are provided to purchase each, or pick yourself up a library card.  As my studies progress, I will add to the list.


CURRENTLY READING

GOLF ARCHITECTURE: A Worldwide Perspective Vol. 1 by Paul Daley

Leading golf architects from 15 countries present their ideas, providing a much-needed international assessment of the principles and practices of golf architecture.

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COURSES & ARCHITECTURE

AMERICA’S LINKSLAND: A Century of Long Island Golf by William Quinn

“Carefully researched and beautifully written, America’s Linksland is a heart-felt tribute to one of golf’s most historic places. Vintage photos of golf in the early days, and spectacular color photography by L.C. Lambrecht of some of Long Island’s best courses, add even more to its appeal.”

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THE ANATOMY OF A GOLF COURSE: The Art of Golf Architecture by Tom Doak

“Tom Doak here discusses his craft and explains the strategies behind a golf architect’s decisions. Knowing why a course is laid out is critical to how the course should be played. Knowledgeable golfers and beginners alike will find The Anatomy of a Golf Course fascinating–and stroke saving–reading.”

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THE CONFIDENTIAL GUIDE TO GOLF COURSES by Tom Doak

“Each review is written by world class architect Tom Doak based on his own personal observations plus the input of his three co-authors, Ran Morrissett, Masa Nishijima, and Darius Oliver. Each course is graded on a 0-10 scale by each author who has seen it. These reviews will provide honest and unvarnished viewers from the authors that will help you plan your golf vacations, business side trips and golf adventures. The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses is the most collected and most referenced golf book in the modern era.”

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A COURSE CALLED IRELAND: A Long Walk in Search of a Country, a Pint, and the Next Tee Time by Tom Coyne

“A Course Called Ireland is the story of a walking-averse golfer who treks his way around an entire country, spending sixteen weeks playing every seaside hole in Ireland. Along the way, he searches out his family’s roots, discovers that a once-poor country has been transformed by an economic boom, and finds that the only thing tougher to escape than Irish sand traps are Irish pubs.”

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DREAM GOLF: The Making of Bandon Dunes by Stephen Goodwin

“On a wild, windblown bluff high above the Pacific sits one of America’s premier golfing destinations, Bandon Dunes. Golf enthusiast Mike Keiser had the dream of building this British-style “links” course on a stretch of Oregon’s rugged coast, and Dream Golf is the first all-inclusive account of how he turned his passion into a reality.”

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EVANGELIST OF GOLF: The Story of Charles Blair Macdonald by George Bahto

“Charles Blair Macdonald may very well be one of the most influential persons in American golf history. In this visually stunning book, author George Bahto presents a compelling look into Macdonald’s, Seth Raynor’s, and Charles Banks’ work and includes an impressive array of rare vintage photographs, detailed course layouts, and sketches of many of their most highly regarded hole designs.”

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THE FUTURE OF GOLF: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back by Geoff Shackelford

“The Future of Golf reveals how the sport has been kidnapped by equipment manufacturers and knowingly deregulated by its governing bodies. A mix of commentary, analysis, and essays, the book chronicles the misguided strategies made by the once-respected United States Golf Association, showing how the momentum from Tiger Woods’s popularity is being squandered by manipulative manufacturers and celebrity worship.”

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GROUNDS FOR GOLF: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design by Geoff Shackelford

“Combining Geoff Shackelford’s informative narrative with detailed illustrations by architect Gil Hanse, Grounds for Golf explains the fundamentals of golf course design in an understandable and entertaining style. Modern photographs, anecdotal sidebars, and witty quotations augment a course design primer that will enhance readers’ enjoyment of golf’s lore while introducing the fundamentals of course design.”

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TOM DOAK’S LITTLE RED BOOK OF GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTURE by Tom Doak

“This book is an unprecedented view of how one of our era’s best architects thinks about his craft, his peers and his business.  It reads like a long conversation about a craft he has loved, studied and honed for nearly 40 years – golf course architecture.”

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MASTERS OF THE LINKS: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design by Geoff Shackelford

Masters of the Links is a simply stunning collection of essays; most are lyrically crafted and as varied and intriguing as an afternoon stroll on a tough 18. Golf-course architects are a remarkable breed: lovers of the land and lovers of the game, they sculpt art out of nature as a challenge to those who dare to play on their masterpieces.”

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PLANET GOLF: The Definitive Guide to Great Golf Courses Outside the United States of America by Darius Oliver

“A breathtaking tour around more than 130 of the world’s finest golf courses, this exciting book focuses on courses outside the United States. Many fabulous courses will be new to the American reader, and are featured in magnificent photographs made especially for this book. Generously oversized, Planet Golf is a treasure trove of new information and great ideas for the golfing traveler.”

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PLANET GOLF MODERN MASTERPIECES: The World’s Greatest Modern Golf Courses by Darius Oliver

“Sure to generate plenty of debate, the book includes a unique international rankings section outlining the world’s best and most spectacular golf courses and golf holes. Oversized, Planet Golf Modern Masterpieces is a treasure trove of ideas, images, and insights for all golf lovers.”

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PLANET GOLF USA: The Definitive Guide to Great Golf Courses in America by Darius Oliver

“Author Darius Oliver, a regular contributor to golf rating panels, visited every course he reviews in this book and provides readers with a detailed ratings section that outlines the best, hardest, and most dramatic golf courses and golf holes in the country, as well as a unique Planet Golf World 100 ranking that selects the 100 finest courses on the planet and is sure to generate much interest and discussion.”

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SAND AND GOLF: How Terrain Shapes the Game by George Waters

“Golf on sandy terrain is something special because golf itself is a product of that terrain. Sand and Golf looks at all aspects of the relationship between sand and golf, from golf’s earliest days to the spread of the sport across the globe. Golf and golf course architecture on sandy sites is explored in every detail, using examples and illustrations from the best sandy courses in the world.”

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THE SPIRIT OF ST. ANDREWS by Alister Mackenzie

“In his “lost” 1933 manuscript, published for the first time in 1995, MacKenzie leads you through the evolution of golf–from St. Andrews to the modern-day golf course–and shares his insight on great golf holes, the swing, technology and equipment, putting tips, the USGA, the Royal & Ancient, and more.”

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TO THE NINES by Anthony Pioppi

To the Nines will send you on a mission to discover the roots of the game, and to seek out your own unique and unheralded courses.”

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WIDE OPEN FAIRWAYS: A Journey Across the Landscapes of Modern Golf by Bradley Klein

“A meditation on what makes golf courses compelling landscapes, this is also a personal memoir that follows Klein’s own unique journey across the golfing terrain, from the Bronx and Long Island suburbia to the American prairie and the Pacific Northwest.”

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PLAYING THE GAME

THE ART OF THE SHORT GAME: Tour-Tested Secrets for Getting Up and Down by Stan Utley

The Art of the Short Game demystifies the most aggravating shots on the links. Though Utley’s primer features a full set of drills, accompanied by more than seventy-five photos, his approach is far removed from the monotonous, mechanical instruction of yesteryear. Giving a time-tested secret weapon to every golfer at every level, Utley’s short-game methods turn trouble shots into triumph.”

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DAVE STOCKTON’S PUTT TO WIN: Secrets for Mastering the Other Game of Golf by Dave Stockton

“The top money earner on the PGA Senior Tour shares the secrets behind his renowned putting style, explaining how to visualize a successful putt, how to read the green, how to choose the right putter, and much more.”

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EVERY SHOT COUNTS: Using Golf’s Revolutionary Strokes Gained Approach to Improve Your Golf Performance and Strategy by Mark Broadie

“Broadie, a professor at Columbia Business School, helped the PGA Tour develop its cutting-edge strokes gained putting stat. In this eye-opening new book, Broadie uses analytics from the financial world to uncover the secrets of the game of golf. He crunches mountains of data to show both professional and amateur golfers how to make better decisions on the course.  This eagerly awaited resource is for any player who wants to understand the pros, improve golf skills, and make every shot count.”

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EVERY SHOT MUST HAVE A PURPOSE: How GOLF54 Can Make You a Better Player by Pia Nilsson, Lynn Marriott, Ron Sirak

“Unlike any other golf book, Every Shot Must Have a Purpose offers cutting-edge techniques for integrating the physical, technical, mental, emotional, and social parts of a player’s game. The book’s revolutionary pre-shot routine will improve your focus, leading to a golf swing that is not only successful but can be repeated under extreme pressure.”

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GOLF IS A GAME OF CONFIDENCE by Dr. Bob Rotella

“From the author of the bestselling Golf is Not a Game of Perfect comes a masterly illumination of golf’s mental game. Filled with inspirational stories about the great players, great courses and great tournaments, Golf Is a Game of Confidence encourages golfers, no matter what their level, to reach new heights in their games and their lives.”

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GOLF IS NOT A GAME OF PERFECT by Dr. Bob Rotella

“Filled with delightful and insightful stories about golf and the golfers Rotella works with, Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect will improve the game of even the most casual weekend player.”

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PLAY YOUR BEST GOLF NOW: Discover VISION54’s 8 Essential Playing Skills by Lynn Marriott & Pia Nilsson

“Building on the core concepts introduced in Every Shot Must Have a Purpose and the strategic thinking in The Game Within the Game, Play Your Best Golf Now takes the mystery out of the soft skills of golf and shows golfers how to add these skills to their game for peak performance.”

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THE UNSTOPPABLE GOLFER: Trusting Your Mind and Your Short Game to Achieve Greatness by Dr. Bob Rotella

“In The Unstoppable Golfer, Dr. Rotella applies the same wisdom and experience that have worked for clients like Davis Love III and Graeme McDowell to help every golfer master this special art of short shots and take all the frustration out of this increasingly challenging element of the game.”

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YOUR 15TH CLUB: The Inner Secret to Great Golf by Dr. Bob Rotella

“Dr. Rotella provides a detailed plan that anyone can use to build the self-image of a winner. He offers a one-year schedule in diary and calendar form that will incorporate the daily mental routines that he assigns to players on the PGA Tour. This is how the pros learn to ignore negative influences, focus on productive advice, and take pride in their abilities.”

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HISTORY, ETC.

THE GRAND SLAM: Bobby Jones, America, and the Story of Golf by Mark Frost

“Mark Frost uses a wealth of original research to provide an unprecedented intimate portrait of golf great Bobby Jones. In the tradition of The Greatest Game Ever PlayedThe Grand Slam blends social history with sports biography, captivating the imagination and engaging the reader. The Grand Slam is a biography not to be missed.”

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THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet and the Birth of Modern Golf by Mark Frost

“For Mark Frost, Francis Ouimet and Harry Vardon represent everything that’s right about sports in general and sportsmen in particular; gentlemen, champions, teachers, leaders, and each in their own quiet way, heroes. In The Greatest Game Ever Played, Frost attempts to create penetrating studies of both of these men, along with over dozens of the game’s seminal figures, within the dramatic framework offered by the tournament when they finally met, one of the most thrilling sports events in history, the 1913 U.S. Open.”

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HOGAN by Curt Sampson

“In this extraordinary book–the first full-scale biography of the enigmatic Hogan in twenty years–Curt Sampson explores the milestones of Hogan’s life–his father’s suicide, his miraculous comeback after his brush with death, his many triumphs on the Tour.”

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JACK NICKLAUS: My Story by Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus: My Story, now with a new afterword, is Jack Nicklaus’s compelling, personal account of his legendary majors triumphs, along with many other competition highlights — and some lowlights, too — of one of the greatest sports careers of all time.”

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THE MAKING OF THE MASTERS: Clifford Roberts, Augusta National, and Golf’s Most Prestigious Tournament by David Owen

“David Owen was granted unprecedented access to the archives and records of Augusta National Golf Club. He has produced an honest and affectionate chronicle of the Masters, from its conception to its modern greatness, and a fascinating portrayal of Clifford Roberts — whose perseverance and pride forged the Augusta National we know today.”

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THE MATCH: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever by Mark Frost

“In Mark Frost’s peerless hands, complete with the recollections of all the participants, the story of this immortal foursome and the game they played that day-legendarily known in golf circles as the greatest private match ever played-comes to life with powerful, emotional impact and edge-of-your-seat suspense.”

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MISSING LINKS by Rick Reilly

“When a group of middle-class buddies obsessed with golf set up a bet to see who can finagle their way onto the nearby private course, their friendship is tested in ways they had never expected in this humorous novel from Rick Reilly, one of America’s most popular sportswriters.”

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THE PRO: Lessons About Golf and Life from My Father, Claude Harmon, Sr. by Butch Harmon

“From Butch Harmon, the world’s number one golf coach, comes the inside story of how he learned everything he knows about golf and life from his father, Claude Harmon, Sr. Both a family memoir and a reminiscence of growing up among the legends of sport, The Pro is a portrait of one extraordinary family and the game that will carry their legacy for years to come.”

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TALES FROM Q SCHOOL: Inside Golf’s 5th Major by John Feinstein

“John Feinstein tells the story of the players who compete for these coveted positions in the 2005 Q school as only he can. With arresting accounts from the players, established winners, rising stars, the defeated and the endlessly hopeful, America’s favorite sportswriter unearths the inside story behind the PGA Tour’s brutal all-or-nothing competition.”

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TO THE LINKSLAND: A Golfing Adventure by Michael Bamberger

“The story of the author’s tour of European courses recounts how he quit a sports writing job in 1991 and strove to revive his stagnated game at the side of his wife, a journey during which he caddied on some of the world’s oldest courses for players who gave him valuable game insights.”

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TOMMY’S HONOR: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf’s Founding Father and Son by Kevin Cook

Tommy’s Honor is both fascinating history and a moving personal saga. Golfers will love it, but this book isn’t only for golfers. It’s for every son who has fought to escape a father’s shadow and for every father who had guided a son toward manhood, then found it hard to let him go.”

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THE WAR BY THE SHORE: The Incomparable Drama of the 1991 Ryder Cup by Curt Sampson

“In The War by the Shore, veteran golf writer and bestselling author Curt Sampson chronicles this pivotal competition. He interviewed dozens of key players from both Team USA and Team Europe, and provides historical context to explain why the tension was ratcheted so high at this particular Ryder Cup. Well-researched, engrossing, and deeply entertaining, The War by the Shore is the story of when golf lost its manners (and, to some extent, its mind).”

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Copyright 2017 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf