Many people say that golf is a mental game, but most players don’t know what this means in practice. In Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, Dr. Bob Rotella dives into the best psychological insights available for improving one’s mental side of the sport. Dr. Rotella is a renowned sports psychologist who has worked with some of the best players in the game, sharing his insights in condensed form here.
His central thesis is that improving one’s mental approach to golf will improve one’s score more than swing mechanics or technique. A winning mindset, focusing on the present moment, and a positive attitude are core.
Ben Hogan is considered one of the best golfers of all time, and his book summarizes the best of his knowledge of the game. It is a comprehensive guide to golf's swing mechanics, fundamentals, and technical aspects.
The book’s five lessons cover the swing's five aspects: grip, stance, posture, the swing itself, and the finish. Each explanation is precise, with illustrations to aid understanding. Unfortunately, the book is a bit dated now, but if you are looking for timeless technical advice on your swing, this is the book for you.
This book was featured on Garage.Golf’s five books all golfers must read list, 2022.
The Complete Golf Manual is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of the game. It starts with the fundamentals and moves into more advanced techniques in each section. The book is divided into different parts of the game, starting with driving, then irons, short game, putting, and finally, course management.
One of the most significant advantages of Newell’s book is the number and detail of the illustrations, which show step-by-step guides for each idea. This includes every aspect of the golf swing and different drills and routines you can try. The book also goes into the mental side of the game, giving tips on a winning mindset, emotional management, and staying focused.
The Short Game Bible looks specifically at shots from 100 yards in, providing detailed instructions on how to deal with shots in a variety of positions, including chips, pitches, bunker shots, and putts.
The book is great for its detailed instructions, providing clear explanations for each technique and recommended drills and routines. In addition, there are lots of helpful illustrations and photographs to help understanding. For example, Dave Pelz’s discusses how the short game contains the majority of golf’s shots, emphasizing the importance of improving it to lower one’s score.
Zen Golf takes a different approach to golf instruction. The book is entirely focused on the mental side of the game, with Dr. Joseph Parent, a sports psychologist, laying out his work with top golfers to develop a calm, focused, and confident mindset.
The practical exercises and techniques taught in the book are helpful, providing breathing exercises, visualization, and self-talk. But most importantly, it focuses on the need not to get stuck on past mistakes or future worries. There’s also advice on frustration, anger, and anxiety, honing in on specific mental problems.
An absolute classic in the world of golf instruction, Henry Penick’s Little Red Book is a collection of tips and advice from the legendary golf coach. The personable book is filled with anecdotes from his long and storied career, with practical advice on each aspect of the game.
The best aspect of the book is its straightforward approach to instruction. He offers clear, consistent advice on everything from grip to stand to course management, complemented by illustrations and photos. The cherry on top is getting to be in the mind of a great golf coach, with his love of the game coming through on every page.
A fascinating look into one of the greatest golfers of all time, Hank Haney’s book provides a peek behind the curtain at the life and talent of Tiger Woods. It looks precisely at Woods’ swing mechanics, training routine, and mindset, providing insights into his focus and competitive drive.
The book also looks at the challenges of coaching something who is always in the limelight, with all the pressure that entails that came off into the coaching sessions. An excellent read for everyone interested in the sport.
A comprehensive yet accessible guide to the science behind golf, the book covers a wide range of scientific concepts related to the sport. This includes the physics of ball flight, the biomechanics of the golf swing, and how technology works with modern golf.
Haskett creates clear explanations of these complex topics, with numerous illustrations and diagrams to help understand the material. As a valuable bonus, there are many interviews with top players and coaches included, which brings the science down to earth into practical advice.
If you like a more story-based approach, The Match looks at the historic golf match in 1956 between two of the greatest players of time against two up-and-coming stars. Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward were new and making waves to the professional scene, while Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan had already established their all-star status. Played over two days at the famous Cypress Point Club in California, all eyes were on them.
Frost does a phenomenal job of providing a vivid look at the match, including all the anticipation and emotions. He looks at all the players' personalities and the state of the game at the time, offering a time capsule of 1950s golf.
To the Linksland looks at the author’s journey across Scotland in search of the perfect round of golf. Bamberger works for Sports Illustrated, and ended up writing one of the most compelling adventures in the world of golf, filled with humor, insight, and an everlasting appreciation for the game of golf.
The book takes Bamberger through some of Scotland’s most famous courses while meeting a colorful cast of characters, including veteran caddies, club members, and fellow golfers. Effortlessly weaving together his own journey in golf with larger themes about the game, he discusses the role of golf in tradition, class, and building community.