Throughout the year, we'll be keeping you up to date on the golf books of 2012 — what's out, what's coming out, and what they're all about. For a list of books from 2011, click here.
The Golden Age of Pinehurst: The Story of the Rebirth of No. 2
Author: Lee Pace
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press
Just as history coats the golf course, it pours off every page of "Pinehurst"; indeed, the old photos that fill this affectionate sweep through No. 2's beginnings to its dramatic new restoration are alone worth the tariff. But past, significant as it is – and as well-told as Page presents it — is prologue. The story of how architects Coore and Crenshaw firmed up No. 2's future by recovering the legacy left by Donald Ross over his almost half a century at the resort has real presence, not just for Pinehurst, but for anywhere that a golfing Turner or Titian has been marred by modern moustaches.
The Rolex World's Top 1000 Courses
Editors: Gaetan Mourque d'Algue, Kristel Mourque d'Algue, Bruce Critchley
Publisher: D'Algue Selection
Physically, the new edition of the Rolex has heft — because of all the weight of golfers' wishful thinking crammed inside. This is a dream book; whatever page you open, a golfing journey awaits. The guide is packed with thumbnail sketches of the 1000 courses — spanning the globe from Cyprus to Cypress Point – that its panel of raters deemed most worthy. Bulgaria? Cambodia? They're here, as are more familiar outposts like Augusta, Pine Valley, St. Andrews and Royal County Down. Organized by countries – and, in the U.S, by state — each track is ranked on a numerical scale, and each entry arrives with map, scorecard info, an architectural lineage, and such handy intelligence as phone numbers, closest airport, and where to eat and stay nearby. As comprehensive as the guide is, it's also predictable; the American picks, especially, lean toward private clubs where access can be tenuous. But isn't that part of why golfers dream?
Jack Grout: A Legacy in Golf
Author: Dick Grout with Bill Winter
Blue River Press
If the Grout name rings a bell, you get a gold star in your Nicklausology; as the pro at Scioto, Grout built the Bear, a fact featured prominently on the cover between the book's subtitle and a photo of Jack N. hitting balls with Jack G. looking on. Penned by his son, "Grout" is a warm book with a wide reach. Of course, any and all insights into how Nicklaus came roaring onto the scene are always fascinating, but there's more to Jack G. than Jack N. For example, when Grout's older brother became head pro at Fort Worth's Glen Garden in the early '30s, Jack – as his assistant – regularly honed his own substantial game against a couple of local players who'd come up through Glen Garden's caddie yard: Hogan and Nelson. There's lots of golf history here, lots of tales from the game's barnstorming heyday, and lots of lively lore on what goes into constructing a game – and a player — capable of winning 18 majors.
From the Links: Golf's Most Memorable Moments
Author: Joshua Shifrin
Publisher: Lyons Press
"Links" is the kind of book that comes around from time to time – a collection of old chestnuts whose retelling grows stale if relayed without freshness. You know the kinds of stories. Lee Trevino and the snake. Gary Player and the bees. The "Duel in the Sun" at Turnberry. Arnie's charge up Cherry Hills. Annika's 59. The Nicklaus-Jacklin Ryder Cup concession. While even good yarns bear no expiration date, when just rehashed they leave you hungry; by presenting about 100 tales in short, repackaged chunks, "Links" offers plenty to nibble on, but not much to chew.
City of Champions: The History of Professional Golf in Las Vegas
Authors: Jack Sheehan and Brian Hurlburt
Publisher: Stephens Press
For a desert city, "Vegas" covers the waterfront. Its purpose is to celebrate both the civic group instrumental in bringing professional golf to town and the town's golfing tradition, and it does that – but in a helter-skelter mash of words and pictures that's as loud as a casino and as memorable as an opening act. Its pages are filled with showgirls, a celeb here and there, lots of oversized winner's checks, and bits and pieces from professional stopovers to the golfing rise of the Running Rebels of UNLV. Glitzy, maybe, but as evanescent as neon.
Golf Magazine’s Big Book of Basics: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Complete and Reliable Game From the Ground Up
Editor: David DeNunzio
Publisher: Time Home Entertainment
Our confreres on the instructional side are at it again, this time with an illustrated soup-to-nuts refresher on the fundamentals. A staff of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers offer a clear and simply presented series of lessons, checkpoints and drills to burn the essential A-B-Cs into your golfing consciousness to prevent the dreaded Xs from finding their way to your scorecard.
Golf’s Grand Design: The Evolution of Golf Architecture in America
Authors: Bob Cupp and Ron Whitten
Whitten, the architectural critic at Golf Digest, and Cupp, the designer of layouts like Pumpkin Ridge, build their companion volume to the PBS special that ran earlier this year on a series of informative conversations between themselves on the art form that captivates them both. Each dialogue focuses on a single designer — from the Macdonalds, Tillinghasts and Rosses of the past to the present of Crenshaw, Doak and Hanse — and most of the 33 architects they explore come with a design sketch to help illustrate essential aspects of their styles. It adds up to an illuminating examination of the creative process and an appealing introduction to one of the game’s move overlooked components: the golf course itself.
Dave Pelz’s Putting Games: The More You Play, the Better You Putt
Author: Dave Pelz with Eddie Pelz
Publisher: Gotham Books
In his earlier books, Pelz, the old rocket scientist, had a way of overcomplicating with data, which makes “Games” something of “The Putting Bible” from an alternative universe. Its title tells the tale; it really is playful. Pelz has put together a series of vividly illustrated indoor and outdoor games – disguised drills, really — designed to address a galaxy of putting woes. They all have rules and ways to keep score: in the end the numbers help identify strengths and weaknesses in the way we approach the short stroke. All good. All useful. Still, a caveat: While some games need nothing more than a person, a putter and a ball, many — since Pelz loves his gadgets and gizmos as much as his research and his charts — require the purchase of a variety of Pelz-developed training aids available through Pelz’s website.
Grown at Glen Garden: How Golf Legends Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson Got Their Starts at the Same Course
Author: Jeff Miller
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Talk about the longshot that came in: Not only were two of the defining masters of American golf born in the same year, they picked up the game in the same Texas caddie yard. It was at Glen Garden that Nelson and Hogan met, and it was at Glen Garden that they began the friendship and rivalry that ineffably linked them for more than 60 years. Miller’s lively dual biography charts the course of two very different men — different personalities, different styles, different approaches to the game — whose lives and legacies intersected so fully that it’s impossible to consider one without the other.
The War By the Shore: The Incomparable Drama of the 1991 Ryder Cup
Author: Curt Sampson
Publisher: Gotham Books
Remember when the Ryder Cup was just a quiet biennial sideshow? Of course not, because it all changed so radically at Kiawah that the pre-1991 memory chips have virtually disappeared; the Cup's been a flag-waving us-vs.-them beatdown ever since. How'd that happen? Taking us on and off the course and inside the minds of the participants, Sampson carefully recreates the atmosphere and events surrounding one of the game's wildest weeks, then filters it neatly through both sporting and political perspectives. The postscript to the gathering, though short, is stunning in its bittersweet boys-of-summery aftermath.
Unconscious Scoring: Dave Stockton's Guide to Saving Shots Around the Green
Author: Dave Stockton with Matthew Rudy
Publisher: Gotham Books
What separates Stockton from the pack? The simplicity of his approach and the clarity of his presentation. When it comes to the short game, all you have to remember is how to hit it high and how to hit it low, and when to opt for which. Once that's sussed out, the unconscious part comes in; step in for the shot and step out of your own way. Does it work? Ask Rory.
Rory McIlroy: The Biography
Author: Frank Worrall
Publisher: John Blake
The most frustrating job in golf has to be trying write McIlroy's biography. First, he's too young to have had all that much of a life yet. Second, given the warp speed of his precocity, how do you keep up with what he's already had? Those are the unenviable balls Worrall attempts to juggle; he manages to keep them in the air, but just so far. Published last year in Britain and just shipped to the US, "Rory" cuts and pastes with fury, but was out of date before it rolled through the presses.
Sir Walter: Walter Hagen and the Invention of Professional Golf
Author: Tom Clavin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
The patron saint — and sinner — of the professional game, Hagen was a gale force in plus-fours: he had style, and he had game, and he backed up both with more elan and effervescence than today's Top 100 put together. Sadly, his star faded long ago. The Haig? Isn't that some hamlet in Holland? In this over-due reissue of his sturdy 2005 biography, Clavin certainly gives the man his props, though with arms- length respectfulness. The biography cruises smoothly across an historically riveting surface; the biographee beckons more depth.
Golf Rules Explained
Author: Steve Newell
Publisher: Collins & Brown
Self-evident as most of the rules are, they don't always read that way in the rule book. Tacking off the 2012 changes, Newell charts a smart course with straightforward prose, helpful photographs, logical organization and attractive packaging. Thin enough to tuck into a golf bag, "Explained" offers a golfing gift by fulfilling the promise of its title.
The Tiger Woods Phenomenon: Essays on the Cultural Impact of Golf's Fallible Superman
Editor: Donna J. Barbie
Publisher: McFarland & Company
Tiger's career is now wedgeable into two distinct pockets: the one before the academics descended, and the one since. In this latest refraction of Woods through an ivory-tower prism, Barbie, a professor at the Florida's Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, gathers a group of her colleagues to parse the spectacle around him in a series of essays with titles like "Ego, Entitlement and Egregious Behavior," "Public Apologies and Acts of Contrition," and "Tweet Your Troubles Away." The prose may be no threat to Dan Jenkins or Herb Wind, but "Phenomenon's" best ideas are – on heuristic and hermeneutic levels, of course — hardly pedantic.
The Ryder Cup: The Complete History of Golf's Greatest Competition
Author: Nick Callow
Publisher: Carlton Books
A Ryder Cup year means a Ryder Cup book, and Callow's breezy, illustrated chronicle qualifies on points. The text of each match is relatively brief, daily results are posted, key players are pulled out and profiled, and great shots spotlighted in sidebars. All good. But the real fun is in the book's wealth of photos, especially from the Cup's earliest years. Amazingly, the greenest of all sports has a way of coming across even more colorfully in black and white.
Golf By the Numbers: How Stats, Math and Physics Affect Your Game
Author: Roland Minton
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Get out your abaci, because Minton, a college math professor, likes crunching numbers and finding meaning in the results. He's not bad with words either, which makes his algebra, trigonometry and calculus hardly more head-scratching than simple arithmetic. Devoting the first half of "Golf" to the overall exploration of how numbers – beyond the scorecard – infuse the game, he helps demystify Shotlink, decode the handicap system, and formulates strategies for taking risks and laying up. In the second, he parses TOUR stats from tee to green and mucks around the ranking system. In the end, Minton's numbers not only add up, they tell an interesting story.
Introductions by Bernard Darwin
Editor: Dick Verinder
Publisher: Dormy House Press
Darwin, golf's Shakespeare, wrote so long and so superbly about the Royal & Ancient endeavor, that it's easy to overlook the wideness of the swath left by his pen. By anthologizing the numerous introductions that Darwin cobbled together for his own volumes as well as those of others, Verinder's put together a marvelous selection from a marvelous wordsmith on areas ranging from Sherlock Holmes, Dickens, and English cooking to, of course, the game he loved so much and upon whose literature he cast such a giant shadow.
Kiawah Golf: The Game's Elegant Island
Author: Joel Zuckerman
Publisher: The History Press
An odd duck of a volume, "Kiawah" is part paean, part carnival barker, and heavy on the kind course photographs designed to let loose a golfer's pheromones — which it, indeed, will do. The text is pheromone directed, as well, thick in its unvarnished praise for the island, its loops, and a few of its movers and shakers with quick looks at the history of the PGA Championship and the '91 Ryder Cup to try adding ballast. Still, "Kiawah" floats away on warm air of its own overkill, the kind of book that seems tailor-made primarily to decorate the coffee tables of the rooms in The Sanctuary, Kiawah's swank hotel.
Golf Is …: Defining the Great Game
Editor: Paul Dickson
Publisher: Dover Publications
Golf is a game that lends itself to compilations of quotations; there have probably been more mots dropped through the centuries than putts. Dickson builds his small volume around a single theme — getting a grip on with what makes golf golf — and it certainly has its charms … and not just from the usual suspects. For example, it would be worth remembering that "In golf as in life it is the follow through that makes the difference," even if it didn't come from such a masterful miner of the human condition as Samuel Beckett, the Irish Nobel laureate, who — no joke — liked to habituate the golf course when he wasn't just sitting around waiting for Godot.
The Upset: Jack Fleck’s Incredible Victory Over Ben Hogan at the U.S. Open
Author: Al Barkow
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
The ultimate hero. The ultimate underdog. Put them head to head and, well, we all know how this one turned out. The indefatigable Barkow takes on the indefatigable tale of the ’55 showdown at Olympic in day-by-day and — for the playoff — lively hole-by-hole and shot-by-shot detail. As improbable as the outcome always is, so is this: Almost 60 years ago, an American golfer had incorporated yoga into his mental game, and for one amazing week, it helped him find Nirvana.
Bobby’s Open: Mr. Jones an the Golf Shot That Defined a Legend
Author: Steven Reid
Publisher: Corinthian Books
All these years later, we still can’t satisfy our jones for Bobby — and why should we? Reid, a doctor, works to examine Jones’s complex mind by stitching the various strands that Jones had to pull together to win his first Open championship. The telling’s a bit clinical, but the story nonetheless thrives, especially in the analysis of Jones’s miracle recovery on the penultimate hole of his drag-out with Al Watrous over the storied links of Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s.
The Golf Majors: Record & Yearbooks, 2012
Author: Alun Evans
Publisher: Evanstar Publishing
If the more than 700 pages of Evans’s epically comprehensive journey through the Majors in “From Old Tom To The Tiger” (see April) is just too much of a trek, he cuts the load in half here by jettisoning his detailed write-ups for events prior to the millennium. All the stats – in all their glory – remain. If the heft has shrunk, the addiction potential happily hasn’t.
The Longest Shot: Jack Fleck, Ben Hogan and Pro Golf's Greatest Upset at the 1955 U.S. Open
Author: Neil Sagebiel
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
All these years later, we still marvel at the improbability of a municipal pro from Iowa catching the mighty Hogan on the final hole of regulation and then prevailing in a playoff. The Fleck saga would be golfing fantasy if it weren't, in fact, so terrifically real; Sagebiel's scrupulously reported book chronicles it with verve.
The 100 Greatest Golfers Ever
Author: Andy Farrell
Publisher: Elliott & Thompson
From Allan Robertson to Rory McIlroy, Farrell, the former golf correspondent for The Independent in Britain, taps a collection of the 100 finest swingers – male and female — of all time, groups them by era to weigh them against their peers, and gives each a short bio and assessment. Debates? There are many. Fun? Just consider his final five pairings in the race for the best through the ages: Young Tom Morris and Harry Vardon, Joyce Wethered and Mickey Wright, Seve and Arnie, Tiger and Hogan, and last off the tee, Jack and Bobby Jones. Who wouldn't pay to follow those matches?
Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime in Golf – 20th Anniversary Edition
Authors: Harvey Penick and Bud Shrake
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
There's a reason this is the best-selling golf book of all time, and two decades since it first appeared, the wisdom and gentle story telling within remain as timely – and timeless – as ever. If you haven't read it, there's no time like now to dip in.
The Rules of Golf in Plain English
Authors: Jeffrey S. Kuhn & Bryan A. Garner
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
The rules are the rules, and as much as we bristle about the arcana of their general presentation, we need them. It's the pairing of the authors that makes this third edition of "Plain English" – updated for the 2012 changes – so trenchant. Kuhn's a lawyer and USGA rules official, and Garner's penned the best modern guide to English usage. Together, they unravel the mysteries, rule by rule and clause by clause so even non-lawyers and language whizzes can revel in their understanding.
Great Golf: Essential Tips From History's Top Golfers
Editors: Danny Peary and Allen F. Richardson
Publisher: Triumph Books
Every guru has his or her path, which may be why so few golfers reach Nirvana. Still, fundamentals are fundamentals, and this instructional shelf in a single volume offers essential teachings – in their own words – from the giants of practice (Bobby Jones, Nicklaus, Hogan, and Babe Didrickson all the way back to Whigham and Vardon) and theory (Ernest Jones, Percy Boomer, Bob Toski and Jim Flick) alike. Put them all together and what do you get? Either the most well-oiled swing of them all or total paralysis by analysis. No matter, for in the end, the real takeaway is the history lesson embedded in the historical march of its tips.
Golf Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Golf
Author: Matthew Silverman
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Silverman (no relation to the author) fills up 180 pages with lots of stuff no golfer needs to know, but all golfers can appreciate. Why can't you ground your club in the sand? Why is golf called golf? (And no, it's not just because all the other four-letter words were taken.) Why are golfers expected to call their own penalties? Why is 18 the magic number? See inside for answers to that – and a good bit more that won't shave strokes but makes for better golfers.
On Par: The Everyday Golfer's Survival Guide
Author: Bill Pennington
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
From its inception in the New York Times, Pennington's "On Par" page regularly flirted with bogey, and what is essentially a compilation between covers stays the course. Short of George Plimpton, the Everyman Persona wears thin fast, especially when it overswings for laughs and hits it fat. Which is too bad, because there's a genial writer at work here as willing to share his enthusiasm for this maddening endeavor and where it's taken him as he is eager. If only he carried less schtick in his bag.
1,001 Pearls of Golfers' Wisdom: Advice and Knowledge, From Tee to Green
Editor: Jim Apfelbaum
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Essentially a slimmed down version of Apfelbaum's "Gigantic Book of Golf Quotations," "Pearls," even at a fraction of the heft, continues to talk the talk, filled as it is with some of the best things ever said about the game. It's OK to cheer the concept. As Babe Ruth once told the respectful gallery surrounding him, "How about some noise. How do you expect a man to putt?" Precisely…
From Old Tom To The Tiger — The Golf Majors, 1860-2010: The First 150 Years
Author: Alun Evans
Publisher: Create Space
The latest update of Evans's epic reference is nothing less than an heroic overhaul of what was already one of the game's cornerstones of essential information. Every British Open, U.S. Open, Masters, and PGA is treated — and this is a treat from cover to cover — to a detailed narrative followed by detailed results that include round-by-round scores of each participant, the leaders at the end of each day of play, and the low scores of each round. But that's only half the fun packed into almost 750 pages of very small type. The book's second half provides a dossier for every player ever to start in a Major event followed by a collection of championship records — from wins and streaks and margins to oldests and youngests and longests and shortests. Compared to what Evans has cobbled together, winning, say, 18 Majors seems comparatively easy.
Moe & Me: Encounters with Moe Norman, Golf's Mysterious Genius
Author: Lorne Rubenstein
Publisher: ECW Press
There's never been anyone in the game quite like Canada's Moe Norman, the iconic ball striker with the one-off swing and one-off personality. Rubenstein, the lyrical chronicler of the marvelous "A Season in Dornoch," weaves the fascinating strands of Norman's odd and idiosyncratic walk through life with great compassion and understanding in a celebration that's part biography, part memoir — the two crossed more than paths through four decades — and as enlightening as it is endearing.
Classic Golf Stories: Twenty-Six Incredible Tales From the Links
Editor: Jeff Silverman
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Prudence dictates we point this detail out from the get-go: the name atop this space and the name attached to this anthology are a DNA match given the proprietor of each is one and the same. Now onto business: Between its covers, "Classics" collects a cadre of memorable scribblers, from the hoped-fors — Bernard Darwin, Arnold Haultain, Ring Lardner, and P.G. Wodehouse — to the unexpected, including F. Scott Fitzgerald and H. Rider Haggard, to the sadly forgotten, like Holworthy Hall and Charles E. Van Loan. Decades after their debuts, these essays and stories remain eternally stylish and craving attention. There's even a dollop of fiction by A.A. Milne, more associated, certainly, with Pooh Corner than Amen Corner, but an uncrackable golf nut just the same.
Golf's All-Time Firsts, Mosts, Leasts and a Few Nevers
Author: Al Barkow
Publisher: Taylor Trade
Leave it to the unsinkable Barkow to come up with a lighter-than-air collection of the game's trivia that seamlessly floats from the esoteric to the essential. Don't know who the first movie star was to play on tour (Joe Kirkwood, Jr.), what tournament was the first with a five-figure purse (1926 L.A. Open), who first flew his own plane to an event (Johnny Bulla), or what the location is of the southernmost course on the planet (Argentina's Ushuara Golf Club)? No problem. You'll find the answers here, with hundreds more bits and pieces to delight and amaze. There are even a few pages in the back to insert some arcana of your own.
The Classic Palmer
Author: John Feinstein
Photographer: Walter Ioos
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Feinstein's text, a concise coronation of The King, is something of a trinket beside the book's crown jewels: half a century's worth of incomparable photographs of an incomparable subject by an incomparable photographer. It's fair to say magic wasn't captured every time that Ioos pointed his lens in Palmer's direction, but it's hard to make that case from the dozens of pictures assembled for this slight tribute volume. In black and white, Palmer's personality and charisma exude color; in color, they shimmer. Long after his playing days, his playing days still bring chills.
Making the Masters: Bobby Jones and the Birth of America's Greatest Golf Tournament
Author: David Barrett
Publisher: Skyhorse Press
Say this for Barrett: He thinks big. Two years ago, he wrapped his prose around Ben Hogan's miraculous comeback at the 1950 U.S. Open with stunning results. Here, he embraces Jones, Clifford Roberts, the genesis of Augusta and the beginnings of the little golf gathering held there ever April. Once again, his blend of narrative and research gives the past real presence, swinging through the details of the course's creation and the first two invitationals that served as prologue to so much golfing richness that would follow.
The Unstoppable Golfer: Trusting Your Mind & Your Short Game to Achieve Greatness
Aughors: Dr. Bob Rotella with Bob Cullen
Publisher: Free Press
The Rotella juggernaut continues on its ineffable quest to turn the mush most golfers bracket between their ears into a sharp and focused companion on the 18-hole journey. This time, the mental guru extraordinaire attacks the way we attack our chips, pitches, explosions and putts. His therapeutic blend of insight and anecdote has a calming effect. The mind may be its own place intent on inhabiting dark reaches, especially on the golf course, but on Rotella's couch the message is clear: Even a golfer's mind can be trained to see the light.
From Fields to Fairways: Classic Golf Clubs of Minnesota
Author: Rick Shefchik
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Think Minnesota, and golf may not be the first thing that pops into mind, but the land of 10,000 lakes is a land overflowing with with the endeavor. Bobby Jones won the third of his five Amateurs at Minikhada in 1927 and kept the Slam alive in 1930 with his Open win at Interlachen. Ross, Tillinghast, and Raynor all left important fingerprints on its terrain. By piecing together more than 20 mini club chronicles, this coffee table contribution impressively documents a substantive, illustrated — alas, only in black and white — saga that criss-crosses the state in pursuit of what amounts to an engaging social and sporting history unique to a particular patch of the nation.
Decisions on the Rules of Golf 2012-2013
Author: USGA and the R&A
When the governing bodies revise the rules, as they did in January, they also update the decisions on them, issuing a Talmudic volume of wisdom filled with the kinds of sticky wickets — "A ball lands against a dead land crab in a bunker. May the crab be removed without penalty?" — golfers have been known to lose sleep over. Knowing the game means knowing the rules, and knowing the rules means knowing their shadings. And knowing that a dead snake can be both an outside agency or a loose impediment, while a live one is just an outside agency, supplies a palpable sense of relief — once you've opted to run for cover.
Golf Rules & Etiquette Simplified: What You Need to Know to Walk the Links Like a Pro
Author: John Companiotte
Publisher: McGraw Hill
"Simplified" lives up to its billing; it keeps things simple. Beyond its ability to demystify the complexities of the rules themselves, the revised third edition simply does what its predecessors did best: give good advice. Like arrive early. Allow the group ahead to move out of range before hitting. Keep the cells silenced. Let the group behind play through if you fall behind. Repair divots. Play from the correct tees. Play the ball as it lies. Sure, lots of that sounds second nature. If you know it, it's still nice to be reminded, and if you don't, there's no time like the present to learn.
Build the Swing of a Lifetime: The Four-Step Approach to a More Efficient Swing
Author: Mike Bender with Dave Allen
The PGA's 2009 National Teacher of the Year, Bender employs the principles of physics and biomechanics to engineer an efficient swing that anyone should be able to adapt to. He builds his case through explanations and drills, and his advice on alignment, aim and ball position should help golfers at every level. But concepts like swing plane, hand path, and sequencing can be elusive. They're not easily transferred from page to the tee, let alone out to the golf course, without an expert conductor on hand to orchestrate the process.
Golf Resorts: Top of the World Volume Two
Editor: Martin Nicholas Kunz
Golf is filled with its dream books, those lavishly illustrated volumes that have us salivating over distant ports of call. This is one of them. The photos are lush and beckoning, and each resort includes a useful routing plan of the golf on its menu. But if the flesh is ripe, the bones are wanting; the information about each resort is bare at best, and the text — single paragraphs per location in English, German, and French — is surprisingly Spartan for a volume with such sumptuous intentions.
Tales From Augusta's Fairways: A Collection of the Greatest Masters Stories Ever Told
Author: Jim Hawkins with Robert Hartman
Publisher: Skyhorse Press
Unlike most Masters volumes, this one doesn't whisper with reverence. It's not much more than a tossed jumble of anecdotes — entertaining, even revealing — about the players and the playground, but what's Augusta without its lore? The gang's all here — from The Emperor Jones forward — and while many of the bits have been told time and again, there are nuggets worth digging for . . . like Augusta dictator Clifford Roberts borrowing German POWs from nearby Fort Gordon to help recondition his fiefdom for post-war play. Guess they were the original Hogan's heroes.
Gary Player: Golf's Global Ambassador From South Africa to Augusta
Author: John Boyette
Publisher: The History Press
Who can't appreciate the infectiousness of golf's Pied Piper? Player's a beacon of the game, and his life cries out for a comprehensive telling. This isn't it, and until that bio comes, this is an adequate place holder. To be fair, Boyette, the sports editor of the Augusta Chronicle, wasn't trying to lace up Boswell's spikes here. With a decidedly Augustan spin, he set out to celebrate the three-time champion's return to join Arnie and Jack as an honorary starter this year, and his book does just that.
Tales From Pinehurst: Stories From the Mecca of American Golf
Author: Robert Hartman
Publisher: Skyhorse Press
A reissue of an old chestnut with a new prologue to keep pace with the majestic No. 2's recent restoration, "Tales," true to its title, is the kind of dip-here, dip-there collection of Pinehurstiana that coalesces to remind you of your own sojourns if you've been or your intentions to book a room and a tee time if you haven't. Much of it's the kind of wispy stuff passed on while rocking on the veranda — Pinehurst is that kind of place — but there are enough insights into the course itself and the mysteries that Ross continuously wove through it to provide the ballast needed to keep the rest from floating away.
The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods
Authors: Hank Haney with Jaime Diaz
Publisher: Crown Archetype
The most awaited – and hyped – golf book since, well, who can remember that far back, has plenty of juice and plenty of golf, and comes off in the end like a cat fight purred from the perspective of the wounded feline, in this case not Tiger. What’s so remarkable about the whole enterprise is less the revelations – fascinating as they are – about Tiger the person or Tiger the golfer or the way Haney, as coach, worked with his pupil, but the startling realization that someone from within the inner circle – and the soft-spoken Hank Haney, of all people — finally broke rank to tell tales. Wait. That strange noise? Can it be the sound of Stevie Williams’s word processor churning out pages in the distance?
American Triumverate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and the Modern Age of Golf
Author: James Dodson
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
The always engaging Dodson marks the joint centenary of the births of Nelson (February), Snead (May), and Hogan (August) with a skillfully twined celebration of their lives and legacies. The real celebration at “Triumverate’s” heart is the way the game survived the Depression, thrived in its wake, and reconceived itself as a professional carnival, in no small part to the remarkable convergence of the trio’s very presences — their titanic abilities, their outsized personalities, their unmistakeable images and their uncanny knack for capturing imaginations, which they continue to do.
King of Clubs: The Great Golf Marathon of 1938
Author: Jum Ducibella
Publisher: Potomac Books
How crazy is this? A Chicago stockbroker short of cash literally bets the mortgage that he could play 600 holes over four straight days in eight cities from coast to coast. So crazy that you couldn’t possibly make it up, that’s how crazy. It’s a wild ride, and a wild story, all the wilder that it’s true, and it only grew wilder, crazier and more compelling with each stop. And how crazy is this: the hero, 32-year-old J. Smith Ferebee, returns home without having lost a single ball.
The R & A Golfer’s Handbook 2012
Editor: Renton Laidlaw
At just under 1000 pages, golf’s most inviting annual reference is, as always, an opus that lures us to get lost in. Stats? Results? Recaps? They’re all here in divine detail, as are the mini-bios of golfers past and present, the rules, the trivia, and the historical sweep. Looking for a place to play in Nepal, New Guinea, Namibia or any place else the R&A holds sway? Look no further. But make sure to look at the new up-front essays commissioned for the edition, especially the nonpareil Hugh McIlvanney’s unforgettable tribute to Seve. Its opening note -– “Severiano Ballesteros: the name itself was like a quiet roll of drums” -– beats perfectly, barely hinting at the music to come.
Mastering Golf’s Toughest Shots: The World’s Best Caddies Share Their Secrets of Success
Author: James Y. Bartlett and the Professional Caddies Association
Publisher: Sellers Publising
The team behind “Think Like a Caddie, Play Like a Pro” reloads with the kind of inside info the best loopers drill into their pros. Its approach rests in the approach itself – train the brain in the strategies and course management tips that shave strokes and save pars. The insights from elite bagmen –- in tandem with appropriate anecdotes -– run the gamut from minimizing bad situations and getting up and down to using the rules and keeping it together under pressure. Too bad it doesn’t come with an implantable microchip that purrs like, say, Fluff or Bones.
Solid Contact: The Top Golf Coach’s Guide to Learning Your Swing DNA and Instantly Striking the Ball Better Than Ever
Authors: Jim Hardy with Ron Kaspriske
Publisher: Gotham Books
Top 100 teacher Hardy deconstructs more than four decades of his plane truth about plane truths and comes up with this simple absolute: no swings are alike. What matters is impact, and and anything less than solid contact leaves tell-tale signs in the flight of the ball and the shape of the divot. Read those signs correctly –- Hardy’s mantra -– and all faults can be fixed with his analytical system of pluses and minuses and the drills he’s designed to equal things out. How well does it add up? The answer will likely fluctuate in direct proportion to the equation of time and effort put in.
Golf: Play Better the Golf Digest Way – Hone Your Game From Green to Tee
Author: Ron Kaspriske
Butch Harmon, Jim Flick, Hank Haney and a gaggle of tourists from Watson and Couples to Lorena and Phil all contribute tips and fixes to this colorful and comprehensive instructional. For “Golf’s” best advice, jump to the final section. If its wisdom has little to do with hitting the ball, it’s still the kind of dope that makes for better golfers. Like Arnie’s order to speed it up. Style guru Marty Hackel’s plea to apply sunblock. And, courtesy of Bob Rotella, the most underrated and sure-fire game-enhancer of all: Ignore unsolicited swing advice. Amen.
Golf Rules Illustrated: The Official Illustrated Guide to the Rules of Golf – 2012-2015
Author: United States Golf Association
With another rules cycle comes another illustrated guide, a sensible, up-to-date primer to lead all golfers to the promised land of understanding the statutes that govern our limitations. Through drawings, photographs, examples and FAQs, the fog lifts and the mysteries unravel. The sad truth about the rules is that not enough of us pay attention, and anything that helps decode their arcana is a boon to the game. After all, the rules are our friends. Just ask James Bond; the rules certainly stirred him, leaving Golfinger badly shaken.
The Art of Golf
Authors: Rand Jerris, Catherine M. Lewis, Richard Anthony Lewis, Jordan Mearns, Christian Tico Seifert
Publisher: High Museum of Art
There's more to the game's artistry than Mickelson's lobs and Hogan's grace, artful though we've long considered them to be. In conjunction with one of the most comprehensive displays ever amassed of golfing oils, etchings, watercolors, and prints, Atlanta's High Museum has put together a handsome exhibition catalogue to make the show portable. The landscapes, portraits, posters and the like — on the High's walls and in these pages — offer a visual tour of the history of the game, and the trio of included essays nicely frames that. Wide enough to embrace Warhol, Rockwell, Charles Schulz, Charles Lees, Childe Hassam and even Rembrandt, the whole enterprise is a stunning reminder that golf's Masters can't be confined to a weekend in early April.
The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal
Author: Orin Starn
Publisher: Duke University Press
It was only a matter of time before Tiger's fall reached the critical mass that would elevate the discourse into ivory tower exegesis, and that time has come. A professor of cultural anthropology at Duke, and chair of the department, Starn is thoroughly transfixed by the deeper meanings of the game and Woods's position — for better and for worse — as a post-racial icon within it. With Tiger as its springboard, "Passion" dives into some big themes — the subtitle barely supplies the half of it — and comes up with a short, compelling and eminently engaging postulation that goes well beyond its own titular transgressor.
The Complete Hogan: A Shot-By-Shot Analysis of Golf's Greatest Swing
Author: Jim McLean with Tom McCarthy
OK, here's Hogan's secret in a nutshell: Be Ben Hogan, be built like Ben Hogan, think like Ben Hogan, work like Ben Hogan, and look as snazzy under a cap as Ben Hogan. Short of that — which is where the rest of us all fall — Top 100 Instructor McLean offers some fascinating insight into what made the Icemon's swing the ideal pairing of grace and power that it was. By parsing Hogan's mechanics into eight essential pieces, then inspecting each in detail from different angles through photo sequences and exploratory prose, "Hogan" holds up a window into Hogan's artistry. You'll still need Hogan's build, brain and work ethic, however, to maximize your chances of duplicating it.