Golf Books From 2013

Golf Magazine's The Par Plan

Throughout the year, we'll be keeping you up to date on the golf books of 2013 — what's out, what's coming out, and what they're all about. For more books, check out our lists from 2012 and 2011.


Golf Magazine's The Par Plan: A Revolutionary System to Shoot Your Best Score in 30 Days Powered by GolfTec
Editor: David DeNunzio
Publisher: Time Home Entertainment

Every instructional promises something new and different; the "Plan" delivers interactively through GolfTec, the nationwide network of teaching pros, and its downloadable "My Pro to Go" app and website. The book breaks the game into nine essential phases, all clearly written and illustrated, and assigns several days of instruction to each – with drills, tips and insights from Golf Tec teachers on every aspect. Now the revolutionary part: via the app, you can purchase a lesson package that lets you upload videos of your progress to send to Golf Tec for analysis that includes, in return, personal videos and drills tailored to your needs.

Out of the Bunker and Into the Trees, or The Secret of High-Tension Golf
Author: Rex Lardner
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

The long overdue resurrection of Lardner's hysterical ode to the inanities of a game — and the culture surrounding it — that the vast majority of its acolytes pick up, in his view, solely "to destroy themselves" is nothing less than a public service; "Bunker" may well be the funniest take on golf ever scribbled. Nephew of the great Ring Lardner, Rex clearly carried the family gene for jaundiced wit; in Lardnerland, a yip is an acceptable shot shape and it's impossible to swing too hard. One of SI's Top 100 sports books of all time, "Bunker" is built on an approach to the game others have surprisingly overlooked, as evidenced in this unforgettable tip from "The Key to Better Golf," the third of the book's 11 connected set-pieces — with italics and caps considerately provided by the author: "You don't get angry because you hit a bad golf shot: you hit a bad golf shot BECAUSE YOU DON'T GET ANGRY ENOUGH!" Maddeningly on the money, no? And there's more of it on every page.

The R&A Golfer's Handbook 2013
Editor: Renton Laidlaw
Publisher: Hamlyn

An annual staple since 1899, the trusty "Handbook" has changed publishers for 2013, but everything else is blessedly intact, including Laidlaw, and the result is as fabulously obsessive as ever: the rules, the trivia, the stats, the recaps and results, the mini-bios of golfers past and present, and the guide to places to play – wherever the R&A flag flies – from Muirfield to Mauritius, from Tonga to Tralee. The gaggle of essays kicking off this edition includes Peter Dawson's defense of the anchoring ban and an instant classic from the nonpareil Dan Jenkins on why he turned down the offer of a concentrated series of lessons from the Wee Icemon His Own Self.

Two Roads to Augusta: The Inspiring Story of How Two Men From Different Backgrounds Grew to Become Best Friends and Capture the Biggest Prize in Golf
Authors: Ben Crenshaw and Carl Jackson with Melanie Hauser
Publisher: The American Golfer

The cover photo of the hulking Jackson tenderly consoling a victorious, doubled-over Crenshaw at the 1995 Masters just days after the death of Crenshaw's beloved mentor Harvey Penick is one of golf's most memorable; so is the abiding relationship between Gentle Ben and his Augusta caddie. How their paths diverged is a distinctly American kind of story, told as a lushly illustrated dual biography spread out against a backdrop of the game and the cultural canvas of the times.

Left-Handed Golf
Author: Bob Charles
Publisher: Sports Publishing

If you approach life from the port side, who better to learn golf from than the whippet-thin New Zealander who in 1963 became the first lefty to win a Major by capturing the Claret Jug at Royal Lytham? Charles's 1965 instructional, long out of print, is more than a mirror of the game the way righty's see it; it's a looking glass into the cagey way Charles played it. Never long off the tee, he was strategically mindful, cleverly creative, and velvety smooth around the greens – and his book is just as crafty. Forget the title. The right-handed majority will benefit from the left-handed Hall of Famer's savvy approach.

365 Golf Tips & Tricks From the Pros
Author: Jay Morelli
Publisher: Sterling

While the majority of the one-a-day-for-a-year snippets from various teaching pros and allied experts address what to do with a club in your hand, it's the other bits and pieces we don't pay enough attention to that make this thick little compendium worthwhile. Like its quick sweep of rules and etiquette. Its insights into nutrition and conditioning. Its 35 keys to good mental attitude and awareness on the course, and a few tips from caddies – too few, unfortunately – as good, if not better, than the tips they generally receive from us.

Kinetic Golf: Picture the Game Like Never Before
Author: Nick Bradley
Publisher: Abrams

The 7 Laws of the Golf Swing: Visualizing the Perfect Swing to Maximize Your Game
Author: Nick Bradley
Publisher: Abrams

Bradley, a Brit who's set up shop in North Carolina, has his own take on teaching – he prefers to characterize himself as a consultant – though what he really has is a knack for communicating. His wild images make Ledbetter seem primitive, and he displays enough of a metaphysical flow to keep his mechanics interesting. What Bradley began with the 2005 publication of "7 Laws," newly repackaged in a snazzier edition, leads directly to "Kinetic," which is why the acclaimed art-book house Abrams is releasing the two simultaneously. In its way, "Kinetic" shatters the instructional grass ceiling – and the overall sameness of the photos and drawings that accompany these kinds of books – not with the technique Bradley offers, but with the portfolio of stark, stunning, surrealist pictures that he uses throughout to demonstrate it.


Houdini Shots: The Ultimate Short Game Survival Guide
Authors: Matin Hall with Dave Allen
Publisher: Wiley

Top instructor and Golf Channel host Martin Hall examines the short shots that give most of us the willys, and then asks WWSD? (Translation: What would Seve do?) Ballesteros, of course, was the great escape artist of his generation. Hall carefully analyzes the late Spaniard's approach to the variety of troublesome shots confronting us on and around the green, breaking each down into understandable elements via text and photos of Seve and himself. The real fun part is Hall's keen insights into the magical thinking behind Seve's magical shotmaking. Without it, "Houdini" could have devolved into hoodoo.

Legendary Clubhouses of U.S. and Great Britain
Author: Richard J. Diedrich
Publisher: Rizzoli

Diedrich, an architect by trade, renovates his stunning 2008 ode to golf's sanctums by concentrating on classics — and adding the Brits to his mix this time. If you've never toured the locker room at Indian Creek, the Crow's Nest at Augusta, the Jones corner at East Lake, the Pendentive at Medinah, the grill room at Merion, the smoking lounge at Muirfield, the mezzanine at Newport, the rotunda at Ridgewood, the Big Room at the R&A, or the Great Hall at Stoke Park, here's the chance. The text may be thin, but the photography is luscious, and the intent of this coffee-tabler is evident on every page: if you can't join 'em, ogle.

Rosapenna: Beyond His Lorship's Wildest Dream
Author: Pat Ruddy
Publisher: Ruddy Golf Library

Ruddy, the visionary behind The European Club south of Dublin, is a one-man band of Irish links golf: owner, developer, architect, writer, photographer, cheerleader — and among the most engaging raconteurs in anywhere in the game. If you listen closely, you might actually pick up the Ruddy lilt in the pages of this inviting tour of Donegal's golfing wonderland. At Rosapenna, he completed what Old Tom began more than a century earlier; in "Rosapenna," he's conjured an enthusiastic, entertaining and stunningly photographed primer on the architectural and emotional wonders of golf in its purest form.

An American Caddie in St. Andrews: Golf, Girls and Looping on the Old Course
Author: Oliver Horovitz
Publisher: Gotham Books

What do you do when Harvard accepts you, but delays admission for a year? Head to St. Andrews, and join the caddie program. If that sounds like a recipe for a Royal & Ancient adventure, it's a good deal more — and better – than that: for Horovitz, it turned into the first step in an ongoing education — anthropologically, sociologically, psychologically and spiritually — on and off the Old Course. Cut through the envy — how can you not envy the exuberance behind the escapade? – and whay you find is a youthful memoir that's smart, funny, and alive both with character and characters.

1001 Golf Holes You Must Play Before You Die
Editor: Jeff Barr
Publisher: Universe

The title tells the tale. Start now; the journey's a long one.

Drive Like the Pros: Increase Your Clubhead Speed and Distance Using Revolutionary 3-D Technology by TaylorMade
Authors: Mike Neff with Dave Allen
Publisher: Gotham

All golf instructionals are filled with hope; this one's also filled with science and technology, which can make it tough slogging at times. Still, the premise — using 3-D imagery to create a composite pro to better understand how his swing works and how that swing can work for you – has promise, especially if you can remember to keep your shoulder-hip differential at 37.2 degrees, your wrist angle at 23 degrees, and your side spine tilt at 15.3 degrees at impact. Even if you can't, Neff supplies a good set of drills to address the faults that tend to plague the drive, and an excellent exercise routine to address the faults — like an unathletically fine-tuned body — that tend to plague the driver.



Alun Evan's The Golf Majors Book 2013
Author: Alun Evans
Publisher: Evanstar Publishing

The tireless Evans keeps coming up with different ways to put the ABCs of the Grand Slam quartet at golfers' fingertips. Anticipating the upcoming revelries of Augusta, Merion, Muirfield and Oak Hill, his new volume provides abbreviated results through 1999, more detailed tallies – including narrative sweeps – through 2011, and then more detailed tallies and narratives for the season the books just closed on. But Evans's book remains open for another 100-plus pages with brief histories of 2013's sites, the majors contested on each and the most recent course changes, But there's also lots of other stuff, from the records of everyone to compete in a 21st century major, to a sea of the kind of numerical minutia we all like to dip a few toes into.