Books Every Golfer Should Read in 2023
With spring right around the corner and The Masters a mere two months away, we turn our attention to golf. And while LIV Golf seems to constantly be in the headlines, we take a different angle in today's post by looking back. The books below were written by some of the legends of golf, and while they all share quite a bit in common, their differing philosophies on the course (and in life) are worthy of our time.
Why Read A Golf Book?
It's a great question, and I'm glad you asked. For me, it comes down to 3 reasons:
1. Books on any topic provide perspective. Golf, in particular, is a game that is never truly mastered. A lot of the legends that you'll read more about below have a perspective on the game that most people just don't have. Whether it's the recollection of preparing for a major tournament or standing over a 10-foot putt to win The Masters, their experiences are different than yours and therefore provide a unique look at the game.
2. Knowledge. For every one of these books, I learned something. At any age, it's easy to say that we know it all, but wisdom tells us that we don't. Being open to learning and having resources like these are a tremendous gift.
3. Last, I think it's important to have an expectation of enjoyment when you pick up a book. Nobody wants to read a bunch of boring recollections. These guys not only have great stories to tell but they tell them in a way that made me want to read more.
With that, please enjoy the list below. If you're a young golfer and never heard these names, all the more reason to read the books. If you had the privilege to watch any of these men play, hats off to you.
Arnold Palmer: A Life Well Played
As maybe the most famous professional golfer of all time, Palmer's classy way of doing things shines forth in this book that is easy to read and appealing to both avid golfers and those looking for some inspiration on how to live a meaningful life.
Gary Player: Don't Choke
While Palmer's personality was cool, calm, and collected, you feel the intensity in Player's voice as you read this. Gary's work ethic and no short cuts approach are a huge reason he's been not only been successful but able to play for such a long period of time.
Ben Hogan: An American Life
Hogan made modern golf what it is today. His brilliance on the course continued even after a near-death car accident in 1949. This is the only "family approved" biography and well worth the read.
Jack Nicklaus: Putting My Way
Nicklaus won 18 majors, including 6 Masters. This is truly a book of putting strategy in a literal sense, where Nicklaus walks the reader through his approach. The book even contains several illustrations to be used as teaching aids.
Seve: Golf's Flawed Genius
This is a fascinating book about the great Spanish player, Severiano Ballesteros. The author, Robert Green, spent so much time with Seve that the stories in the book go way beyond golf, including his divorce to one of Spain's richest women.
Which Books Should've Made the Cut?
Selecting a "top 5" wasn't easy, and we certainly went with some classics for this list. What did we miss? Would love your feedback below.
For additional book recommendations by sports genre, check out some of our favorites here.
I'd also recommend our list of Best Sports Psychology books for any young aspiring golfer looking to work on the mental side of the game.
John Willkom is the author of Amazon best-selling basketball books: Walk-On Warrior and No Fear In The Arena. John is an avid reader, sports fan, and father to two incredible little girls.
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