Since I started The Fried Egg, my life has been consumed by writing and reading about golf. I use books for two reasons: entertainment and education. Therefore, you will find some books here that are fun and quick reads and others that are centered on learning the fine points of architecture or thinking about golf in a better way. So here’s what’s on my reading list for the cold Chicago winter ahead…
General golf reads
The Match by Mark Frost
This is a page-turner. Mark Frost brilliantly retells the story of possibly the greatest golf match ever played. The match pitted two of the best professionals, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, against two of the best amateurs, Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward, at possibly the best course in the world, Cypress Point Club. I don’t think I need to say more.
Slaying the Tiger by Shane Ryan
Shane Ryan spent the entire 2014 season on the road with the PGA Tour, a season in which a changing of the guard occurred and younger faces began to dominate the winner’s circle. I read this book in two days and feel it’s a must for any Tour fan.
The Big Miss by Hank Haney
Swing coach Hank Haney tells all about his years working with Tiger Woods. If you are a Tiger fan and haven’t read this book, you should correct that immediately.
John Feinstein’s books
It has been awhile since I read these, but I remember really enjoying them, especially Tales from Q-School. Feinstein gives readers an inside look at what life is like for both successful and struggling pros on tour.
Bob Rotella’s books
Bob Rotella focuses on helping your mental game. I am fairly certain that thinking correctly is more important than swinging correctly, so if you’ve never read a book about the mental approach to golf, I’d recommend checking out Rotella’s work. He has written a bunch of similar books, and I have read most of them. Frankly, the message gets a little redundant, so one or two of them should cover you.
Golf course architecture reads
The Spirit of St. Andrews by Alister MacKenzie
If you’re looking dip your toes into golf course architecture, this is the place to start. Alister MacKenzie was one of golf’s greatest architects, and he does a terrific job explaining basic architectural principles in this book.
The Anatomy of a Golf Course by Tom Doak
You can think of this book as a modern companion to The Spirit of St. Andrews. Tom Doak offers a rigorous and opinionated overview of every aspect of designing a golf course.
The Evangelist of Golf by George Bahto
If you can get your hands on George Bahto’s detailed biography of C. B. Macdonald, do so immediately. There are very few of copies floating around, so you will probably have to pay a pretty penny to get one. Good luck on your search; it’s worth it.
Discovering Donald Ross by Bradley Klein
This deep dive into Donald Ross’s life and work is a must for any architecture aficionado. My favorite parts of the book are Bradley Klein’s detailed stories from Ross’s most famous projects.
The Nature Faker by Wayne S. Morrison and Thomas E. Paul
If you want to become an expert on the great William Flynn, I highly recommend checking out this 2,200+ page e-book written by Philadelphia-area golf course enthusiasts. You can purchase The Nature Faker by sending Wayne Morrison an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In my reading queue…
Methods of Early Golf Course Architecture
These two books contain selected essays from some of the Golden Age of golf architecture’s finest: Alister MacKenzie, A. W. Tillinghast, Harry Colt, Robert Hunter, C. B. Macdonald, and George Thomas.
The Men in Green by Michael Bamberger
I love learning about the greats of the game—Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson—and I also love Michael Bamberger’s Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine articles, so this one is a slam dunk.
The Captain Myth by Richard Gillis
Sean Zak’s Golf.com podcast with Richard Gillis piqued my interest immediately. Gillis did extensive research to prove that captains at the Ryder Cup really don’t matter.
Grounds for Golf by Geoff Shackelford
I have heard great things about Geoff Shackelford’s architecture books, so I plan to check this one out soon.
Missing Links & Lost Links by Daniel Wexler
I can’t think of a better recipe for depression than not being able to play golf because of the Chicago winter and reading a pair of books about great golf courses that no longer exist.
Zen Golf by Dr. Joseph Parent
Who isn’t a head case on the golf course? I need every bit of positive energy and thoughts I can get. It can’t be a coincidence that a lot of my friends who are better than me have read this book.
Sand and Golf: How Terrain Shapes the Game by George Waters
George Waters is a top-shelf architecture mind, and in this book he goes into detail about the role that sandy terrain has played in the creation of the world’s best golf courses.