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The Best Books About Golf

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When the grass gets green and the temperatures warm, it’s time to head outside! And if you’re a golf fan, then it’s time to grab the clubs and head to the course!

But, if you’re a true golf fanatic, then you might be looking for a few books to read about the game! There are lots of them out there, but here are four that you might want to pick up!

  • The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods by Hank Haney: If you’re a fan of Tiger Woods then you know that Hank Haney was his longtime coach. In this book, Hank shares his story of working with, perhaps, the greatest golfer of all time. Amazon says: 
    • The Big Miss is Hank Haney’s candid and surprisingly insightful account of his tumultuous six-year journey with Tiger Woods, during which the supremely gifted golfer collected six major championships and rewrote golf history.
    • Hank was one of the very few people allowed behind the curtain. He was with Tiger 110 days a year, spoke to him over 200 days a year, and stayed at his home up to 30 days a year, observing him in nearly every circumstance: at tournaments; on the practice range; over meals, with his wife, Elin; and relaxing with friends.
    • The relationship between the two men began in March 2004, when Hank received a call from Tiger in which the golf champion asked him to be his coach. It was a call that would change both men’s lives.
    • Tiger – only 28 at the time – was by then already an icon, judged by the sporting press as not only one of the best golfers ever, but possibly the best athlete ever. Already, he was among the world’s highest paid celebrities. There was an air of mystery surrounding him, an aura of invincibility. Unique among athletes, Tiger seemed to be able to shrug off any level of pressure and find a way to win. But Tiger was always looking to improve, and he wanted Hank’s help.
    • What Hank soon came to appreciate was that Tiger was one of the most complicated individuals he’d ever met, let alone coached. Although Hank had worked with hundreds of elite golfers and was not easily impressed, there were days watching Tiger on the range when Hank couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. On those days, it was impossible to imagine another human playing golf so perfectly.
    • And yet Tiger is human – and Hank’s expert eye was adept at spotting where Tiger’s perfection ended and an opportunity for improvement existed. Always haunting Tiger was his fear of “the big miss” – the wildly inaccurate golf shot that can ruin an otherwise solid round – and it was because that type of blunder was sometimes part of Tiger’s game that Hank carefully redesigned his swing mechanics.
    • Hank’s most formidable coaching challenge, though, would be solving the riddle of Tiger’s personality. Wary of the emotional distractions that might diminish his game and put him further from his goals, Tiger had developed a variety of tactics to keep people from getting too close, and not even Hank – or Tiger’s family and friends, for that matter – was spared “the treatment”.
    • Toward the end of Tiger’s and Hank’s time together, the champion’s laser-like focus began to blur, and he became less willing to put in punishing hours practicing – a disappointment to Hank, who saw in Tiger’s behavior signs that his pupil had developed a conflicted relationship with the game. Hints that Tiger hungered to reinvent himself were present in his bizarre infatuation with elite military training, and – in a development Hank didn’t see coming – in the scandal that would make headlines in late 2009. It all added up to a big miss that Hank, try as he might, couldn’t save Tiger from.
    • There’s never been a book about Tiger Woods that is as intimate and revealing – or one so wise about what it takes to coach a superstar athlete.
  • Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect by Bob Rotella: It certainly isn’t! In fact, it may be one of the most imperfect and frustrating games around! But if you want to take steps to improve your game, then give this book a read. The Amazon summary reads: 
    • Filled with insightful stories about golf, Dr. Bob Rotella’s delightful book will improve the game of even the most casual weekend player.
    • Dr. Bob Rotella is one of the hottest performance consultants in America today. Among his many professional clients are Nick Price (last year’s Player of the Year), Tom Kite, Davis Love III, Pat Bradley, Brad Faxon, John Daly, and many others. Rotella, or “Doc,” as most players refer to him, goes beyond just the usual mental aspects of the game and the reliance on specific techniques. What Rotella does here in this extraordinary book, and with his clients, is to create an attitude and a mindset about all aspects of a golfer’s game, from mental preparation to competition. The most wonderful aspect of it all is that it is done in a conversational fashion, in a dynamic blend of anecdote and lesson. And, as some of the world’s greatest golfers will attest, the results are spectacular. Golfers will improve their golf game and have more fun playing. Some of Rotella’s maxims include:
      • On the first tee, a golfer must expect only two things of himself: to have fun, and to focus his mind properly on every shot.
      • Golfers must learn to love ‘the challenge when they hit a ball into the rough, trees, or sand. The alternatives—anger, fear, whining, and cheating—do no good.
      • Confidence is crucial to good golf. Confidence is simply the aggregate of the thoughts you have about yourself.
      • It is more important to be decisive than to be correct when preparing to play any golf shot or putt.
    • Filled with delightful and insightful stories about golf and the golfers Rotella works with, Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect will improve the game of even the most casual weekend player.
  • The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever by Mark Frost: If you love a good story about some of the greatest players in golf, then give this book a read. Amazon says:
    • The year: 1956. Decades have passed since Eddie Lowery came to fame as the ten-year-old caddie to U.S. Open Champion Francis Ouimet. Now a wealthy car dealer and avid supporter of amateur golf, Lowery has just made a bet with fellow millionaire George Coleman. Lowery claims that two of his employees, amateur golfers Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi, cannot be beaten in a best-ball match, and challenges Coleman to bring any two golfers of his choice to the course at 10 a.m. the next day to settle the issue. Coleman accepts the challenge and shows up with his own power team: Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, the game’s greatest living professionals, with fourteen major championships between them.
    • In Mark Frost’s peerless hands, complete with the recollections of all the participants, the story of this immortal foursome and the game they played that day-legendarily known in golf circles as the greatest private match ever played-comes to life with powerful, emotional impact and edge-of-your-seat suspense.
  • Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game by Dr. Joseph Parent: Golf is definitely a mental game – and one that’s not easy to master – but this book might be able to help! The Amazon summary reads: 
    • The best players know that golf is a game of confidence, and most important, concentration–the ability to focus and block out distraction. The goal of achieving clear thought is also at the heart of Buddhist teachings. In his highly original and groundbreaking book, noted PGA coach and Buddhist instructor, Dr. Joseph Parent, draws on this natural connection and teaches golfers how to clear their minds, achieve ultimate focus, and play in the moment for each shot.
    • Zen Golf presents a simple system for building “mental game mastery.” Dr Parent’s unique PAR Approach (focusing on Preparation, Action, and Response to Results) guides golfers with specific techniques for each aspect of their games. In chapters such as “How to Get From the Practice Tee to the First Tee”, “You Produce What You Fear”, and “How to Enjoy a Bad Round of Golf”, the author shares a personal teaching regimen that has helped improve the games of professionals and amateurs alike. By combining classic insights and stories from Zen tradition, Zen Golf helps eliminate the mental distractions that routinely cause poor shots and loss of concentration, allowing golfers to feel in “the zone” that professionals have learned to master.
    • Clear, concise, and enlightening, Zen Golf shows golfers how to prepare for, execute, and equally important, respond to the results of any golf shot. A different approach to golf instruction, this book shapes ancient philosophies into new teachings.

Head to the golf course during the day and then pick up one of these books to read at night – because spring is here and that means it’s GOLF SEASON!

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