I have read at least 100 golf books and decided it would be helpful for others to boil my golf reading list down to the books that have made the most impact on my game. I would recommend the following list to everyone that is looking to improve their game, and that’s everyone I know! If you have any other books that are not on this list that have helped you out, please let me know by adding a comment or sending me an e-mail, I'm always on the lookout to learn more about this game.
1. A Round of Golf with Tommy Armour by (obviously) Tommy Armour
This is a great book to start this list. While this was written in the 1950’s, it is still the best strategy book I’ve ever read. It is a quick read but it will help you shoot better scores immediately. That’s the best review a golf book can get!
2. How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time by Tommy Armour
There seems to be a trend here, again Tommy Armour was not only a great player but was an incredible instructor as well. This book is more mechanical and revolves more around the swing than the previous book in this list, but again, as with “A Round of Golf with Tommy Armour” it is as pertinent today as it was when it was written.
3. Tom Watson's Strategic Golf by Watson, Tom
With the exception of “A Round of Golf with Tommy Armour”, this is the best strategy book I’ve read. This book contains some great tips on decision making as well as some great match play strategies that I’ve been able to put to use quite effectively. These two strategy books have really helped my game in the last year and I think every serious golfer would improve by reading these books.
This book has literally transformed my short game over the past couple of years and, along with some improvements to my course and mental strategy improvements, has made a big impact to lowering my scores. I have read both the putting and short game books by Dave Pelz and found both to be very long and boring reads that had very little impact on my game. Utley’s book, on the other hand, is a very quick read that contains some truly unique and effective short game techniques that can be learned and implemented with very little practice.
Again, Utley made another winner with this book on putting. This book describes, in my opinion, a much more natural way to put than Pelz’s method. Utley also includes some great suggestions for putter clubfitting in this book that I had never thought about. I can’t wait to get out next spring and continue to practice what I’ve learned in this book.
6. Golf My Way by Jack Nicklaus
Very well written instructional book by the greatest golfer of all time. I particularly love his “trick” of keeping the left shoulder low when putting to keep the head down. This tip has made a big impact on my putting this fall and I can’t wait to get out and use this next spring!
7. The Elements of Scoring: A Master's Guide to the Art of Scoring Your Best When You're Not Playing Your Best by Raymond Floyd
This is another very helpful strategy book from a very smart golfer. Floyd writes this in a way that can help golfers of every level.
While this is not an instructional book, I still believe it is a must have for every avid golfer. Just buy it ($10), put it in your bag and I guarantee you'll use it. I really wish I would have had this in high school and college golf. Unlike the USGA's Rule book (this one has all the same rules), this book is very fast and easy to use with very clear images and any rule can be found in a few seconds, which is what we really want when we're on the course, isn't it?