Looking for a good golf-related book? The NCG team have picked out their favourites in a number of categories

FICTION | NON-FICTION | ARCHITECTURE | INSTRUCTION

The best non-fiction golf books


A Good Walk Spoiled (John Feinstein)

Few can tell a story better than John Feinstein. And, even though it’s more than 25 years since it was first published, and the game has changed immeasurably, his ability to capture the personalities of those plying their trade on the PGA Tour means A Good Walk Spoiled is still as fresh a read as ever.

Even though he’s profiling dozens of them, you’ll feel you know the players personally at the end and this is the book that changed everything for golf writing.

When you’ve finished, the delights of The Majors, Q School, Caddy for Life and The First Major will continue to keep you enthralled. SC


Chasing the Legends (Shane Ryan)

The PGA Tour is in the midst of a new era. An era of internet savvy players looking to assume the mantle from yesteryear’s fading legends.

Shane Ryan spent 2014 tracking that year’s up-and-coming stars and, even though there are a fresh new crop of players to fawn over in 2020, Chasing the Legends is as relatable now as it was six years ago. For every Victor Dubuisson there’s a Victor Hovland.

Ryan is to Feinstein what Rory McIlroy is to Tiger Woods, and it shines through in this thoroughly entertaining inside-the-ropes look at life on the tour. AP


The Greatest Game Ever Played (Mark Frost)

The meeting of Harry Vardon, the then five-time Open champion from Britain, and Francis Ouimet, the young American amateur, at the 1913 US Open can be thought of as the moment when one generation met another.

Mark Frost details the social and historical contexts of this championship, just a year before the Great War began, as well as forensically describing the event itself, which takes place at the Country Club, near Boston.

It was a championship that grabbed the attention of the American sporting public and is the link between two very different eras, not to mention continents.

Crucially, though, this is just a fantastic story, and one that is richly and engagingly described by Frost, who shows himself to be a superb chronicler. DM


A Season in Dornoch (Lorne Rubenstein)

Granted, it doesn’t take much to make me pick up a book about a) golf, and b) Dornoch, but in another way that just adds to the expectations. For many of us, me included, this tiny Highlands town has become a place we think of often and fondly. Proprietorially even. It is to Lorne Rubenstein’s eternal credit, then, that he captures the spirit of the links and the region so accurately.

A Season of Dornoch details Rubenstein’s return to the north-east corner of Scotland to spend the summer in a place he had visited only once before almost a quarter of a century earlier.

Partly a book about golf and partly a book about what knits the people who live in a small, remote settlement together, perhaps Rubenstein’s greatest achievement is to convey the incredible richness of the climate and natural world in the Highlands.

First we appreciate the annual ritual of the days lengthening, the gorse blooming, the conditions softening and the shadows lengthening on those late-spring and early summer evenings when it feels like the days will never end. Then the gradual journey towards the winter sets in as Rubenstein’s time in the Highlands approaches its end.

A special book. DM


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