There are literally hundreds of golf instruction books out there, and if you compiled all of Golf Tips’ content from its three decades of existence, you’d have quite the volume as well. There are several timeless tomes that most serious players own or at least know about, from Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book to Jack Nicklaus’ Golf My Way. But we’ve come up with a handful of books from the not-too-distant past that are worth owning if you truly want to improve your golf game for life.
SWING FLAWS AND FITNESS FIXES
By Katherine Roberts
Roberts is the original “yoga for golfers” authority, and she put all her stretching-and-breathing-to-excel expertise into this comprehensive guide to incorporating the best elements of her own teaching — flexibility and strength exercises from the core outward that build positive golf posture and balance — with those of renowned golf instructor Hank Haney, who works Roberts’ moves into drills that will help cure the most common swing faults.
BEN HOGAN’S SECRET FUNDAMENTAL
By Larry Miller
A former Tour player with a deep knowledge of the game’s history and connections to some of its greatest teachers, Miller — an instructor himself — does a deep dive into the enduring Hogan mystique to glean the true secret of the master’s near-flawless game. The book is part standard drill-by-drill compendium complete with photos and numbered steps, part personal storytelling, part math lesson (Miller surmises that pure geometry and physics are at the heart of Hogan’s technique), part rumination on the game itself — a worthwhile re-examination of why the Hawk’s influence over modern golf remains so strong and vital.
THE LEADBETTER GOLF ACADEMY HANDBOOK
By Sean Hogan, Kevin Smeltz and Allen F. Richardson
He’s one of the most successful instructors in the world, with a slew of students either excelling on various tours or on their way to a solid competitive career. David Leadbetter is among Australia’s most well-known exports, with a technical and precise approach to teaching that has perhaps been copies more than any other. This book is his “bible” of sorts, taking the reader through every step of his process through the words, eyes and actions of not only him but many of his acolytes, including the authors. It covers all the technique basics from grip to follow-through, with excellent chapters on shotmaking, course management and the mental game. There are even interviews with big-name players like Yani Tseng. If you consider the “Lead” way to best way, this is the book for you.
THE TIMELESS SWING
By Tom Watson With Nick Seitz
With his eight major championships (nearly nine, at age 59), Tom Watson continues to stay competitive well into his 60s, still making cuts in the big events with one of the most solid golf swings in history. This beautifully illustrated book, written with prominent writer Nick Seitz in the aftermath of Watson’s remarkable run at the 2009 Open Championship, takes a characteristic no-nonsense and direct route to the fundamentals that all great players share, with the man taking ample opportunity to pay tribute to the likes of Jack Nicklaus while he shows what makes his truly timeless swing tick in all conditions, on all lies, in every situation imaginable. One chapter, “Swing Younger,” should be required reading for all north-of-50 golfers.
GREAT GOLF: GAME-CHANGING TIPS FROM HISTORY’S TOP GOLFERS
Edited by Danny Peary and Allen F. Richardson
Call this a “greatest hits” of tips and lessons from many of history’s top players — those you definitely know, like Hogan, Nicklaus, Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson, Tiger Woods and Nancy Lopez, and those you probably don’t, like James Barnes and Beverly Lewis. Peary and Richardson do a masterful job of organizing this huge trove of instruction into a palatable and easy-to-navigate narrative covering every corner of the game.