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100 Years of the U.S. Open
John Delery & Greg Garber © 2000
Price: $3.00 (Book Events)

It's hard to imagine an event like the U.S. Open has already been around for over a century. The history and drama of one of golf's most prestigious tournaments has been gathered into one volume with historic black-and-white and full-color photographs of the players who have stalked the trophy over the years. Beginning in 1895 in Newport, Rhode Island at the Newport Golf Club we progress up to the year 1999. A few years of the tournament were missed due to the First and Second World Wars.

100 Years of the U.S. Open touches on each of the champions and describes some of the events leading up to victory.

I found this book in a bargain bin at a local Mall. It's a decent read if you're interested in golf history or a fanatic of the game itself.

101 Essential Golf Tips
Peter Ballingall © 2003
Price: $7.20 (Amazon.ca)

101 Essential Golf Tips is a small 72 page book providing basic information on golf equipment, technique, exercise, rules, along with a touch of etiquette. This is not an advanced book by any means and is probably geared to give a beginner or novice a quick crash course on golfing. This is the book to give the first timer to read before their first company golf tournament.

Originally published in 1995, an avid golfer will see a little age in the book's content.

Nothing here for the regular golfer, but everything for the novice.

101 Golf Courses
Geoffrey Giles © 2008
Price: $16.19 (Chapters)

101 Golf Courses takes a jaunt around the world looking at the authors personal selection of favourite golf courses. Each course has a aerial sketch, a course history and description, scorecard, and best of all, glorious photos that with make you eager to grab your travel bags. This book can easily make the grade as a coffee table book, consisting of over 250 pages with no necessary ordered flow of reading. Simply pick a destination and read about a desirable course to play. Some courses will be standard clubhouse discussions while others will open up new gateways for debate.

The author, Geoffrey Giles, has played over 1,000 courses in his 45 years of playing golf. His business travels have given him the opportunity to play some of the best courses in the world.

I really enjoy these kind of books and probably have four or five of them sitting on my bookshelf. I was very surprised to see
<i>101 Golf Courses</i> available as a bargain book when I hadn't seen it on shelves at any other price.

112 Miles to the Pin
Duncan Lennard © 2007
Price: $5.99 (BookCloseOuts.com)

112 Miles to the Pin
looks at unique golf feats and the level to which avid golfers go to (perhaps) improve the game they so love. Some of the stories between the covers I've already read the complete book with a review (see "I Golfed Across Mongolia", "Around the World in 80 Rounds") and others are new while some are totally bizarre. I don't think I'll be playing in the New Zealand Naked Open any time soon. Nor will I be climbing any cliffs in Greenland to get to a tee. However, hitting golf balls off a moving boat does sound enticing.

The book contains the rules for City golf (no shouting "Get in the Hole" is allowed) as well as rules for dealing with hazards while playing Tundra golf and tips for Mountain golf. In 1992 when John Daley and Mark Calcavecchia were fined for playing a round in 2 hours and 3 minutes I'd hate to see what the fine would be for speed golfer Gary Wright at 28 minutes and 9 seconds.

112 Miles to the Pin is an enjoyable read and sure blows the pants off some of those drab technique and lesson books.

12 Myths That Could Wreck Your Golf Game
Tom Wishon (with Tom Grundner) © 2006
Price: $5.53 (Amazon.ca)

12 Myths That Could Wreck Your Golf Game is a 32 page book containing excerpts from The Search For The Perfect Golf Club. The 12 myths are common beliefs about golf that are responded to with factual answers. You can tell the data used in responding to these myths is based on many years of experience and a lot of research.

The first myth, "Modern golf clubs hit further than clubs of even a few years ago", proved to be an eye opener for a golfer such as myself. I truly believed that modern clubs greatly improved distance. I've been gullible, and so have most of us.

Myth Two, "The longer my driver is, the further I hit the ball." Again, a factual answer to disprove this belief.

The myths carry on with 10 more covered in this interesting, short, yet informative book. If the contents has peaked your interest you may want to take a giant step and get Tom Wishon's, The Search For The Perfect Golf Club.

52 Amazingly Simple Secrets for Better Golf
Rick Graves © 2006
Price: $4.99 (BookCloseOuts.com)

In size, 52 Amazingly Simple Secrets for Better Golf resembles something that would be found on the shelf in a child's bedroom. Its meager 48 pages contains paintings by William Mangum but the text, the "52 secrets", are not secrets at all but a list of tips that, as a golfer, we've all heard before. This is not to say that we don't need reminders when our game goes for a dip and this book may change help you repair your game. However, I don't believe it'll work for me and 52 Amazingly Simple Secrets for Better Golf is just not a book I'd recommend.

Although nicely presented, there really isn't much content. It's not the kind of book you'd display on a coffee table and it'll hardly take you 15 minutes to read.

A Course Called Ireland
Tom Coyne © 2009
Price: $14.44 (Chapters.com)

Author Tom Coyne takes a walk around Ireland playing links golf courses in the trip of a lifetime. In 16 weeks he plays nearly 60 courses, 900 holes, takes over 4,500 strokes, plays close to 2 million yards of golf course, and walks more than 1,000 miles between clubs. A Course Called Ireland is a journey that I admire and would love to take on at this point in my life. However, there just isn't enough money in the bank account to get me there.

I enjoyed A Course Called Ireland more for the interest of the adventure. The book doesn't distill excitement and at times comes across as a hardship rather than pleasure (which, at times, I'm sure it was). The writing doesn't contain a lot of whit and didn't ooze with the excitement that I'd like to read. I think talking to the author about his quest would be far more enjoyable than reading about it.

A Course Called Ireland is a different kind of golf book that is an interesting read. I would think after completed a trek of this magnitude you would feel a very strong sense of self-accomplishment.

A Good Walk Spoiled
John Feinstein © 1995
Price: $9.98 (Chapters)

Golf Magazine toutes A Good Walk Spoiled as being, "The best ever account of life on the PGA tour" and I concur! Although beginning to show its age (the book was written in 1995) the content still gives great insight into life on the PGA Tour.

The book follows many golfers, both famous and not so famous, as they encounter golf related pressures (namely "Q-School") or personal issues in life. Issues are explained in a heartfelt manner through the eyes of the players and I could truly sympathize with many of the subjects.

A Good Walk Spoiled is a large read of over 600 pages and covers a broad range of topics. At first glance I thought the book was for reference as an index at the back will allow you to flip to a topic or Tour Pro of interest. With so much material covered one would think the book would ramble, yet surprisingly it has a flow. This is a book that can be read in baby steps or taken in large gulps.

I was so impressed with this book by John Feinstein I purchased another named "Open" (inside the ropes at Bethpage Black).

Don't expect A Good Walk Spoiled to help improve your golf game in any manner but next time you see some of the Tour players mentioned you'll find you almost know them personally.

A Wee Nip at the 19th Hole
Richard MacKenzie © 1997
Price: $4.99 (Golf Town)

A Wee Nip at the 19th Hole celebrates the tradition of the St. Andrews caddie. Many golfers will recognize the name of Old Tom Morris as being one of the prominent caddies to ever carry the clubs at the R&A (Royal & Ancient) Golf Club. Beside Old Tom, many others have gained recognition at the club and these characters are identified in Caddie Profiles throughout the book.

Photos, all in black and white, date back to the late 1800s. The photos are not just of people but are of documents such as the "Regulations for the Employment of Caddies", "Rules Regarding Discipline of Caddies", and the "Caddie Application to the Benefit Fund". This wonderful collection of photos are what make the book. It's too bad many of the documents captured weren't a bit more legible.

Although not an overly long book, any one taking a trip to St. Andrews may like to read A Wee Nip at the 19th Hole before they play their round. Remember, as Old Tom Morris insisted in 1864, that your caddie, "appear for work clean, and moderately sober."

Adventure Golf
Pilot Film & Television Productions Ltd. © 2005
Price: $4.77 (Chapters)

Adventure Golf consists of 5 sections covering golf courses (and travel information) to Scotland, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Southern California. Accompanying this bargain book is a DVD of which I recommend watching before reading any of the Scotland section. The DVD is about a half hour long and is a pleasant watch. Upon reading the book (after viewing the DVD) I was given the impression that the book is the script used for the short-lived TV series of the same name.

I tried to visit the website of adventuregolftv.com as mentioned in the book as DVDs for the TV series were to be sold there. Alas, the site no longer exists. It apears the show was experimental and probably wasn't greeted with much success.

The Adventure Golf book does have some value if you plan to visit any of the 5 locations but beyond that it's not much of a read. With a limited travel selection this book is not much of a value even at a cut rate price.

Alice Cooper, Golf Monster
Alice Cooper © 2007
Price: $11.51 (Chapters.ca)

Alice Cooper, golfer?

It's hard to believe that a hard nosed rocker like Alice Cooper is a golf junkie, but it's true. If you haven't seen him swing the club in a Pro-Am event then you're really missing a treat. With a recorded handicap of 4 and playing 5 or 6 games a week, Alice is a hard man to compete with on the golf course.

Alice Cooper, Golf Monster is a mixture of biography with a sprinkle of golf. Alice uses golf as a stress relief tool when touring or at home. Golf also helped Alice overcome his addiction to alcohol.

If you still remember those classic tunes from your younger days: "School's Out", "I'm Eighteen", "Billion Dollar Babies", "No More Mr. Nice Guy", to name a few, then you're probably still a fan of Alice Cooper. The book is surprisingly well-written and is a very enjoyable read, even for a non-golfer.

Alliss' 19th Hole
Peter Alliss © 2005
Price: $11.19 (Chapters.ca)

A great collection of anecdotes, mishaps, and general golf history compiled under one cover. I'd look at Alliss' 19th Hole as being a bathroom reader for golfers as rarely does one of the entries cover more than one page. I loved reading the obscure entires like "Scores From Hell" and "Caddie Tales". Mixed amongst the stories and facts are "Hall of Fame" entries featuring accomplishments of a great golfer, past and present. Another enjoyable read was "Rules of Engagement". Rules established by the Richmond Golf Club in 1940 during the Second World War.

My one complaint with Alliss' 19th Hole is the fine print used throughout. A hard cover book generally uses a larger font.

This book has since been released in soft-cover. The price found in the heading is for this cover format. Enjoy!

An Enduring Passion
Jaime Diaz © 2002
Price: $6.50 (BookCloseOuts.com)

An Enduring Passion is an abbreviated history of golf. It's also a quick read book that will take an average reader less than two hours to finish. At a mere 28 pages of content it does a decent job of perking ones interest but there's nothing new or insightful between the pages.

The nice feature of An Enduring Passion is the removable documents that are slid between pages. Many of the documents are letters written by Bobby Jones to various acquaintances while others concern the Augusta National Golf Club. These letters are what makes the book a worthwhile read as many are dated well over 50 years ago.

However, the cover price of this book is ridiculous. The original price is $48.50 Canadian and you'd be crazy to pay it.

Are You Kidding Me?
Rocco Mediate & John Feinstein © 2009
Price: $18.80 (Chapters.ca)

If Rocco Mediate doesn't make it to the final of the 2008 U.S. Open against Tiger Woods then this book would never have been written. But because the Rocco versus Tiger final did happen many golf fans were left asking, "Who is Rocco Mediate?" My guess is that the idea of a book was in someone's head before Tiger made his winning putt.

John Feinstein is one of the finest writers to ever put words on paper for golf. His way with prose can only be described as the next best thing to being there. If you ever want to read any of John's other books be sure not to miss A Good Walk Spoiled.

The title of the book had one word dropped from the proposed title and I'm sure you can guess what that is. Are You Kidding me? is probably the first and last book to be written about Rocco Mediate but it's a good one.

Arnie & Jack
Ian O'Connor © 2008
Price: $18.77 (Chapters.ca)

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Two of the most dynamic golfers to ever play the game.

Arnie & Jack takes a look at the careers of both these gentleman. The book combines their biographies and delves into their rivalry both on and off the course. Whether you're a Palmer fan or a Nicklaus fan you'll want to read both sides of the story to which you'll end up loving both men.

It strikes me as being amazing that, only in golf, can a rivalry last so long even with a 10 year age gap. Palmer's reign as top grossing athlete for 30 years will probably never be surpassed but I'm sure he'd trade it all for Jack's 18 major victories (Palmer has 7).

Arnie & Jack is a well written book of 354 pages featuring only a handful of black and white pictures bound in the center.

Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer © 2004
Price: $6.99 (BookCloseOuts.com)

I first read the Jack Nicklaus autobiography which had an identical format to this book and quite enjoyed it. This Arnold Palmer autobiography was published three years before Jack's and includes 14 rare, removable collectibles from Arnie's Archives. I loved looking at the old scorecards, photos, and letters. A special collectible in this book included the Arnold Palmer Dial-A-Problem which is an instant-tip instructional tool published in 1966 and can still be of some use today.

I wish more of these books would be made available on other great golfers in history. Both the Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were not long to read but the quality of information makes both books very unique and worth picking up even if you can't obtain them at a discounted price.

Around the World in 80 Rounds
David Wood © 2008
Price: $18.24 (Amazon.ca)

At 47, David Wood sold everything he owned and set out to fulfill every golfer's dream: For one year, he traveled the world (covering 60,000 miles and every continent except Antarctica) by plane, boat, bus, train, motorcycle, and rickshaw, to play the game he loves in the most exotic locales, including the world's highest, driest, hottest, coldest, and most remote golf courses.

Along the way, he met a bevy of fascinating characters, including surly cabbies, taxi drivers with a death wish, welcoming golf-course managers, threatening kangaroos, and golf pros out for a quick game. David faced dire situations, such as bouts of food poisoning in India and Egypt, altitude sickness in Argentina, getting booted out of the Ukraine by armed guards, and muddling about with limited language skills. But, through it all he maintained a sense of humor and, of course, his passion for golf.

What golfer wouldn't want to escape on a journey of this magnitude? And, David Wood completed his entire trip on his own. No companion to keep him company or see him through his hardships.

Around the World in 80 Rounds is a golf book for which you don't need to be a golfer to enjoy. The humor and pace of events makes this book a great read for young and old, and all walks of life.

Back Spin
Harlan Coben © 1997
Price: $11.23 (Chapters.ca)

I've read a number of Harlan Coben books over the years but never realized he had written a mystery novel with a golfing theme.

Back Spin follows Myron Bolitar, a sports agent, trying to solve the kidnapping mystery of the son of Jack and Linda Coldren. While Jack has a comfortable lead in the U.S. Open, Chap Coldren disappears. The pressure of the kidnapping and a previous collapse at the Open begins to take its toll on Jack. As the event nears its close the number of suspects mount. Where is Chad and what do the kidnappers want?

It's always hard to find a fictional story with golf as a theme and Harlan Coben has twisted a great mystery. Myron Bolitar is a superb character and Back Spin is a great mystery.

Bullet Hole
Keith Miles © 1986
Price: $14.95 (Chapters.ca)

I've been reading a number of Edward Marston mystery novels and after doing a little research I discovered that Edward Marston also writes under the name of Keith Miles. As Keith Miles, Marston has published 6 crime novels about a professional golfer named Alan Saxon.

How appropriate it was to pick up the first of the series, Bullet Hole, and begin reading a mystery surrounding the British Open at St. Andrews, and on the same day the 2010 Open began.

This novel was a treat to read and I really enjoyed the characters and the setting for the first in the series.  I can hardly wait to start book two, Double Eagle.

Dream Golf: The Making of Bandon Dunes
Steve Goodwin © 2006
Price: $23.06 (Chapters.ca)

Dream Golf starts out more like a biography then a book on the making of a golf course. Part One (over 80 pages) follows the life of Mike Keiser, the owner of Bandon Dunes.  With a dream of building a links style golf course, on the perfect piece of land, it was years in the making. Although the book is slow to get into, Part Two, the actual creation and construction of Bandon Dunes is quite interesting.

All three courses at Bandon Dunes (Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, and Bandon Trails) make up an elite golf resort in Oregon bordering the Pacific Ocean. All three courses quickly appeared in the top 30 golf course in America as rated by Golf Digest and Bandon Dunes Resort is the No. 2 rated golf resort in America (behind Pebble Beach). A quick look at the Bandon Dunes website and you'll see that playing a round at any of the three elite course will cost you in excess of $200 per round in prime season.

After reading this book I now have the desire to play at Bandon Dunes as my retirement gift. Retirement is still a few years away and some other golf destination may take over but for now, I'm set on Bandon Dunes.

Bandon Dunes. Golf as it was meant to be.

Essential Golf Skills
DK Publishing © 2011
Price: $12.24 (Chapters.ca)

I read a previous golf from DK Publishing called Eyewitness Companions Golf that was a decent book and Essential Golf Skills follows along in the DK Publishing standard; printed on high quality paper, well written, and well organized.

Essential Golf Skills is directed at a novice golfer and supplies information on many key skills and drills designed to bring down your handicap. The photos are clear and there are lots of them. The book feels small and lightweight yet there's over 150 pages of content.

Help may be just a few pages away.

Every Shot Counts
Mark Broadie © 2014
Price: $25.08 (Amazon.ca)

If you're looking for reasons as to why your golf game hasn't improved then you should pick up a copy of Every Shot Counts. This is my kind of book. Mark Broadie has analyzed mountains of data of both professional and amateur and some of the conclusions are astounding. For the past few years I've kept track of my putts per game but always felt a good game on the green actually meant I had a good game with my short irons. Well, this book confirms my theory.

For the majority of us we will not be able to record data to the accuracy as found in Every Shot Counts so we'll just have to reply on the results provided. I've accepted them, and have changed my approach to my pre-game practice. I now work at shorter putts, under 8 feet, on the putting green. Without going into too much detail, Every Shot Counts analyzes data to assist in lowering scores. Hit it long or lay up? How far past the hole should I try for when putting? What sets Tiger Woods above the rest?

This book will probably contribute as much to your game as any instruction book.

Eyewitness Companions Golf
DK Publishing © 2005
Price: $5.99 (Borders)

DK Publishing has published some fine books on a broad range of topics over the years. DK books are printed using high quality paper, are well written, and are extremely well organized. Eyewitness Companions Golf is no exception.

The book is useful for all levels of golfer as a quick reference to equipment, golf basics, rules, techniques, and history of the game. The later half of the book deals with major golf tournaments, and a detailed tour of 50 of the worlds finest golf courses. This reference library of the sport is highly recommended.

Whether you're a novice or just want to know more about your favorite pastime this guide is brimming with top tips to help you tee off with confidence.

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