The 15 Best Golf Books To Improve Your Game and Learn From The Pros

Every golf enthusiast would want to add some good books on the subject to their library, but they are spoilt for choice. To simplify it, we have provided you with a list of some of the best golf books of all time.

Not all are current. In fact, many are rather old. They all, however, remain relevant and useful to this day. They are some of the most classic and popular golf books around.

These are the 15 best golf books:

  1. Arnold Palmer – A Life Well Played: My Stories
  2. Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar
  3. The Bogey Man: A Month on the PGA Tour
  4. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods
  5. The Greatest Game Ever Played
  6. Peter Alliss: Reflections On A Life Well Lived
  7. The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever
  8. Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf
  9. Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf
  10. How I Play Golf
  11. Golf My Way
  12. The Science of Golf: The Math, Technology, and Data
  13. Golf’s Not A Game of Perfect
  14. The Inner Game of Golf
  15. Zen Golf – Mastering the Mental Game

Having inspiration and the right information can help you improve your golf game, and these are some of the best golf books of all time.

But there is more to come. Hopefully, after reading this, you will know everything there is to know about great golf books, whether you are buying them for yourself or as a gift.

The 3 Best Golf Books

  1. Arnold Palmer – A Life Well Played: My Stories -BestAutobiography
  2. Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf – Best Improvement Book
  3. Golf’s Not A Game of Perfect – Best Mental Books

Best Golf Books: Autobiographies and Stories

1. Arnold Palmer – A Life Well Played: My Stories

If you want to read an autobiography, there is none better than ‘The King,’ Arnold Palmer. The memoirs of Palmer, one of the greats in the history of golf, is an easy read with many photographs of his exploits on the golf circuit and his family life. Although not rated in the top 10 for major wins, he was hugely popular. 

He also had a loyal following known as Arnie’s Army. Even in Japan, he was seen as a hero. Arnie set the standard and was the consummate gentleman, humble in victory, gracious in defeat, and a role model in manners and etiquette.

The book is divided into three sections dealing with golf, family, and business and is written in such a conversational way that the reader almost feels like having a one-on-one chat with the man himself.

The commemorative edition features a foreword by Jack Nicklaus.

2. Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and Unauthorized!) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar

Golf writing doesn’t get much bigger than writing the biography of Phil Mickelson. That is what Alan Shipnuck was tasked with doing.

Having covered Mickelson across his career, Shipnuck is well-placed to provide insight to the golfer off the course. Topics such as a caddie break-up, kindness, and the Saudi golf league championed by Mickelson are all brought to light.

This is more of a book for those who want to learn about Mickelson, the man behind the golfer, and what went on during his star-studded career.

3. The Bogey Man: A Month on the PGA Tour

George Plimpton is a writer and journalist who believes in getting in deep and dirty. He does not sit in the press box and file a report to the editor. He actually participates and then writes about the experience. You, therefore, get the inside scoop. 

In the early sixties, when the PGA was not as rigidly controlled, and amateurs could compete alongside the pros, George takes a month-long journey into professional golf to discover firsthand what life is like on the circuit.

Plimpton writes in his inimitable style, with many of the stories being quite humorous, if not hilarious.

The consensus is that it is a must-read – even if you don’t know golf – with some amazing stories.

4. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods

Hank Haney is regarded as one of the top golf instructors in the world and has coached as many as 200 tour professionals. From 2004 to 2010, Haney was the swing coach to Tiger Woods for six years. During this time, Tiger won six majors and a third of all the tournaments he entered.

This book is so unique because Haney not only coached Tiger but lived with him in his home. This allowed him to study this highly talented athlete at close quarters to discover what makes him tick.

It is a fascinating insight into the psyche of one of our most talented athletes and golfers. An absolute must-read.

5. The Greatest Game Ever Played

Mark Frost takes us through the life of a blue-collar kid named Francis Ouimet who grew up across the road from The Brookline Country Club and learned to play golf by caddying. Later he entered the U.S. Open, and played at his home club in 1913.

Beating the odds, Francis Ouimet wins the title, beating two of the world’s best players in an 18-hole playoff. He achieved this sensational victory with a 10-year-old caddie on his bag.

Although this sounds like fiction, this is a true story of a kid that followed and achieved his dreams.

6. Peter Alliss: Reflections On A Life Well Lived

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The book by Bill Elliot celebrates Peter’s life. And what a life too – golfing, commenting, writing, Peter had done it all.

It’s a nice, gentle read with stories about people Peter met and the sport itself. It is almost sure to make you smile 

7. The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever

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Mark Frost features again in the list of the best books about golf with his take on The Match.

It’s 1956, and Eddie Lowery and George Coleman have made a bet. The former says that 2 of his workers – both amateur golfers – cannot be beaten and asks Coleman to offer up 2 any 2 golfers that could show him otherwise.

It tells how they faced up against Ben Hogan and Bryon Nelson with 14 major championships to their name and how they got on.

We must warn you, though, it was dubbed the greatest private match ever, so you are in for a treat.

Read more: The 10 Best Golf Podcasts

Best Golf Books for Improvement

1. Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf

Regarded as one of the best golfers of his time, Ben Hogan won a total of nine majors including his 1953 “Triple Crown” when he won the British Open, the Masters, and the US Open. Five Lessons was first published in 1953 and reprinted in 1980 and is a must in any golfer’s collection.

Forty years later, this book, described as ‘timeless,’ is still relevant. It tells you precisely how to improve your game. Filled with illustrations and easy to read, it will prove helpful to any player regardless of handicap or talent.

Hogan strongly believes that any golfer, by developing a high-level, consistent swing, can shoot 80 or under. The chapters take you through the grip, stance, posture, backswing, and downswing with detailed illustrations and analysis. It is arguably the best book to learn golf from.

2. Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf

Harvey started as a caddy at the age of eight and went on to become the head coach at the Austin Country Club, a position he held for fifty years. After every session, he made it a habit to record tips and observations in a red spiral-bound notebook, hence the book’s name. Today, one would probably be a blogger and then collate them into a book.

Harvey worked with beginners, amateurs, and professionals alike. Amongst the big names were Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite, who wrote the foreword to the book. Later there came the Twentieth Anniversary edition with new illustrations and articles from the family archives and a new foreword by Davis Love III.

Unlike most other instructional books on golf, this one does not get bogged down with technical jargon and over-analysis of technique. Rather he uses common sense and some basic drills along with saying it how it is.

It is probably the most popular and highest-selling golf book on instruction, although some feel that Hogan’s book is better, and others that Harvey tends to repeat himself a bit. 

Regardless of that, though, it is still one of the best golf instruction books.

3. How I Play Golf

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Tiger Woods lifts the lid on 5 secrets that saw him stay on top of his game for so long.

They are a combination of physical, metaphysical, and psychological methods daily.

It was released in 2001 when Tiger was the top-ranked golfer in the world and stayed that way for a few years after the book. If there is ever expert advice you could take from a game improvement book, there isn’t much better placed to provide it.

It is one of the must-read golf books around.

4. Golf My Way

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From one great to another, Jack Nicklaus’ 2005 book, looks at his perspective on golf compared to his time, thoughts on technique, and the mental side of the game that are not linked to making shots.

It is a great insight into how he lives and breathes the game with new chapters on his changes in techniques and new illustrations.

For some, it is one of the best golf books ever by one of – if for a chunk of many – the best golfer ever.

5. The Science of Golf: The Math, Technology, and Data

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Sports broadcaster Will Haskett’s book looks at data in golf, but it delves into science, too, looking at a golfer’s swing, body, mind, and equipment.

Haskett delves into the details behind differing swings, playing fields, and technology. If you are new to golf, I know what you’re thinking – it will probably go straight over your head.

Well, it is written in a simplified way that helps golf gurus and the newbie understand.

We would be very surprised if you didn’t learn something new from this book. It is one of the favorite golf books for readers wanting to learn more about the numbers in golf.

Best Golf Mental Books

1. Golf’s Not A Game of Perfect

I had often heard the expression, ‘the shortest distance in the game is the space between your ears,’ and never knew where it came from until I met Dr. Bob Rotella in his book. In the modern professional era, the psychological approach, or mental attitude, is even more important than physical attributes, natural talent, or correct technique. It could mean the difference between a great player and a champion.

Bob Rotella is THE guru of performance consultants in the world of golf, and this is one of the outstanding golf books. It could help make you a better golfer upstairs.

2. The Inner Game of Golf

You need a strong mental side to be competitive in golf. It has been proven that excellent golfers with a weak mental side tend to be unsuccessful on pro golf tours. Irrespective of how talented they are.

The Inner Game of Golf is a golf psychology book that introduces W. Timothy Gallwey’s theory of the ‘self 1’ and ‘self 2’ that must become friends to achieve your best results in golf.

Golfers that take the mental side of golf seriously will soon progress to a higher level than golfers that feel that they have already achieved the maximum potential of their golf game. It is one of the most thought-provoking golf books and a fascinating read.

3. Zen Golf – Mastering the Mental Game

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Dr. Joseph Parent is a PGA coach, Buddhist instructor, and also the author of his Zen Golf book. It explores getting golfers ‘in the zone’ with full focus and how to eliminate the distractions and negativity that can impact performance.

Masters and PGA Championships winner Vijay Singh vouched for Dr. Parent’s methods and said he simplified the mental game of golf for him.

A PAR (Preparation, Action, and Response) method is used on the golf course, and it can translate into your life too. It could alter your thinking and impact your game positively too.

On a side note, you are probably a book person since you are here. But if you struggle to get encouraged by them, then golf magazines may be your thing.

What To Consider When Buying a Golf Book?

Your Purpose

Like any book genre, there are so many different subsections. You can find books on developing your technical quality, a former golfer’s personal experiences, and the psychology and mentality behind golf. Make sure you know what you want to learn about and choose from the right category for you.

The Type of Book

By the type of book, we mean whether you want a physical copy of a book that you can read and share with others or whether you would want an audiobook that you could sit back and relax with. It is worth bearing in mind that audiobooks often require smartphones, computers, or tablets.

The Length

The length of golf books in this list can range quite significantly. Some involve a few teachings, and others involve the full story of a former golfer. If you dislike very long or short books, research the length to decipher whether you would be engaged for the whole book.


Golf books are usually priced around the $8 – $15 mark, so they all fit a similar budget – though the best ones can go up to $30. You could opt for audiobooks which can be a slither of the price instead. 

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed hearing about the best golf books to read, covering a wide range of topics such as instruction, the mental game, and the life experiences of various golfers.

Arnold Palmer’s A Life Well Played: My Stories provides insight into his private life, golf career, and business acumen.

Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf is regarded as the bestselling golf book of all time, with the information gained over 50 years of being a head coach.

Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons is regarded as one of the all-time great instruction books that are as relevant today as when first published. This is also one of our top choices for the best books on golf.

If you want to get better at golf and you want more than books, you might also be interested in the best online golf lessons.


What is the Best Golf Book to Buy? 

Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons teaches the modern fundamentals of golf. Hogan is regarded as one of the best golfers of all time. His timeless instruction book “is filled with content and illustrations that are easy-to-read and understand.” It is as relevant today as it was when first published in 1953.

The book follows Hogan’s belief that any golfer can break 80 with a consistent swing. Chapters cover the grip, stance, posture, backswing, and downswing with detailed illustrations and analysis. Emphasis is placed on the grip as the fundamental requirement to achieve a consistent and successful swing.

It also highlights the role of the body in generating maximum power and the role of a strong mental approach to achieve success in golf.

What Is the Bestselling Golf Book of All Time?

According to the PGA and Golf Monthly, the bestselling golf book of all time is the Little Red Golf Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf was co-authored by Harvey Penick and Bud Shrake. 

In this book, Harvey shares his thoughts on golf instruction built up from his fifty years as head coach at the Austin Country Club.

Do Golf Books Help? 

Books about golf can provide loads of guidance on the mechanics of the golf swing. This can help you to build a basic swing from where you can improve with the assistance of a PGA Teaching Professional. A professional will enable you to tweak your swing to achieve the best results.

Can You Learn Golf From a Book?

You can learn from top golf books about the mechanics of the swing, how to putt, and even how to become mentally stronger to give you a competitive edge against your playing partners.

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Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.

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