HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS: Five books for five different golfers
02 Dec 2021
by Sean Melia of

Books for the golfer in your life
Books for the golfer in your life

We all have different golfers in our lives, all of them love the game, but they do it in different ways. Some love to travel and play, some fancy themselves a future pro, some crack under pressure, and others enjoy the walk while critiquing the architecture.

Thankfully, there's a book for all those golfers out there.

With the Holiday season upon us, here are some suggestions for the library for that special golfer in your life.

For the golfer who thinks he can turn pro
Paper Tiger by Tom Coyne

Tom Coyne has made a living telling his personal golf stories. Paper Tiger was his first foray into his personal form of golf masochism, and it’s an excellent read for anyone curious about the work it takes to reach the entry-level of professional golf.

Coyne’s journey starts when he decides he wants to see if he can dedicate a year of his life so he can compete in the PGA Tour’s Q-school. He fell out of love with golf as a freshman at Notre Dame when he flamed out in his tryout, and this is an attempt to see if he can rekindle his childhood love.

Like all of Coyne’s golf adventures, he goes all-in; he moves to Florida for the winter and hires all sorts of help - a fitness instructor, a swing coach, and a sports psych. Along the way, Coyne meets interesting people, hits numerous snags both in his self belief, his relationships, his performance, and the red tape that impedes professional hopefuls along the way.

Paper Tiger helps shine the light on the age-old question: if you had one year and all resources you needed, could you make it as a pro golfer?

For the golfer that loves design
The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses by Tom Doak

This is a series of five volumes that can adorn a lavish home library or a modest living room coffee table; each volume focuses on a different section of the world’s golf courses.

Tom Doak’s world-renown designs were inspired by his extensive travel to thousands of golf courses. In this series, Doak, along with help from some other course reviewers, writes frankly about each golf course he visits, ranking them on a 1-10 scale while using symbols to highlight the holes he likes and dislikes. The book can transport you to different parts of the world while also sparking ideas for golf trips in the future.

For the golfer with wanderlust
Range Bucket List by James Dodson

Dodson’s golfing life has filled numerous books, both detailing his own experiences and the experiences of others, like Arnold Palmer. In Range Bucket List, Dodson discovers a scrap of paper with his golf wish list scribbled on it from when he was 12 years old. Incredibly, he had checked off some of the items in the intervening decades; however, there were some he hadn’t completed. Range Bucket List sends Dodson all over the country, reconnecting with friends, playing new courses, revisiting old haunts, and making new memories. This book is also a great entry into Dodson’s writing, as he recollects some of his stories from previous books and leaves the reader looking for more of Dodson’s writing, which is all excellent.

For the golfer that misses the pivotal putt
Mistake-Free Golf: First Aid for your Golfing Brain by Dr. Bob Winters

Dr. Bob Winters, aka The Confidence Doctor, makes a cameo in Coyne’s Paper Tiger. He’s the Resident Sports Psychologist for Leadbetter Golf Academy World Teaching Headquarters and has worked with a myriad of both amateurs and professionals in helping them improve their mindset on the golf course. Dr. Bob has experience playing at every level of golf. He played at Ball State, coached the Virginia golf team, founded the Nike Golf Camps, and studied under Dr. Bob Rotella.

His approach is simple; in Mistake-Free Golf, he details nine common mistakes golfers make in the pursuit of lower scores and more enjoyment. These mistakes aren’t outlined by Dr. Bob, but instead by the players he works with. Each chapter has excerpts from pros about the mental mistakes they make on the golf course, then Dr. Bob outlines the ways any player can deal with those challenges.

It’s the type of information that is immediately actionable on the course. Read it today and play better tomorrow.

For the golfer who loves history
The Match by Mark Frost

Imagine being told you’re playing a match at Cypress Point. Then imagine that match was against Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan in their prime.

In The Match, Mark Frost takes you into the gallery for a 1956 best-ball match between Team Hogan-Nelson and Ken Venturi and Harvey Ward. Ward and Venturi are two of the best amateurs in the world. Hogan and Nelson are primetime professionals.

The characters in the book are fascinating. The organizer of the match is fast-talking Eddie Lowry, who was on the bag when Francis Ouimet won the U.S. Open at The Country Club in 1913. In the 43 years since that victory, Lowry turned himself into a very successful car dealer. As would be expected of any friend of Ouimet, he also loved and supported amateur golf. When Lowry found himself locked in a debate with George Coleman, Lowry declared Ward and Venturi could beat any duo Coleman could scrounge up. That’s when Coleman called Hogan and Nelson who were nearby getting ready to play Bing Crosby’s star-studded, clambake, which has evolved into the PGA Tour’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

These four dynamos played an incredible match at one of the world’s greatest golf courses. Frost does an exceptional job at weaving in the back story of the players while detailing the wonder of Cypress Point as a golf course and venue for this incredible moment in golf history.

Looking for other gifts for the golfer in your life? Check out our gift guide.

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