Best golf books: a Sports Bookshelf top 10 of the most popular books about golf, including a new history of the Ryder Cup

Did you love the Ryder Cup? Are you already a committed golf fan, or did the great comeback in Medinah open up a new dimension to your sporting fascinations?

Golf has traditionally been a source of good reading for sports fans, and no sport offers a greater proliferation of instructional guides for the enthusiastic amateur.

Here is The Sports Bookshelf's potted guide to 10 of today's most popular golf books. Click on the picture or text links for more information and to buy.

Out of Bounds: Legendary Tales From the 19th Hole, by Sam Torrance (Simon & Schuster)

Sam Torrance, Scottish golfing legend, veteran of eight Ryder Cups, sank the winning put as Europe ended 28 years of US dominance at The Belfry in 1985 and returned to the Midlands course as winning captain in 2002. A natural raconteur, Sam has a fund of insights and anecdotes, some hilarious, some eyebrow-raising. In this new book, he divulges tall tales from the great, the good and the not-so-good in the world of golf, from Ryder Cup clinching moments to what really goes on in the clubhouse bar.

The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods, by Hank Haney (Crown Archteype)

Hank Haney was swing coach to Tiger Woods for six years until their relationship broke down acrimoniously in 2010.  During those years the supremely gifted golfer collected six major championships only to fall from grace over a series of scandals in his personal life.  Haney had the chance to observe Woods in nearly every circumstance: at tournaments, on the practice range, over meals, with his wife, Elin, and relaxing with friends.  This is his candid account of what he saw.

Ben Hogan's Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, by Ben Hogan and Herbert Warren Wind (Crown Archetypes)

Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers in the history of the sport, believed that any golfer with average coordination can learn to break 80 - if they applied themselves patiently and intelligently. This classic book sets out the fundamental skills that Hogan argued were essential for a golfer to make his or her game work -- from tee to green, whether an amateur or a professional. Supported by clear illustrations, Hogan's Five Lessons has become a must-have reference.

Published on the eve of the Medinah contest, this is the beautifully illustrated complete story of the Ryder Cup, from the tournament's launch in 1927 when Great Britain played the USA for a trophy provided by Samuel Ryder, a Hertfordshire seed merchant, through the post-war dominance of the US team, to the titanic, knife-edge struggles of the modern day.  Author Nick Callow recalls each Ryder Cup, along with the great players and pairings, the captains and the courses that have created its special history.

The Timeless Swing by Tom Watson and Nick Seitz (Simon & Schuster)

Tom Watson, five times winner of the Open, was known as a shotmaker's shotmaker, a master of any shot under any conditions, and the finest foul-weather golfer of all time. Watson relied on a swing that has stood the test of time as an unmatched model of good mechanics, rhythm and repeatability. In The Timeless Swing, Watson offers a lifetime's worth of wisdom and insight into the game of golf, showing how to become a better player at any age, distilling the most important lessons to help any golfer improve his or her swing.

US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III was encouraged by his father, Davis Love Jr, to put in the time to learn and understand the physical and mental components of the game that turn a golfer into a champion. In Every Shot I Take, he shares the lessons he learned about how to play golf with power, with skill, and with joy. Those classic lessons range widely, from the psychological to the physical and include Love's Ten Commandments of Putting.

Monty: The Autobiography, by Colin Montgomerie (Orion)

Colin Montgomerie, who was ranked Europe's number one golfer for an unparalleled seven years in a row and won the European Order of Merit eight times, is best known for his amazing contributions to the European Ryder Cup team - eight times as a player undefeated in singles and, most recently, as the victorious 2010 European captain.  Montgomerie's autobiography is the story of both a prodigious talent and complex personality and a quest to achieve personal and professional balance.

The Unstoppable Golfer, by Dr Bob Rotella (Simon & Schuster)

More than two-thirds of the shots a golfer makes are short ones: putts, chips, and pitches. Whether a golfer wants to win the Masters or just five pounds from his mates on Saturday morning, the little shots are the ones that make the difference. In The Unstoppable Golfer, coaching guru Bob Rotella, who has worked with stars such as Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, teaches readers how to use their minds to master the short game, by achieving a calm state of mind in which the focus is only one thing -- the hole.

501 Excuses for a Bad Golf Shot, by Justin Exner (Sourcebooks)

1. A drop of sweat fell in my eye, and I missed the ball. 2. I stubbed my toe on the base of my bed, now I can't wear my golf shoes. 3. I've only played with these clubs twice. 4. My rain suit is too tight and I can't swing my club smoothly. 5. The tee was leaning too far forward.  Anyone can hit a great shot and brag; the challenge is to shank a tee shot and still make your mates laugh. This hilarious book will tickle any golfer, though you need not be a golf enthusiast to enjoy it. A must for the 19th hole.

American sports writer John Feinstein borrowed the line often attributed, probably incorrectly, to Mark Twain as the title for his behind-the-scenes account of an unusually turbulent year in the punishingly competitive world of the US professional golf, one that began with the tense US victory in the 1993 Ryder Cup at The Belfry. It has become a classic, both for its revealing portraits of the leading golfers of the time, particularly Nick Price, Tom Watson, Greg Norman and then rising star Paul Azinger, and for the way the author highlighted the pressures of a high-profile sport with virtually no off-season and the psychological impact those pressures make in a game in which a player's biggest opponent is invariably himself.

Some new golf books...

And coming soon...

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