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Golf Books

Our Golf Books feature is a roundup of recently released golf titles spearheaded by’s resident expert, Stuart Shiffman. He remarks that while you can only play golf during normal daylight hours in reasonable weather, you can read about the game far into the evening…and even during rainstorms and sub-zero temperatures. Stuart's passion for reviewing and discussing golf coffee table books, instructional books, historical books, memoirs and biographies will fuel any enthusiast's fire.

Summer Golf Reading for 2018

“Golf is a good walk spoiled” is an often-quoted aphorism attributed to Mark Twain. Author John Feinstein titled one of his early books on the game of golf A GOOD WALK SPOILED. In the 20 years since that book first appeared, the game has changed substantially. The 1990s were something of a golfing boom. Across America and the world, golf courses were constructed at a rapid rate. People flocked to the game, and its popularity was aided by the arrival of a television network then known as The Golf Channel that was 100% devoted to golf. Arnold Palmer, the man associated with the rising popularity of golf in the 1960s and ’70s, was one of the founders of the network. Its creation coincided with the career of Tiger Woods, whose exploits threatened to surpass those of countless golf legends, from Palmer to Jack Nicklaus and even the great Bobby Jones. (More on that later.)

Summer Golf Reading for 2017

The Masters, held annually at Augusta National Golf Club in early April, is professional golf’s first grand slam of the year and is steeped in tradition. That tradition was on display this year in a poignant tribute to one of its champions, Arnold Palmer. Palmer’s victories at Augusta National in the late 1950s and early 1960s coincided with the first televising of major golf events. Palmer and the Masters were joined together as part of golf history. In recent years, the Masters began with Palmer (a four-time Masters winner), Jack Nicklaus (a five-time winner) and Gary Player (the first non-American golfer to win the event) each hitting opening tee shots at the first hole. Sadly, this year there was only an empty chair for Palmer draped with his green Masters jacket. A television camera showed Nicklaus and Player as they mourned their departed friend.

Summer Golf Reading for 2016

In April, the first major golf championship of the year was held at Augusta National in Georgia. The Masters is a tournament steeped in history, and this year’s event added to that history with a classic failure that will long be remembered. Defending champion Jordan Spieth led the tournament from the first day on Thursday to the final nine holes on Sunday. He had built a five-stroke lead as he began the back nine, but that evaporated as he went six strokes over par on the next three holes, including a quadruple-bogey 7 on the 12th hole, where he ignominiously hit two balls into Rae’s Creek, the water hazard that borders the hole. Although battling back and coming close, Spieth could not recover the strokes he had lost. Englishman Danny Willett became the first European to win the Masters since 1999.

Summer Golf Reading for 2015

A recent New York Times article published in anticipation of the Memorial Tournament hosted by golfing great Jack Nicklaus notes that none of his heirs inherited his love for the game. Of his 22 grandchildren, only one, Gary Thomas Nicklaus, has tried competitive golf. Ironically the most gifted golfer of his grandchildren is Nick O’Leary, who shot a 5-over-par 77 10 years ago at age 12. But he was recently selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills after a four-year career as a tight end at Florida State University.

Summer Golf Reading for 2014

While I do not recall the precise year that the annual Summer Golf Essay first appeared on, I do know that it was during a time when the world golf industry was experiencing great success. The professional golf tour in America had events that extended the season past Thanksgiving. Golf had its own cable channel with 24-hour, seven-days-a-week coverage. A youthful Tiger Woods in association with Nike had taken the sporting clothing and equipment industries by storm. Across America and the world, golf courses and communities were growing at a rapid rate.

Summer Golf Reading for 2013

For those of us living in the Midwest, our 2013 golf season opened with a deluge of rain and cold weather. March found most of our golf courses unable to open, frustrating golfers anxious to get on the links for a new season of golf. In 2012, my local course had more than a thousand rounds played during March. This year, the course was unable to accommodate even one round. Of course, the frustration level increases for golfers as they anticipate a new season --- a season that will be the year to bring great improvement. Golf is a game of hope and optimism.

Summer Golf Reading for 2012

Halfway through the 2012 professional golf season, the year may well be designated as Tiger Woods 2.0. For the first decade of the 21st century, Tiger dominated golf in a manner unlike any professional golfer in history. He won 12 major championships and was PGA Player of the Year eight times. These accomplishments occurred despite his limited play during his 2008 and 2009 seasons while recovering from a knee injury. Late in 2009, Tiger suffered a far greater injury than his knee, an injury to his reputation after news of marital infidelity and sexual escapades surfaced.

Summer Golf Reading for 2011

These are not the best of times in the world of golf. Professional golf’s golden boy, Tiger Woods, has fallen upon hard times. Beset by revelations that have destroyed his image as an “all-American family man” and, perhaps more importantly, repeatedly disabled by serious physical injury, Woods is simply no longer the driving force of professional golf. It has been more than a year since his last professional tournament victory and now three years since his last major championship, the U.S. Open of 2008. 

Summer Golf Reading for 2010

The ancient Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” is significant these days in the world of professional golf. Late last year, the personal trials and tribulations of Tiger Woods became daily fodder for extensive media coverage, from newspapers to Internet gossip and various sources in between. Tiger has dominated the sport since 1996, having been the number-one ranked golfer for the most consecutive weeks in golf history and the Player of the Year 10 times. He has won 14 major championships, threatening the career record of 18 such victories currently held by Jack Nicklaus, and on several occasions has won these majors by double-digit margins.

Summer Golf Reading for 2009

Sunday, June 21st marks not only Father’s Day, but also the final round of the United States Open, the second major golf championship of the year. This year’s Open returns to Bethpage Black, one of the nation’s most famous and difficult public courses. In 2002, the course underwent substantial redesign and renovation in anticipation of the Open. Tiger Woods emerged victorious, and he returns to the New York course this year having won not only at Bethpage, but also at Torrey Pines in California last year. Father’s Day, the U.S.