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Summer Reading Recommendations for Golfers

June 19, 2007

By Matt Hombach 

While there’s no doubt we all prefer to actually play golf during the summer, inevitably there’s always some downtime on vacations and off-days to enjoy some good golf books. Golf is a fascinating and challenging game and there is a wide variety of books to choose from. Golf literature spans from how-to books to history books and even fiction.  Below is a breakdown of a few fairly recent books that may be worth picking up this summer when you put down your clubs. 

(Courtesy of Harper Collins)
“My Life In and Out of the Rough,” by John Daly

In this comically titled memoir, Daly gives readers a peek behind the curtain about what his life on tour is like and, perhaps more interestingly, gives a candid account of his life growing up in the rural south. 

Daly overcame tremendous odds to win the 1999 PGA Championship. What many don’t know is he faced even tougher odds before he made it big. 

“J.D.” didn’t have the classic country club upbringing common among many tour players today. An alcoholic father and overindulgent tendencies of his own are all major themes in this book. 

If you’ve ever thought it would be great to have a few drinks with Daly outside his custom motor coach and swap stories with him, this book is for you. If you aren’t a fan of Daly’s, the book may give pause to consider what he has overcome already in his life and the demons he continues to battle.

Assuming the yarns he weaves in his book are true, “My Life In and Out of the Rough” paints an entertaining and all too vivid picture of what Daly’s life is like.  

“David Feherty's Irish Pilgrimage: Where to Play, Where to Stay, Where to Eat and Where to Drink, but Not Necessarily in that Order,” by Brendan Koerner 

Along the same lines of (formerly) hard-partying golf personalities, David Feherty’s latest book offers an entertaining read and a ton of valuable information for planning a golf trip to the Emerald Isle.

Even if you’re not planning an Irish golf holiday anytime soon, Feherty’s golf insights and sense of humor always make for a good read.

“Tales From Q School: Inside Golf’s Fifth Major,” by John Feinstein

This is another classic book and outstanding read from the dean of sports authors, John Feinstein. “Tales From Q School” takes an unprecedented look at the challenges, pressures and major disappointments some of the best golfers in the world face when they “go for their card.”

From former PGA Tour stars who are trying to earn their way back on tour to the young hotshots who have won everything in sight until they face what many consider golf’s greatest challenge, Qualifying School brings out the best and worst in all. 

Feinstein respectfully and accurately details what it’s like inside golf’s biggest pressure cooker. The more than 1,000 hopeful players face up to 14 rounds of golf when they battle it out for just 30 spots on the Tour. One bad round or even one bad shot can cost them the dream. The history of Q School is delineated in great detail and Feinstein is at his best when he tells the personal stories of the golfers trials and triumphs. 

“Dave Pelz's Short Game Bible,” by Dave Pelz

 While you may not be able to afford to hire Dave Pelz as your personal short game guru as Phil Mickelson has, you can afford this book, the  latest installment in Pelz’s “Scoring Game” series.

With facts and figures and straightforward logic, Pelz drills in how much the short game affects the score. He also makes it painfully clear how many golfers fail to practice their short game as much as they should, if at all. 

Simply put, Pelz feels that the key to success in golf isn’t buying the latest, piece of equipment or perfecting the golf swing. It is all about taking fewer strokes from within 100 yards of the pin.

Pelz offers tons of practical tips and drills to improve not only putting, but also chips, pitches, bunker shots and wedge shots. For golfers who are serious about improving and are open to a new approach to the short game, this book is a must to open up this summer.  “Putting Out of Your Mind” by Bob Rotella As one of the leading sports psychologists in the country, Bob Rotella has amassed an impressive list of athletes and successful business leaders who seek out his input and guidance to achieve success. Rotella has written several books addressing the mental side of the game. He is a master of putting complex psychological theories into layman’s terms that are easy to understand and incorporate into a golf game. 

Perhaps Rotella’s best known work is “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect” that focused on the entire spectrum of the game. In this work, Rotella narrows his focus down to just the short game.

If you are facing a case of the yips, looking to improve your putting or are already a good putter but are ready to take it to the next level, Rotella’s book will present a large range bucket full of great ideas.

He preaches the value of visualization, positive thinking and basically getting out of your own way when the flat stick’s in your hands. The title itself is a play on words; the premise is that in order to putt your best, it is necessary to get a lot of negative and counterproductive thoughts out of mind.

Issue 2.25: June 21, 2007