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Great Golfing Books for Christmas


If you’re looking for a present this Christmas, (either for someone you love, or to add to your own wish list) then you can never go wrong with a book about the greatest game ever played.

There are so many out there it is often hard to choose the right one – so I thought I’d try and help out. Here are four of my all time favourites. They are all very different but offer thoughtful insights to the game we love (most of the time).

 

Raymond Floyd – The Elements of Scoring
 

8 time Ryder Cup player, Ray Floyd came very close to a career Grand Slam winning a Masters, two PGAs, a US Open and finishing tied second in the 1978 Open Championship. When someone like that writes a book about how to get the best from your game, you know it will be worth reading.

In his words this book is not about overhauling your tools but about learning to use them in a better way. He describes ten mistakes that amateurs make and is of the opinion that the most important shot in the game is the nerve-jangling six foot putt.

He has plenty to say on under-clubbing, trying for too much out of trouble, reading (and misreading) turf conditions & putts. Not only this, he also looks at the mental mistakes that amateurs (and professionals) commonly make.

Fred Couples’ describes Floyd as a player who has some great ideas on handling competition, someone who makes the easiest birdies on par fives and most importantly knows how to convey his ideas to students – I couldn’t agree more.

 

Jim Hardy – The Plane Truth for Golfers
 

The golf swing can be very confusing – especially if you do not have a coach to filter all the conflicting information around.

We used to believe that there was one set of fundamentals and that there was one perfect swing. Well, that just is not true according to Jim Hardy. In this book, he puts forward his theory that there are in fact TWO sets of fundamentals or, to put it another way, two types of swing.

He describes the one plane and two plane swings as being quite different and distinct. What works in a one plane swing will ruin the two plane action so you really cannot mix and match the two at all. If you do you are heading for trouble and Hardy says this can explain why golfers sometimes lose their games and just cannot get them back.

It is ground breaking information but simply explained and unlike any other book on the swing you will ever read.

 

Dave Pelz – My Short Game Bible
 

If you have ever wondered why you have a higher handicap than someone who does not hit the ball as well as you then read this book. Dave Pelz is not a golf professional but a scientist who studied the statistics of the game at every level and came up with the most innovative golf book ever written.

Some of this was covered in my previous blog, the Money Ball of Golf but now you have the chance to read the whole thing. I have read this book three times and still find things in it that I did not know.

It is a very long book but do not be put off – it is broken into sections and is highly anecdotal. My favourite story is when he follows former Masters Champion Gay Brewer for a whole round but was completely unimpressed until he realised that Brewer had scored a 68. After seeing that score Pelz concluded that he needed to find a better way to analyse a player’s game.

Dave Pelz’ Short Game Bible was the result of the years of study that followed and these days he coaches the great short game artist – Phil Mickelson. That is surely reference enough.

 

Alister MacKenzie – The Spirit of St Andrews
 

Most people would say that hazards are in place to punish bad shots, wouldn’t they?

Well, according to one of the greatest ever course architects, Alister MacKenzie, they would be completely wrong.

In his view all hazards are there to make the game more interesting and should be placed to break up the direct line between tee and green. He considered that humps and hillocks around the green were also hazards that create interest and strategy just as effectively as bunkers and water hazards do.

He wanted his courses to give all golfers a test of skill that they would enjoy no matter what their level. The intention was to test the experts but minimise punishment for the less skilled by having wide fairways, minimal thick rough and interesting undulations on and around the green.

MacKenzie died in 1934 and at the time he was considered to be a radical. His 13 principles of course design and much of what he said about driving distances and equipment are still relevant today. In fact much of this book could have been written yesterday.

If you want to understand the role of the architect in developing our game then this classic is a perfect starting point.

 

And finally……..and for free…….Driving For Show by Jeremy Dale
 

If none of these appeal then you can always download my e-booklet Driving For Show – for free of course – by following this link.

http://www.jeremydale.com//download/

It contains the two most important things I do (and teach all my pupils) to make sure we all keep hitting great drives.

 

Thanks for reading.

Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2014.




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