There are few things better in the winter than reading a good book by a fire (or natural gas fireplace, or an infrared heater). Fortunately for golfers, there are lots of great choices that will satiate your golf thirst while being able to dig in with some good literature.
Eric Hart offers his Holiday High-Five, just in time for the mad dash days of holiday shopping.
Disclaimer: Two of the books on this list, "The Magician" and "The Story of Golf in 50 Holes", were written by GNN contributors.
FICTION: “The Magician”
Rated 4.8 out of 5.0 Stars on Amazon.com (and FREE on Kindle)
This is a golf story. Then it isn't. This isn't a love story. Then it is. Orphaned by the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, a boy simply known as "Stellar" finds his home among the homeless on the cold and often ruthless streets of New York City. When the game of golf and a change of setting help him recover from a devastating setback, he's propelled into a new life of hopes and dreams that have little to do with sports...and everything to do with love. From unknown to unforgettable, this is (award-winning journalist) Ever N. Hayes’s epic life story of "The Magician."
In total, 40 different reviewers called this “potentially the best story they have ever read.” That’s high praise. So is this from Golf News Net's own Mitch Laurance: "I love golf books, but this is about so much more than golf. Wonderful, thoughtful, creative and sensitive on so many levels, it tells the story of a teenage boy and his amazing life, and how unexpected circumstances and people can open up new worlds to us all. Absolutely recommend this, to kids and adults alike. One of the best surprises by an author I've ever had. Bravo!"
HISTORY: "The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup"
Rated 4.4 out of 5.0 Stars on Amazon.com
The best-selling author of “A Good Walk Spoiled” (also a must-read), John Feinstein shares “a dramatic chronicle of the bitterly-fought 2016 Ryder Cup, pitting a U.S. team out for revenge against the Europeans determined to keep the Cup out of American hands.” Whether or not you were in attendance at the Ryder Cup in Minnesota (I was), this riveting back-and-forth makes you feel like you were.
From the Chicago Tribune's review: "Feinstein’s talent always has been the depth of his relationships, which enables him to get important figures to divulge intimate details of what transpired. . . The book features one interesting anecdote after another, including inside reaction to controversial statements by Phil Mickelson; how an injured Tiger Woods swallowed his ego to play a supporting role as an assistant captain; and more."
EPIC: “A Life Well Played: My Stories”
Rated 4.7 out of 5.0 Stars on Amazon.com
There is no way to sum up everything Arnold Palmer meant to golf in a single book…hardly even in a library. Everyone has their favorite Palmer stories, and these are Arnold Palmer’s versions (with a moving foreword by Jack Nicklaus). The King, who arguably invented the value of an autograph (in sports), left this collection of stories as his parting gift to an Army of grateful followers.
From Mr. Palmer himself on this book: "It’s been a wonderful life, I must say, and I say so with all humility and with appreciation for the people who made it so special. I hope (these) pages adequately express that sentiment and that they illuminate for you some of those important things I learned along the way."
HUMOR: “Paper Tiger: An Obsessed Golfer’s Quest to Play With the Pros”
Rated 4.3 out of 5.0 Stars on Amazon.com
There’s funny, and then there’s the seriously funny Tom Coyne. Self-deprecating and golf-obsessive to the extreme, Coyne takes the reader through his adventures with swing coaches, wild overseas travel experiences and sports psychology. He charts his weight and handicap through each chapter in a no holds barred pursuit of excellence (or something much less).
Reader W. Poole says: "(For those who) understand the love/hate relationship (of golf), the agony and ecstasy of thrilling shots and pull-hooked drives. This book captures one man's adventure incredibly well. A top tier golfer, rusty from years of less than top tier golfing, dedicates a year to trying to compete on the main stage again. His tale is eloquent and funny, heartbreaking and endearing. Great stuff."
ARCHITECTURE: “The Story of Golf in 50 Holes”
Rated 4.6 out of 5.0 Stars on Amazon.com
Author Tony Dear sums up 600 years of golf history in 50 insightful chapters, each devoted to a single golf hole that defined today’s game. Featuring illustrations of the 50 holes and archival photographs of the events that made them so famous (and infamous), this book both entertains and educates.
Gary K. McCormick of Vine Voice (and occasional GNN contributor): "I agree with the other 5-Star reviews for this book. A wide-ranging look at significant moments in the history of the game of golf by the holes that hosted those moments, 'The Story of Golf in Fifty Holes' is a well-researched and very well-written overview of the history of the game of golf. Featuring 46 golf courses in 10 countries and 15 U.S. states, this is a book that any fan of golf history will enjoy."