Now that the weather is changing I find myself sitting in front of the fireplace with a good golf book in hand. For someone who never read a book in the first 30 years of my life unless I absolute had to for school, I can’t read enough about the great game of golf. It started a few years back when I decided to pick a specific aspect of golf and study it over the winter. This practice has taken me on wonderful journey learning about the history, architecture, great players and many other aspects of the game.
For many golfers their library begins and ends at reading greens, but for those of us who are passionate about the game and want to immerse ourselves in it, even when the weather does not permit, there are several wonderful golf books to enjoy. If you are so inclined to pick up a book during the off season here are a few good reads that I have enjoyed. Some are timeless classics and others are new to my bookshelf.
If you are looking for some great golf tips, some of my favorites are found in Harvey Penick’s “Little Red Book.” It is a classic. Harvey has a great way of taking the complications out of the golf swing and using simple imagery to help improve your swing. He believed in learning something new about the golf swing everyday and accumulated a vast amount of knowledge that he liked to express in metaphors, images & stories. Here is a photograph of Harvey’s actual notes and brief case from the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida
Years of expertise and insight scribbled on note cards and note books carried around in Harvey’s briefcase. No computer analysis, just his pen, paper and observation who helped golfing greats like Ben Crenshaw, Kathy Whitworth and Tom Kite, to name a few.
One of my favorite quotes from Harvey is “Take Dead Aim.” This simple statement is easy to remember and keep your attention properly focused on your target vs. a specific swing mechanic.
Another classic, “Golf in the Kingdom” by Michael Murphy is now in movie theaters in major cities across the country. This is a novel about Murphy’s round of golf with the Scottish golf pro, Shivas Irons. In fact the admiration for this golf classic led to the formation of the Shivas Irons Society in 1992 during the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. The Shivas Irons Society is a network of golfers who share a deep respect for the great game of golf. For more information see www.shivas.org
An unexpected treat this year has been Jeff Ritter’s “You’re Kid Ate a Divot.” Don’t mistake this title for a book on Junior Golf. Ritter is a great story teller, weaving words into interesting stories as easily as he can bend a golf shot around a dogleg. Jeff provides timeless lessons for golfers of all ages using golf as a microscope to view our psyche. It is no secret that how we think on the golf course is very similar to how we think in our day to day lives. Ritter’s insight will not only help you enjoy playing golf more but also provide a solid foundation to leading a more fulfilling life.
I had the recent privilege of meeting Judy Alvarez, author of “Broken Tees and Mended Hearts – A Life’s Journey Serving Wounded Warriors and Injured Spirits” last month in Pittsburgh when I trained to become certified as an Adaptive Golf Instructor. Judy, along with Jim Estes from the Salute Military Golf Association and staff instructors from Penn State, worked with us to share their knowledge of teaching individuals with disabilities to play golf. The incredible courage, discipline and strength of the volunteers who allowed me and my colleagues in the PGA to gain first hand insight and experience with disabled golfers was an experience I will never forget. Judy’s book is a touching account of her heart warming experiences teaching disabled golfers throughout the years. Judy’s account is not a “how to” instruction manual on swing mechanics. Rather she shares inspirational stories that truly reflect what the great game of golf is really all about. You can obtain a copy of Judy’s book through her website at www.JudyAlvarez.com.
So now that the weather is changing it might be the right time to go to your local bookstore or visit the Public Library and request a copy of a book on golf. I have a few others listed on my website www.karengolf.com that you might enjoy. We may not be able to get out on the course but we can practice our power of visualization, a great golf skill for any golfer to have while we get lost in a good read about the great game of golf this winter.