Proper Golf

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Required Reading List: Favorite Golf Course Architecture Books

Having recently made some important additions to my personal library of books on the subject of golf courses, I figured it was time to put together a list, from my favorites, of mandatory volumes for anyone interested in learning about golf course architecture. Many books claiming to be about golf courses turn out to be more about the pictures, rather than the architecture itself, getting dubbed "coffee table books", of which I have plenty. The books listed bellow collectively contain: the history of golf architecture, biographies of important architects, modern and classical architecture theory, and descriptions of the games best courses, along with plenty of beautiful and historic pictures, plans, and drawings that we all dream about experiencing for ourselves.

I have divided my list alphabetically into groupings of 5 since its to hard to
combine bio's, theory and more into a straight #1-10 ranking:
#'s 1-5:
The Anatomy of a Golf Course: The Art of Golf Architecture, by Tom Doak
The Evangelist of Golf: The Story of Charles Blair Macdonald, by George Bahto
The Golf Course, by Geoffry Cornish and Ronald Whitten
Golf Has Never Failed Me, by Donald Ross
Scotland's Gift: Golf, by Charles Blair Macdonald

#'s 6-10:
The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, by Tom Doak
The Course Beautiful, by A.W. Tillinghast
The Golden Age of Golf Design, by Geoff Shackelford
The Spirit of St. Andrews, by Aliser MacKenzie
The World Atlas of Golf: The Great Courses and How They are Played, by Pat Ward-Thomas, Herbert Warren Wind, Charles Price, and Peter Thomson

While I would say there are three notable works absent from my list (Discovering Donald Ross, by Brad Klein, The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie, by Tom Doak, and Golf Architecture in America, by George Thomas), many of these books, on and off my list, can be extremely expensive due to limited printings and take time to collect over time... the MacKenzie book is in the mail... I'm also not the biggest fan of Herbert Warren Wind or Bernard Darwin, chalk that up to growing up in the age of ESPN The Magazine, and I blog!

If anyone is interested in purchasing copies of:
A brand new copy of George Bahto's extremely rare The Evangelist of Golf
Dr. MacKenzie and Harry Colt's Golf Architecture: Economy in Course Construction and Green Keeping
...or... Golf Has Never Failed Me from Donald Ross's writings, send me an email at,

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