For holiday-shopping procrastinators looking for a last-minute something to get the golfer in the family (courtesy of Amazon and free UPS delivery), here are some reading choices.
Golfers might try printing out this page, circling a title and leaving it somewhere obvious ….
“True Links, An Illustrated Guide to the Glories of the World’s 246 Links Courses,” by George Peper and Malcolm Campbell, with a foreword by Tom Watson. (Artisan Publishing; 308 pp.) This lushly illustrated coffee table book depicts “true” links courses around the world and explains what makes a true links course. It’s the kind of handsome tome you’ll leaf through by the fireplace during long winter nights, dreaming about next spring’s golf trip.
“The Unstoppable Golfer, Trusting Your Mind & Short Game to Achieve Greatness,” by Dr. Bob Rotella. (Free Press Publishing; 214 pp.) The mind ought to be Rotella’s middle name, so connected to the mental game is he. Rather than to give us a reprise of his “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect,” and other similar works, Rotella simply lets the legion of PGA Tour pros he’s helped – Darren Clarke, Keegan Bradley, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington – tell us in their own words how he got their minds right enough to win.
“Unconscious Putting, Dave Stockton’s Guide to Unlocking Your Signature Stroke.” (Penguin Group; 112 pp.) You’ve heard a lot about Dave Stockton ever since Rory McIlroy credited him for helping his putting last season, but he previously worked with Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott, too. This amazingly quick read, written in plain-speaking prose, boils down to this: Like Sam Snead, Stockton believes that “Golfers think too much.” You don’t think before you wad up a piece of paper and toss it into the wastebasket from across the room. Your putting stroke, whatever it is, should happen the same way: unconsciously.
“Extraordinary Golf, The Art of the Possible,” by Fred Shoemaker. (Perigee; 203 pp.) Among my favorites, this book is more than a story about how to fix your game; it’s a story about life and how to approach golf. Shoemaker’s tale begins in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer where he was beaten in a match by a self-taught, barefooted Ghanaian player using ancient clubs. Shoemaker takes a uniquely Californian philosophical view of golf as a window into who you are and who you aspire to be. Instead of how to play well, he focuses on how to live well, how to approach golf and where golf fits into the big picture. Yes, he offers instruction, but his book is a guide to achieving emotional wellness on the course you’ll not find elsewhere.
— Dan Vukelich