If you try to decide whether size matters based on the amount of spam email traffic you get, you can only come to one conclusion. Our subject this month is thankfully not E.D., but instead a look at golf books that are small in stature but command big prices.
The book trade has developed its own technical jargon over the years to provide a short-hand method of determining a book’s size. The original naming conventions for the size of books were based on the size of a page in the book as a fraction of the large sheet of paper it was printed on. Books are printed on large sheets of paper (typically 19 inches by 25 inches) and then folded and bound into their final state. Large format books, known as folio (abbreviated fo) are only folded once. The standard fold is eight times or octavo, abbreviated 8vo. Most modern books are octavo.
The smallest books can be produced by folding the paper up to sixty-four times, abbreviated 64mo, known as sexagesimo-quarto. So maybe those spam emails are onto something after all? These tiny books are typically only a couple of inches in size.
My Twelve Most Difficult Shots
It seems blasphemous to speak of Bobby Jones after that prior discussion, but here we go. We’ve always been a fan of describing their books by actual size, rather than by using technical abbreviation,s and will do so from now on. Bobby’s My Twelve Most Difficult Shots measures only 2 ½ inches by 4 inches.
Published in 1929 by B & B, St. Paul, this sixty-three page gem is inch-for-inch one of the most expensive in the golfer’s library. Bobby’s eclectic mix of twelve most difficult shots are:
1. Putting in the rain
2. Fighting the wind
3. The 17th at St. Andrews
4. Those lucky shots
5. Shooting 30 on the last nine
6. When the driver fails
7. Why your best shot is not always the one to play
8. Approaching difficult greens
9. Controlling your irons in cross-winds
10. Losing two strokes to save one
11. Take your time – Don’t blow up
12. Getting out of traps
Golf in America
Compared to My Twelve Most Difficult Shots, Golf in America is downright large, although in absolute size it is very small. America’s first golf book, published in 1895, measures only four inches by six and ½ inches.
This 194 page book, written by an early member of Shinnecock Hills is fully reviewed here.
Golf Flicker Books
Golf Flicker Books, are by their very nature small so that they can be thumbed through easily. The famous Ben Hogan flicker is only 1 ¾ x 2 ½ inches and the Bobby Jones flickers are only two inches by three inches.
Reminiscences of Golf and Golfers
Reminiscences of Golf and Golfers by H. Thomas Peter was published circa 1890 in Edinburgh. This fifty-five page book is one of the rarest of all books in the golf library.
The book measures only 5 ½ inches by 4 ¼ inches and sells for multiple thousands of dollars and we’ve only seen it up for auction twice in the last ten years.