Collecting Golf Books

September 1, 2012

“A little library, growing every year, is an honorable part of a man’s history. It is a man’s duty to have books. A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life. Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A home without books is like a room without windows.” ― Henry Ward Beecher

This month we feature an atypical newsletter. In the age where eBooks sales are outpacing sales of the old-fashioned kind, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on the nature of books, collecting and the civility of a good library. In 2010 Amazon sold 143 e-books for every 100 hardcover books. While the Kindle, Nook and iPad have certainly helped book sales and turned a lot of people onto reading more, there is still something special about the real thing.

It starts simply enough. A golf book you buy really catches your fancy. You look up other books by the same author. As you read more, you want to learn more. It’s like an insatiable appetite. The more you read and acquire, the more you want to have. You wind up with a modest collection of golf books. It begins to get serious when you start taking non-golf books off your book shelves to make room for the additional golf books you’ve acquired. Soon, it takes over most of your library. Then, you’re stacking books on the floor.

While not as exciting as holing a shot from the fairway, we share the experience of delight you have when opening a newly arrived package. The postman and UPS driver are your friends. Oh, the anticipation of opening the newly arrived package.

You start to rationalize it, “I know it’s a lot of golf books, but I got a really good price on The Links.” You mentally tell yourself to set a budget. But time and time again you fail to meet the budget. Then you start to look at the finer books and start buying at auctions. Again, your budget gets blown and it ratchets up another notch. “Yea, but this is such a rare book, I may not have another chance to get it, especially in this condition.” Well, it was only a mental budget anyhow. You know it has reached fever pitch when you start hiding your purchases from your spouse.

When does it cross the line from being a serious collection to running amok? We ask ourselves the same question all the time. Our feeling is as long as we continue to get pleasure from the experience and set some limits, it is worth pursuing.

How did it all start? Joe Murdoch admits in was The Complete Golfer by Herbert Warren Wind that got him hooked. I was also hooked by Wind, but in my case, it was Following Through.

Most of us follow the same pattern. You start buying everything you can. The emphasis is on quantity and not quality. Greg Norman’s Shark Attack, Lee Trevino’s Super Mex. Fine books, no doubt, but hardly collectible. Then, you start to discriminate. You buy the rarer books and it gets more expensive. Like acquiring a taste for scotch, you keep refining your palate. You know it has gotten serious when you start trading up your books. You have The Walter Hagen Story, but you don’t have it with the dust jacket in perfect condition. So you pursue it and then sell your old copy.

Like the game we all love, collecting golf books is an obsession; a mania; an addiction. We find that collecting golf books and playing the game are perfect complements. You finally get the chance to play Maidstone; when you get home, you research Maidstone club histories that you now must have, so you can savor your experience. It works the other way too. You’ve seen all the great Royal Liverpool books, and now it’s eating at you; you’ve got to play the course. And so it goes. A virtuous cycle in our opinion, but an obsessive one none-the-less. In the same way you are anxious to get out on the course because you know you can shave two strokes off your score today, you are always looking for that hidden gem with a dust jacket or a rare nineteenth century golf book.

One of the greatest collectors in history was C.B. Clapcott, a postal employee in England. In one of the great collecting feats of all time, he built a world-class collection on what had to be modest wages. We can all learn from Clapcott. He was driven by passion, not by the desire to see price appreciation.

Our parting wisdom is that you’ve lost it when you think Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible is more important than the real Bible. So what if you can’t pay for your kids to go to college because you’ve spent it all on golf books. It’ll be better for them to make it on their own anyhow. It builds character!

“As a rule people don’t collect books; they let books collect themselves.” ―Arnold Bennett

“I cannot live without books.”  ― Thomas Jefferson

“Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.”   — Walter Benjamin

“I have no mistress but my books.” — S.J. Adair Fitzgerald

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Links of Life by Joe Kirkwood

August 1, 2012

How many golf writers get dust jacket blurbs from two U.S. Presidents? Both Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower endorsed Joe Kirkwood’s biography The Links of Life. Eisenhower says, “My golf game shows the benefit of his magic touch.” Kirkwood’s story was published in 1973 and written by Barbara Fey (Donovan & Jerris K7210).

Kirkwood was one of golf’s more interesting characters. Best know as a trick-shot artist who toured the world with Walter Hagen and Gene Sarazen, Kirkwood was born in Australia in 1897. Kirkwood started entertaining injured soldiers after World War I. He says that he learned to hit trick shots with the use of just one arm or leg to offer encouragement to injured soldiers who were missing limbs.

Kirkwood won both the Australian and New Zealand Opens in 1920 and finished in the top ten in the Open Championship four times. Shortly after emigrating to the U.S. he played in the North-South Open, which was a very prestigious tournament at that time and still played on sand greens. As luck would have it, he was paired with Walter Hagen, thus beginning one of golf’s great partnerships.

Kirkwood traveled widely and the book recounts visits to exotic lands such as Singapore, South Africa, India, Ceylon, Rangoon, Java, Burma, Japan and China. In an impressive feat of stamina Kirkwood did 105 exhibitions in 109 days. In the days before big money purses on the tour  it was a good source of income. Kirkwood was one of the most widely traveled golfers of all time and he states in the book that he played over 8,000 courses around the globe.

The centerpiece and one of the most interesting parts of the book is a 36 page black and white photo spread showing Kirkwood all over the world. Below is a photo of Kirkwood hitting a golf ball that is teed up in a woman’s mouth.

He apparently also had a penchant for topless women. There are six shots in the book of women without tops on taken in Bali and Africa. In one of them, Kirkwood is giving a lesson and has his hands all over the woman! As he describes it, “To say that it was hard to concentrate would be putting it mildly. Her gorgeous body gleamed in the sunlight, and watching her put to use my instruction was a study in anatomy – hers and mine.”

In 1930, Joe Kirkwood and Walter Hagen went to Japan at the invitation of the Japan Golf Association and played ten exhibition matches. After their visit, golf started to take off there, with thirty courses built in the next few years. One of the best pictures in the book is one of Kirkwood and Hagen in Japan in 1930 with Japanese woman standing behind them in traditional clothing and umbrellas. Kirkwood is seen below with Walter Hagen outside a hotel in Japan.

The book includes some fabulous pictures of Kirkwood and Hagen racing around the pyramids in Egypt in 1937 riding camels. Kirkwood was quite a celebrity in his day and did exhibitions for the Prime Minister of Australia, the Emperor of Japan in the Imperial Garden and for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Links of Life is a quirky and very interesting biography, I imagine, just like the man.

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The Links by Robert Hunter

July 5, 2012

Robert Hunter’s The Links was a groundbreaking golf book, in that it was the first to use illustrations (black and white pictures) to demonstrate the art of good golf course architecture. Hunter laments the dearth of good books on golf architecture in the opening chapter and notes that the aspiring architect has few places to turn to learn the trade. Hunter uses fifty-one full page illustrations of the leading courses of the day to show what constitutes good architecture.

He refers to the early days of golf architecture in bleak terms, “Any one knowing better things must have thought it the work of some maniac with an extremely malicious spirit, determined to deface, with every kind of misshapen erection and eruption known to a depraved mind, those lovely fields and meadows which first caught the eye of our golfers.” He seems to be holding back here; I’d like to know what he really thinks.

Writing in the opening chapter “one recalls that less than thirty years ago the game was looked upon as something effeminate — an unmanly sport suited only to the pink-coated fops and dandies who played it. And what moral courage was required in those days to walk the town streets or board a train dressed in knickers and carrying a bag of clubs!”

The book was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1926 (Donovan & Jerris H27280). Unlike some books, where it can take some investigation to determine whether it is a first edition, with The Links it is easy to do. The first edition, seen below, has a white flag with a ‘1’ and a red flag with an ‘18’ on the front cover. The second edition has a plain green cover without the flag.

According to Donovan & Jerris, the second editions were produced in 1935 when “Golfdom Magazine purchased from Scribners’ [1,230 copies] unbound copies and bound them in a plain green cloth.” The contents are identical to the original first edition. The USGA published a facsimile edition in 1994 (D & J H27310) which was limited to 1,500 copies. Two other facsimile editions were produced in 1998 and 1999.

Hunter was a big fan of Pine Valley and the book includes thirteen full page pictures of the course. He calls it, “…a thing of structural beauty,” and “a playground of the gods.”

So who is Robert Hunter and what were his qualifications to author a book on golf course architecture? Before becoming interested in architecture he had an interesting background. From Donovan & Jerris, “Hunter was a world-renowned sociologist and political radical. He authored a number of highly influential books, including “Poverty” in 1904, which addressed and attempted to solve significant social problems. He ran unsuccessfully for governor of Connecticut in 1917. After moving to California in 1917, where he taught for many years at the University of California at Berkeley, Hunter became deeply interested in golf course architecture.” Daniel Wexler points out in The Book of Golfers, “Ironically Hunter, whose own roots were middle class, would marry an enormously wealthy woman and thus was living on her family’s expensive farm when he ran for Connecticut’s governorship on the Socialist ticket.” Aha. Thus, explains why Hunter takes such strong positions when writing. He’s a Berkeley radical!


Hunter as pictured playing Cypress Point, from their club history

Hunter’s course designs include the beautiful Valley Club of Montecito in Santa Barbara, California, which he co-designed with Alister MacKenzie. According to Donovan & Jerris he also assisted MacKenzie in the creation of Cypress Point and contributed to the redesign of Pebble Beach in preparation for the 1929 U.S. Amateur.

Copies of the book signed by Hunter are rare. An even rarer specimen of the book is one with the original dust jacket still present (seen below). Each of these rarities will fetch in the thousands of dollars. The Links is Hunter’s only writings about golf and is considered a classic among golf books. It has been overshadowed to some degree by the masterwork produced a year following its publication in 1927 of George Thomas’ Golf Architecture in America, but is still an important and relevent book today, rightly sought after by collectors. His 163 pages are opinionated, spirited and informed.

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Best Selling Golf Books

June 29, 2012

Each quarter we update the list of the top 10 best selling golf books as sold on Amazon. Click on the either the text of the image of the book to buy through Amazon.

Highlights of the quarter: The new book about Tiger didn’t last as a best seller very long, dropping off the list in a couple of months after publication. And, this quarter there are two books in the top 10 by James Dodson. As of June 2012:

1. Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game by Dr. Joseph Parent, published in 2002.

2 .Lost Balls: Great Holes, Tough Shots, and Bad Lies by Charles Lindsay, published 2005

3. Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan, published 1990.

4.  Fifty Places to Play Golf Before You Die: Golf Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations by Chris Santella, published in 2005.

5. American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf by James Dodson, published 2012.

6. Sports Illustrated: The Golf Book published in 2009.

7. Golf My Way: The Instructional Classic, Revised and Updated by Jack Nicklaus, published in 2005.

8. Final Rounds: A Father, A Son, The Golf Journey Of A Lifetime by James Dodson, published 1997.

9. The Four Magic Moves to Winning Golf by Joe Dante, published in 1995.

10. The New Yorker Book of Golf Cartoons (New Yorker Book of Cartoons) by Robert Mankoff, published in 2002.

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Golf Books – A buyer’s market!

June 22, 2012

The Jaime Ortiz-Patino collection of golfing memorabilia was auctioned off at Christie’s auction house on May 30th. Patino is most closely associated with Valderrama, a course that he brought Robert Trent Jones Sr. back to in 1985 to lengthen and redesign into one of the world’s premier courses. Christie’s marketed the sale in New York, Hong Kong and Dubai prior the London sale.

The auction included a large selection of artwork, clubs and balls as well as some books. Christie’s had predicted that the sale would bring in £2 million, but it realized only £1.8.  That’s US $2.8 million, putting Jimmy clearly in the 1% that many of the street protestors object to. The top three items in the sale were works of art, the highest being Sir John Lavery’s painting of North Berwick which sold for $376,350 (seen below).

We say it is a buyer’s market because the savvy purchaser could have snapped up some real bargains. H.S. Colt’s Some Essays on Golf Course Architecture with its rare dust jacket sold for $390!!! This book is worth at least 10 times this amount. Also, a copy of Bobby Jones’ Down the Fairway with the slipcase sold for $5,070, about half of what the book has traded at in recent years. Hillinthorn’s Your First Game of Golf also sold for 50% of the price normally achieved by US auction sites.

A 1743 copy of The Goff sold for $46,800. Although a difficult book to benchmark prices against because of its rarity and varied conditions, a 1793 copy sold for $80,500 in 1998 as part of the Joe Murdoch sale.

This rare Prestwick Rules book from 1873 achieved $2,340:

The auction also yielded some unusual results on the upside. Charles Blair MacDonald’s Scotland’s Gift was sold for $12,675, a price which is $5,000 more than a comparable copy we currently have for sale. Our conclusion after the Christie’s sale is that for sure it is still a buyer’s market with prices remaining cheap for those building a collection. It also reinforces our view that an educated buyer who does his or her research and is patient can build a nice library. And as the MacDonald book proves, P.T. Barnum was right!

The full results of the auction can be found on Christie’s website including prices realized.

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Yeamans Hall Club

June 1, 2012

The Yeamans Hall Club is located in Charleston, South Carolina and the golf course was designed in 1925 by Seth Raynor. It is a low-key club and one of the gems of the golfing world. Until now, lovers of Yeamans Hall have had to make themselves content with the spectacular chapter in Legendary Golf Clubs of the American East by John de St. Jorre and Anthony Edgeworth. The chapter gives you a very good feel for what the Yeamans Hall experience is all about: world-class golf, southern charm, an idyllic setting and a feeling of splendid isolation.

Lovers of Yeamans Hall (your truly included) have a new reason to celebrate. The club recently (2010) published a history titled The Cottages and Architects of Yeamans Hall. The book was written by Charlton deSaussure, Jr. and the photographs in the book were taken by Charlotte Caldwell. deSaussure is a lawyer in Charles who lives at Yeamans Hall.

One of the founders of Yeamans Hall was architect James Gamble Rogers who designed the clubhouse, the quadrangle of guest cottages, the golf house, gatehouse and staff lodging. Rogers was one of the most talented architects of his day and as the book describes, “What Olmsted brought to the property, Rogers brought to the buildings.” The book pays a massive tribute to Rogers and his vision of what Yeamans Hall could be.

The book includes a copy of the original land plan as laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. in 1924. The plan originally contemplated two golf courses and 255 home sites for the 1,000 acre former plantation site. The Great Depression put a halt to the development and afterwards the 35 proprietors decided to leave the number of houses to those already built, which is where it stands today. The original 35 cottages were built between 1927 and 1938.

The bulk of the book is devoted to a detailed look at the 35 private cottages, although the author weaves in history, anecdotes and interesting stories throughout. The history also recounts visits by many famous golfers over the years including Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw and Bob Hope.

Webster’s dictionary defines a cottage as “A dwelling of a small farmer” or “small, one-family house”. The Yeamans Hall definition of a cottage, while not quite on the scale of the “cottages” in Newport, Rhode Island, are none-the-less, quite elaborate. Interspersed throughout the book are also vintage photos, facts of interest and newspaper or magazine articles about Yeamans Hall. An especially interesting one shows Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, USN and friends walking at Yeamans Hall in 1942. The first cottage was designed by Charleston architect Albert Simons and almost half of all the cottages were built by either Simons, his partner Samuel Lapham or by Rogers. The cottages at Yeamans Hall all have names. The “Colt” cottage was built for the designer of the Colt .45 pistol. deSaussure has done extensive research in compiling this delightful history and gives an interesting account of the families of each of the original cottage owners. The “Lamont” cottage was built by one of J.P. Morgan’s partners. All 35 cottages are pictured in the book.

Yeamans Hall has a timeless quality to it. Like the city of Charleston, it has a gentility and quaintness about it that are unique.

One of the finest experiences a golfer can have in my view is driving down the long entry drive through the moss-draped live oaks and rolling topography after you pass the front guard gate at Yeamans Hall. The legendary sports writer Grantland Rice summed up Yeamans Hall in an article published in 1927 and it is still the perfect description of the place today: “The Golf Course Most Marvelous in the U.S. “

The course designer, Seth Raynor wrote “The encircling trees give a warmth to the course in the wintertime, which is very delightful. This, combined with the invigorating climate and all the other fine features this spot contains, is bound to make one fall in love with golf at Yeamans Hall.”

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From Tee to Cup by Reg Manning

May 1, 2012

How many Pulitzer Prize winners have covered the subject of golf? As far as our research can uncover, three: John Updike, John Cheever and Reginald Manning. The two Johns are well-known fiction writers, but who exactly is Reg Manning? Manning won the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. Known as the “Cactus Cartoonist” because he spent his life working in Arizona, he drew more than 15,000 cartoons for the Arizona Republic and his work was syndicated in 170 newspapers. Manning’s signature includes a drawing with his trademark of a smiling cactus and can be seen on the bottom right of the book jacket below.

From Tee to Cup (Donovan & Jerris M9220) was Manning’s only book related to golf and it is a unique book. Published by Reganson Cartoon Books in Phoenix, Arizona in 1954, the book is 111 pages. Murdoch’s The Library of Golf 1743-1966 gives the book a nice mention. Its uniqueness comes from the fact that the book was intentionally printed with a hole in it. The hole is meant to represent an actual golf hole and Manning drew his illustrations with this in mind.

An example of how Manning uses the hole in the book to build his illustrations around is below:

Manning was an avid golfer and like all of us had his ups and downs with the game. As he writes in the book, “This book about golf is not written in a spirit of revenge. I would never do or say anything to detract from the game. But golf is tough.”

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Charlie Sifford Autobiography

April 10, 2012

Until 1961 the PGA of America Constitution had a “Caucasians Only” clause. Considered the “Jackie Robinson of golf” Charlie Sifford began his golfing exploits as a caddie and by age 13 could shoot par. With the help of the California Attorney General Sifford broke down the Caucasian clause. He was the first black man to play on the PGA Tour and the first to get a full PGA membership.

Sifford recounts a discussion he had with Robinson, “He asked me if I was a quitter,” Sifford recalled. “He said, ‘OK, if you’re not a quitter, go ahead and take the challenge. If you’re a quitter, there’s going to be a lot of obstacles you’re going to have to go through to be successful in what you’re trying to do.’ “I made up my mind I was going to do it. I just did it. Everything worked out perfect, I think.”

Sifford’s autobiography, Just Let Me Play, was published in 1992 by British American Publishing (D&J S18910). As the late Arthur Ashe notes in the book’s foreward Sifford’s struggle was harder in many respect that Jackie Robinson’s, “Robinson had the powerful presence of Brooklyn Dodgers’ president Branch Rickey behind him. Sifford more likely than not suffered in silence.” Ashe also takes a shot at sports writers who have described Sifford as “surly”, “mean” and “aloof”. “They either didn’t do their homework or were just insensitive to Sifford’s real life circumstances.”

Appropriately, the cover of Just Let Me Play features Charlie with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. A habit he took up at the age of twelve!

The cover of the first edition, first printing shows Charlie wearing canary yellow pants and a pale blue sweater with the cigar dangling lightly out of this mouth (above on the left). In the newer jackets there is no missing the prominent cigar in Charlie’s mouth (above in the center and on the right).

When Sifford played in a tournament in Los Angeles, a $100,000 prize and a new car awarded for a hole-in-one disappeared off a course banner just minutes before Charlie teed off and sunk the shot, starting a lawsuit he would eventually win. He was regularly berated on the course, called the “N” word, not allowed in locker rooms or clubhouses and treated like, at best, a second class citizen.

The Associated Press calls Sifford, “A man whose autobiography defined his career.” The book is controversial because Sifford raises some uncomfortable subjects and takes direct aim at certain people and clubs.

Sifford had five goals in golf — to become a PGA Tour member, win a PGA event, play in the U.S. Open, play in the Masters and get inducted into the Hall of Fame. His only regret is never getting into the Masters. He won the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and the 1969 Los Angeles Open but the Masters did not start inviting PGA Tour winners until a few years later. “One of the great disillusions of my life in golf is that the Masters has become a tournament so revered by golf fans and the media. As far as I’m concerned, it has long been the most racist and hateful spot on the golf globe”. When asked if he would attend the Masters as a special guest, at the tender age of 89, Sifford was quoted in the Los Angeles Times last year as saying, “’F Augusta”.

After reading many of the heartbreaking stories in his book I can understand his bitterness. The thing that struck me most was not that there was blatant racism in the 50s and 60s, but that right up until the book’s publication in 1992 Sifford suffered greatly and had limited support from the PGA.

In all, Sifford would compete in some 422 PGA tournaments, coming in second twice, registering five third-place finishes, and winning nearly $350,000 in prize money. On the senior circuit he was equally successful, winning the 1975 Senior’s Championship and collecting $930,000 in winnings. In 2004 Sifford became the first African-American inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. His autobiography is a worthy addition to the library of every serious collector and golfer.

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Best Selling Golf Books

March 23, 2012

Each quarter we update the list of the top 10 best selling golf books as sold on Amazon. Click on the either the text of the image of the book to buy through Amazon.

No surprise that the new Tiger book ranks #1. Several titles are on the list based on their Kindle sales. And this is the first time a book yet to be released is on the list: #9 – The Unstoppable Golfer by Dr. Bob Rotella.

As of March 2012:

1. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods by Hank Haney, published in 2012

2. Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan, published in 1985.

3. Solid Contact: A Top Instructor’s Guide to Learning Your Swing DNA and Instantly Striking the Ball Better Than Ever by Jim Hardy, published 2012.

4. How Short Hitting, Bad Golfers Break 90 All the Time by Fred Fields, published in 2010.

5. Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game by Dr. Joseph Parent, published in 2002.

6. Hit Down Dammit! (The Key to Golf) by Clive Scarff, published in 2011.

7. FINALLY: The Golf Swing’s Simple Secret: A revolutionary method proved for the weekend golfer to significantly improve distance and accuracy from day one by J. F. Tamayo, J Jaeckel, published in 2010.

8. Moe & Me: Encounters with Moe Norman, Golf’s Mysterious Genius by Lorne Rubenstein, published in 2012.

9. The Unstoppable Golfer: Trusting Your Mind & Your Short Game to Achieve Greatness by Dr. Bob Rotella, published April 2012.

10. Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible: Master the Finesse Swing and Lower Your Score (Dave Pelz Scoring Game) by Dave Pelz, published in 1999.

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Masters Golf Books

March 1, 2012

There have been many books written about Augusta National and the Masters and it can be a tough subject to sort out. The publication of a new book featuring Herbert Warren Wind’s writing about the course gave us the inspiration needed to tackle this big subject.

The Best of the Best

1. The Making of the Masters by David Owen provides extended insight into this lesser known golf god, Augusta co-founder Clifford Roberts. Owen was granted access to the archives of Augusta National, which is rare, and thus the book has an unusually detailed look behind the scenes. Filled with tons of little known facts about the course and its original plans done in a great writing style. (1999)

The best overall book on Augusta

2. A Golf Story: Bobby Jones, Augusta National, and the Masters Tournament by Charles Price (1986). Jones took Price into his confidence and befriended him for many years. He also had access to the Augusta archives, so it is a very good historical look at both Bobby, the club and the tournament. Some fascinating tid-bids to discover, for example Jones landed in France on D-Day plus one when he was in the military. A worthy book, but more than a few extended diversions away from Augusta, and some of Price’s analogies are a bit dated. Also published in a deluxe edition. (1986)

A good insider’s look at Bobby Jones and the club

3. The Story of Augusta National was written by co-founder Clifford Roberts. The three-part story of Augusta: The course and its designers; The Masters; The men who have played the course and who have made it so memorable. (1976)

A nice gift book

4. Augusta National & The Masters A Photographers Scrapbook by Frank Christian with Cal Brown. High quality book chronicles the story of father and son who were both official photographers of Augusta. Very well done with some seldom seen pictures and lesser known but fabulous stories. The limited edition of 500 presents well and would make an especially nice gift. (1996)

Would make a nice gift book

5. America’s Gift to Golf: Herbert Warren Wind on The Masters. In our view Wind is the best writer that golf literature has ever seen. Wind coined the term “Amen Corner” and this is only the beginning of his genius. The only question is why did the world have to wait until 2011 to have all his writings on Augusta published in one place? Brilliant. (2011) A fabulous storyteller who never gets dated

Masters Rarities

The Masters Tournament was published in 1952 with a foreward written by Bobby Jones and Cliff Roberts. The book was produced by Augusta National and includes a map of the course and a plan for crowd control. The book was issued in appreciation to those who have actively contributed to the success of the Masters Tournament. Rarely comes up for sale

Suggestions On How To See the Masters Tournament was first produced in 1949 and is an 11 page softcover. Very difficult to find

The Rest of the Masters Books

Listed in date of publication order. Rating indicted with an asterick, three astericks represent the best books.

The Masters: The Story of Golf’s Greatest Tournament by Tom Flaherty (1961)
The Masters: the winning of a golf classic by Dick Schaap (1970). Dated.
The Masters: All About its History, Its Records, Its Players, Its Remarkable Course and Even More Remarkable Tournament by Dawson Taylor (1973). Leather bound.

Augusta Revisited: An Intimate View by Furman Bisher (1976). Bisher was a sports columnist & editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 50 years and covered the Masters for a long time. Good solid history, depth and breadth of period and historical pictures. Detailed chapters on Snead, Palmer, Hogan, Sarazen, Nelson, Demaret, Goalby and Nicklaus.
The Masters: an illustrated history by Dawson Taylor (1981)
The Masters: Golf’s Most Prestigious Tradition by Dawson Taylor. A year-by-year description of each tournament. (1986)
The Masters: Golf, Money, and Power in Augusta, Georgia by Curt Sampson. The book jumps around a lot and isn’t the most balanced view of the club. (1988)

Augusta from the Air by Robert Green. Softcover, 20 pages. (1995). Hello.
Augusta: Home of the Masters Tournament by Steve Eubanks. Not as perceptive or deep as other Augusta books. A me-too effort. (1997)
Shouting at Amen Corner: Dispatches from the World’s Greatest Golf Tournament by Ron Green, Sr. A collection of articles by a Charlotte-based sports reporter who covered the Masters for 45 years. (1999)
One Week in April: The Masters: Stories and Insights from Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson, Rick Reilly, Ken Venturi, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, and Many More About the Quest for the Famed Green Jacket by Brad Faxon and Don Wade. An anthology of stories about Augusta. (1999)

I Remember Augusta: A Stroll Down Memory and Magnolia Lane of
America’s Most Fascinating Golf Club by Mike Towle. Quotes about Augusta and the Masters. Some interesting, some not. (2000)

The Masters: A Hole-by-Hole History of America’s Golf Classic by David Sowell. A study of the holes of interest to architecture aficionados. (2003)

The Augusta National Golf Club: Alister MacKenzie’s Masterpiece by Stan Byrdy. For the golf course architecture fan. Chronicles the changes to the course over time on a hole-by-hole basis. (2005)
Golf Heaven: Insiders Remember Their First Trip to Augusta National Golf Club by John Andrisani. Somewhat interesting, parts a bit dry and formulaic. (2007)
The Masters: 101 Reasons to Love Golf’s Greatest Tournament by Ron Green, Sr. (2008) Light, breezy and a quick read. Entertaining and often funny and a lot of anecdotes about players.
Freddie & Me: Life Lessons from Freddie Bennett, Augusta National’s Legendary Caddie Master by Tripp Bowden. A former Augusta National caddie life lessons he learned from the late Freddie Bennett, the fabled club’s legendary caddie master. More of a tale about two unlikely friends. Rarely do you see a new book on Amazon with all 5 star ratings, but this book achieves it, although I thought it a bit clichéd and the use of slang becomes overbearing. (2009)
Augusta National Golf Club Photo Gallery of 8×10 Images: Exclusive Sports Photography from Famed Photographer by Phil Reich. (2010)
The 1986 Masters: How Jack Nicklaus Roared Back to Win by John Boyette (2011). Self-explanatory and a good book that tells one of the most compelling golf stories of our era. The better of the two (see below).
One for the Ages: Jack Nicklaus and the 1986 Masters by Tom Clavin (2011).

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