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Links Around the World: Further Reading

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Below are the selections of books and audiobooks listed in the “Further Reading” section of “Links Around the World: Golf in its Natural State.” These selections have inspired the book and often served as source material.

Whether you’re a student of golf history, planning a golf trip, or want to further your knowledge, these books offer something for every golf enthusiast. The list includes beautiful coffee table books, travelogues, classics of golf literature, and audiobooks to expand your knowledge on the go.

Visit “Legendary Links” for the original posts that became chapters in the book.

the open book

The 150th Open
by Iain Carter

Summary: The 150th Open is the official book celebrating the sesquicentennial (seriously, that’s a thing) of golf’s oldest major championship, produced in partnership with The R&A and capturing the history and stories that make The Open unique.  From its 1860 origins in Prestwick to today’s iconic venues, the book chronicles The Open through archival images and interviews with past champions, reflecting on characters, courses, and moments that have defined this revered event over 150 years. The comprehensive narrative and visual history in The 150th Open commemorates The Open Championship’s illustrious past and enduring prestige as golf’s most beloved tournament.

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Some Essays on Golf Course Architecture
by H.S. Colt and C.H. Alison

Summary: Some Essays on Golf-Course Architecture features selected writings from prominent architects of the early 20th century, H.S. Colt, C.H. Alison, and Dr. Alister MacKenzie. Written in 1920 during the height of their careers, this collaborative guide provides rare insight into the methods and philosophies they used to design and construct the world’s most renowned golf courses.

Inside this classic of golf literature, the authors detail how they approach each element of golf course design, from placing hazards to utilizing a site’s natural beauty. Along with their first-hand narrative, all of the original photos and sketches have been included, ensuring that every element of the first edition has been carefully preserved. 

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Duel in the Sun
by Michael Corcoran 

Summary: The 1977 British Open at Turnberry was an epic showdown between golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, with Watson prevailing by one stroke after they battled over the final 36 holes; Michael Corcoran brings this dramatic moment in golf history to life through interviews with participants and evocative details about the Open’s rich tradition and origins; Duel in the Sun recounts Watson rising to defeat Nicklaus and claim his spot at the pinnacle of golf.

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A Course Called Ireland
by Tom Coyne

Summary: By turns hilarious and poetic, A Course Called Ireland is a magnificent tour of a vibrant land and paean to the world’s greatest game in the tradition of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods

In his 30s, married, and staring down impending fatherhood, Tom Coyne was familiar with the last refuge of the adult male: the golfing trip. Intent on designing a golf trip to end all others, Coyne looked to Ireland, the place where his father had taught him to love the game years before. As he studied a map of the island and plotted his itinerary, it dawned on Coyne that Ireland was ringed with golf holes. The country began to look like one giant round of golf, so Coyne packed up his clubs and set off to play all of it-on foot.

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A Course Called Scotland
by Tom Coyne

Summary: For much of his adult life, best-selling author Tom Coyne has been chasing a golf ball around the globe. When he was in college, studying abroad in London, he entered the lottery for a prized tee time in Scotland, grabbing his clubs and jumping the train to St. Andrews as his friends partied in Amsterdam; later, he golfed the entirety of Ireland’s coastline, chased pros through the mini-tours, and attended grueling Qualifying Schools in Australia, Canada, and Latin America. Yet, as he watched the greats compete, he felt something was missing. Then one day a friend suggested he attempt to play every links course in Scotland, and qualify for the greatest championship in golf. 

The result is A Course Called Scotland, a hilarious golf and travel adventure throughout the birthplace of the sport and home to some of the oldest and most beloved courses in the world, including St. Andrews, Turnberry, Dornoch, Prestwick, Troon, and Carnoustie.

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18 Holes With Bing
by Nathaniel Crosby

Summary: In this memoir, professional golfer Nathaniel Crosby shares memories of playing golf with his father, beloved entertainer Bing Crosby, and the life lessons Bing taught him about golf and life through their time together on the course. The book provides an intimate look at Bing’s passion for golf, his friendships with celebrities, and his special bond with Nathaniel fostered through their mutual love of the game. Written as a heartfelt tribute, the book illuminates Bing Crosby’s life as a golfer and father.

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Golf Courses of the British Isles
by Bernard Darwin

Summary: “Golf Courses of the British Isles” by Bernard Darwin is a classic text that explores and celebrates the unique beauty and challenges of golf courses throughout the British Isles. Darwin, a revered golf writer and grandson of Charles Darwin, provides insightful commentary on the architecture, history, and character of iconic courses, blending personal anecdotes with expert analysis. His vivid descriptions transport readers to the very greens and fairways of famous venues, highlighting their natural beauty and the intricacies of their design. The book, illustrated with evocative drawings by Harry Rountree, remains a timeless tribute to the game of golf and is considered a must-read for enthusiasts of the sport and its storied landscapes.

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Anatomy of a Golf Course
by Tom Doak

Summary: The book explains the thought process and strategies used by golf course architects in designing courses, including factors like hole length, placement of hazards, and routing. It aims to help golfers understand why certain design choices are made so they can better approach playing the course. Written by acclaimed golf architect Tom Doak, it appeals to both knowledgeable golfers and beginners interested in course design and architecture. The book also includes an appendix with examples of noteworthy golf courses that are worth studying.


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The Making of Pacific Dunes
by Tom Doak

Summary: Tom Doak, the architect of Pacific Dunes, recounts the history of the course, how he and his team routed it and the decisions they made doing so, and other details about the course. The book is full of color pictures of Pacific Dunes, a course ranked in the top 25 in the world located in Bandon, Oregon. If you have played Pacific Dunes – this book will enhance your memories of it. If you are going to play Pacific Dunes, you need this book to heighten your awareness and insight of how to play it. The first half of the book looks at the big picture design issues: the decisions on routing, construction, challenges, and so forth, and the second half of the book dedicates 5-6 pages to each hole (with a copious amount of color photographs) and specifically focuses on their design and construction.


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The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever
by Mark Frost

Summary: Dive into the drama of a 1956 showdown between golf’s greats, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, and top amateurs Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi. This enthralling audiobook delves into the backgrounds, characters, and the high-stakes bet that made this match a pivotal moment in golf history. One of my personal favorites; I read this one when it first came out and am now on my second listen of the audiobook.

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Ancestral Links
by John Garrity

Summary: One man’s quest to uncover the roots of his family’s obsession with golf – a journey that takes him to his ancestral home in Ireland, to Scotland, and to the American heartland. 

John Garrity is well known in the golf world for his writing for Sports Illustrated, Golf Magazine, and on Golf.com. In this book, Garrity travels to the remote corner of Ireland from which his great-grandfather left for America, now home to a majestic golf course. There he discovers why local farmers spent seven years carving the course out of unforgiving terrain, using only rakes and spades for their work. From there, he visits Musselburgh, Scotland, where his maternal ancestors played golf before the first 13 rules of the game were written there in 1774, and to Wisconsin’s St. Croix River Valley, where his father learned the Ancient Game. 

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The Links
by Robert Hunter

Summary: A masterpiece of architectural literature, The Links is the first book that fully addresses the complexities of the golf course in terms of design, construction, and definition of the game. Written in 1926, Robert Hunter conceptualized The Links as a complete study, a manual for golf course architects and design enthusiasts, specifically written to advance the field of study in a way that had never been tried before.

Although Hunter was not a golf course architect by trade, or even a golfing professional, his background as a dedicated socialist reformer led to his unique understanding of the relationship between golf and its greater contribution to society. The challenges posed by golf, as well as the beauty produced by the singular nature of the world’s most famous links, led Hunter to conclude that diversity is what makes golf the cherished game that it is. In The Links, he postulates, “It is not the love of something easy which has drawn men like a magnet for hundreds of years to this royal and ancient pastime; on the contrary, it is the maddening difficulty of it.”


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The Nature of the Game
by Mike Keiser

Summary: The Nature of the Game chronicles how businessman and avid golfer Mike Keiser discovered his passion for authentic links golf in Scotland and Ireland and embarked on a mission to bring that pure golf experience to America through Bandon Dunes.  Keiser details his philosophy of “dream golf” – walking-only courses routed naturally through windswept landscapes that embrace the origins of the game.  The book provides an inside look at how Keiser partnered with architects like Tom Doak to make the dream golf vision a reality at Bandon and other sites, pioneering a back-to-basics movement in course design.  At its core, The Nature of the Game shares one man’s journey to recapture golf’s essence by creating minimalist, natural links-style courses focused on fun and camaraderie.

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Discovering Donald Ross: The Architect and His Golf Courses
by Bradley S. Klein

Summary: Bradley Klein’s acclaimed 2001 book offers a comprehensive look at the life and work of golf course architect Donald Ross, widely considered one of the games’ most influential figures.Expanded in a new 2011 edition, it chronicles Ross’s journey from apprentice in Scotland to designing over 400 courses across America, including iconic layouts like Pinehurst No. 2. The book reveals Ross’s subtle brilliance in routing, strategic design and variation amidst simplicity, cementing his place alongside history’s greatest course architects through unprecedented research and insights from Klein’s architectural expertise. A definitive portrait of Ross as both craftsman and artist, the work collects rare archival images and hand-drawn plans depicting his timeless, beloved creations.

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Rough Meditations
by Bradley S. Klein

Summary: Rough Meditations is a unique collection of fascinating essays that bring the world’s greatest golf courses to life with brilliantly colorful prose. These charming and often hilarious essays take golf enthusiasts on an intimate tour of the game’s most distinguished courses. Along the way, readers gain a privileged look at the differences between good and bad golf course design.

Long considered one of golf’s most talented writers, Bradley Klein offers more than fifty essays, ranging from instructive to inspirational, that cover the architecture of courses, how to read greens, the ins and outs of green committees, the relationships that grow from the game, and much more. With a style all his own, Klein takes readers to where he was for years as a caddie on the PGA and LPGA tours–onto the grass and into the game.


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Wide Open Fairways
by Bradley S. Klein

Summary: In golf the playing field is also landscape, where nature and the shaping of it conspire to test athletic prowess. As golf courses move away from the “big business, pristine lawn” approach of recent times, Bradley S. Klein, a leading expert on golf course design and economics, finds much to contemplate, and much to report, in the way these wide-open spaces function as landscapes that inspire us, stimulate our senses, and reveal the special nature of particular places.

A meditation on what makes golf courses compelling landscapes, this is also a personal memoir that follows Klein’s own unique journey across the golfing terrain, from the Bronx and Long Island suburbia to the American prairie and the Pacific Northwest. Whether discussing Robert Moses and Donald Trump and the making of New York City, or the role of golf in the development of the atomic bomb, or the relevance of Willa Cather to how the game has taken hold in the Nebraska Sandhills, Klein is always looking for the freedom and the meaning of golf’s wide-open spaces.

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Scotland’s Gift, Golf
by Charles Blair MacDonald

Summary: Scotland’s Gift, Golf is a masterpiece of early golf literature, written by the Father of American Golf Course Architecture, C.B. Macdonald. Considered by historians to be the most important book ever written on early American golf, this book details the birth of golf in the United States in the late nineteenth century and the formation of the U.S.G.A. in 1894.

In addition to a detailed summary of the characteristics of an ideal golf course, this guide provides rare insight into the methods and philosophies that Macdonald used to design some of the world’s most renowned courses, including the National Golf Links of America, Mid-Ocean Club, Lido, and Yale Golf Club. It also includes personal anecdotes and correspondence describing the development of the rules of golf, as well as the evolution of the modern golf ball and golf club.

Written in 1928, this book features 56 black-and-white photographs from the author’s personal collection, including rare photos of Bobby Jones, Young Tom Morris, and Francis Ouimet. Also included is an appendix which highlights the oldest surviving rules of golf from 1754, as well as the amended version from 1858.

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Golf Architecture
by Alister MacKenzie

Summary: If you were ever in doubt as to what strategic design really means, why it is superior to other philosophies of golf architecture, what makes St. Andrews Old Course “infinitely superior to anything else,” or why the great sin in golf architecture is any feature that looks unnatural, you will find your answers here. In reading Golf Architecture you will learn to judge the merits and demerits of any hole you play, knowledge that will add considerably to your enjoyment in playing old, familiar courses as well as new ones.
Alister MacKenzie was not the most prolific designer, or even close, but who can approach his achievement of having designed three courses that are consistently listed among the top ten golf courses in the world? Royal Melbourne in Australia, Cypress Point in California, and Augusta National in Georgia are among the brightest jewels in the golfing crown.


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The Spirit of St Andrews
by Alister McKenzie

Summary: Alister MacKenzie was one of golf’s greatest architects.  He designed his courses so players of all skill levels could enjoy the game while creating fantastic challenges for the most experienced players.  MacKenzie’s courses, such as Augusta National, Cypress Point, and Pasatiempo, remain in the top 100 today.  

In his “lost” 1933 manuscript, published for the first time in 1995 and now finally available in paperback, MacKenzie leads you through the evolution of golf–from St. Andrews to the modern-day golf course–and shares his insight on great golf holes the swing, technology and equipment, putting tips, the USGA, the Royal & Ancient, and more.  With fascinating stories about Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, and many others, The Spirit of St.  Andrews gives valuable lessons for all golfers and an intimate portrait of Alister MacKenzie, a true legend of the game.

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Hooked
by Kevin Markham

Summary: Now in its third edition, this concise, detailed book is for golfing tourists looking for great value courses, for golfing clubs that wish to go beyond their local area, and for Irish golfers searching for excellent but unsung courses in Ireland. Written from an amateur’s perspective, reviews focus on the energy and excitement of playing each course, giving a true representation of the golf experience, ranking each course, and providing contact information for booking.

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Summary: True Links by Malcolm Campbell and George Peper profiles over 240 of the world’s top links golf courses across the British Isles and beyond, examining their history, design features, and status as an authentic “true links.” Organized geographically, the book offers photos, maps, scorecards and playing tips for renowned seaside tests like Royal County Down, Ballybunion, Cabot Links, Barnbougle Dunes and others that meet the authors’ criteria.  For links golf aficionados, True Links serves as an illustrated guidebook for experiencing the unique joys and challenges of the game’s most revered coastal courses.

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The World’s 500 Greatest Golf Holes
by George Peper

Summary: More than six hundred lavish photographs complement anecdotal “biographies” and vital statistics of the holes deemed the best in the world by the magazine’s editors and their panel of international experts. Readers will find out if their favorite holes made the cut by first turning to The Eighteen, representing the most respected and challenging holes–holes like the thirteenth at Augusta National. Next, they discover which are considered the top one hundred (no surprise that the eleventh at St. Andrews Old Course and the fifth at Pinehurst are included here). Finally, there is an all-inclusive gazetteer of all five hundred.

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America’s Linksland: A Century of Long Island Golf
by William Quinn

Summary: Whenever golf “meccas” are discussed, you can be sure that Long Island, New York will not be mentioned. But it should be. And the reasons are clear in America’s Linksland: A Century of Long Island Golf, by William Quirin. In size, Long Island is small; it measures a mere 1,200 square miles. In terms of golf history, however, it’s huge. The first famous golf course in this country, The National Golf Links of America, is located there. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, the site for the first playing of the U.S. Open, is located there. The site for the 2002 U.S. Open, Bethpage State Park’s Black Course, is located there. And the history goes on an on. 

Carefully researched and beautifully written, America’s Linksland is a heart-felt tribute to one of golf’s most historic places. Vintage photos of golf in the early days, and spectacular color photography by L.C. Lambrecht of some of Long Island’s best courses, add even more to its appeal.

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Great Golf Courses of Ireland
by John Redmond

Summary: This book offers a celebration of golf in Ireland, profiling 30 top links and parkland courses across the country from renowned spots like Portmarnock and Portrush to newer destinations like Mount Juliet. It details the history, famous players, and legends behind each Irish course, bringing their stories to life through extensive illustrations and photos capturing the natural beauty surrounding these layouts. Originally published in 1992, updated editions have followed over the years featuring additional content on newly developed courses and the latest enhancements at Ireland’s most storied golfing grounds. Presented in 2006 to commemorate Ireland hosting that year’s Ryder Cup, a special edition focuses on the world-class courses built in the country over the previous decade.

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A Season in Dornoch
by Lorne Rubenstein

Summary: A Season in Dornoch is a memoir by Canadian golf writer Lorne Rubenstein chronicling the summer he spent immersed in golf and the local culture of Dornoch, Scotland in 1977.  Rubenstein went to Dornoch, home of the famed Royal Dornoch Golf Club, seeking to reconnect with golf and clear his mind, but found much more – an exploration of the region’s history, people, and way of life intertwined with the game.  Blending golf tales, local history, and profiles of Dornoch’s residents, A Season in Dornoch captures the author’s journey. It provides an ode to a remote Scottish village profoundly shaped by golf. Great weekend read for any lover of the links.

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Alister McKenzie’s Cypress Point Club
by Geoff Shackleford

Summary: Alister MacKenzie’s Cypress Point Club, by Geoff Shackelford, is a biography of both the creation and the creator of this legendary and elusive layout. Typical of Shackelford’s work, the book is richly detailed and painstakingly assembled. Remarkable vintage photographs and insightful text not only take you back to the 1920s, they take you through the mental and physical process that went into developing each and every hole — including the spectacular 16th, arguably the most famous hole in the world.

Throughout the world, few golf courses are as revered as California’s Cypress Point Club — not just for its breath-taking beauty but for its architectural significance. Located on the Monterey Peninsula along the white sands and steep cliffs that border the Pacific Ocean, the beauty of Cypress Point is the equal of its more famous neighbor Pebble Beach. Unlike Pebble, however, the history of Cypress Point has been relatively unknown. That is, until now.

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Classic Golf Links
by Donald Steel

Summary: Classic Golf Links of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland by Donald Steele is a guidebook featuring 75 spectacular links golf courses in the British Isles, covering their history, design, and challenges. The book includes scorecards, hole maps, photos, and playing tips for each course, providing key information for golf travelers while celebrating these revered seaside tests.  With writing by Donald Steel and photos by Brian Morgan, Classic Golf Links is considered an essential reference for experiencing the best of links golf.

This book is a must for anyone with an affinity for links golf. I bought this book years ago and still return to it often. The pictures are amazing and they alone will make you fall in love with these courses.

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Book of the Links
by Martin H.F. Sutton

Summary: The Book of the Links features selected writings from prominent golf figures of the early 20th century, including Martin H.F. Sutton, Bernard Darwin, and H.S. Colt. Written in 1912, this collaborative guide provides rare insight into the methods and philosophies that were used to design, construct, and maintain the world’s most renowned golf courses.

According to Sutton, “In producing this volume, it has been my aim to provide in the first instance a compendium of information, of a more complete character than has before been compressed into a single volume, on all the points upon which golf secretaries, green committees, and greenkeepers desire instruction.”


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Beyond the Fairway
by Jeff Wallach

Summary: “Beyond the Fairway” by Jeff Wallach offers a unique exploration of golf that transcends the traditional focus on scores and performance. Wallach presents golf as an avenue for self-discovery and adventure, inviting readers to consider the spiritual and mental aspects of the game. The book takes readers on a journey through some of the world’s most extraordinary and challenging golf courses, providing insights into the inner attitudes and Zen lessons that can be learned from the game.

I have read the first chapter of this book titled “Well Connected Golfing in Scotland,” at least a dozen times. Jeff visits Prestwick, enjoys a good meal, plays a few rounds, and makes me jealous.

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Sand and Golf
by George Waters

Summary: “Sand and Golf” explores how sandy terrain uniquely suits golf, studying similarities and differences between courses worldwide with sandy features. It examines all aspects of the relationship between sand and golf, from the sport’s origins in Scottish coastal dunes to its global spread onto sandy sites. Written by golf architect George Waters with a preface by renowned designer Tom Doak, it details through examples and illustrations why firm, rugged, windy sandy terrain makes creative shot-making integral to the game. The book appeals to knowledgeable golfers interested in course design and architecture, analyzing the art and science behind why golf belongs on sand.

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