Golf is by its very nature an obsessive game. Once bitten by the golf bug, there is usually no limit to what a golfer will do to get out and play. Golfers are also by their nature collectors. Who among us can’t claim even a modest collection of score cards from courses we have played or ball markers or balls? A natural extension of this is collecting golf books. For the golfer in winter climates, a golfing library has the added attraction of holding you over until the weather again permits you to be out playing again.
To quote from Arnold Haultain in his The Mystery of Golf written in 1908: “Three things there are as unfathomable as they are fascinating to the masculine mind: metaphysics; golf; and the feminine heart. The Germans, I believe pretend to have solved some of the riddles of the first, and the French to have unraveled some of the intricacies of the last; will some one tell us wherein lies the extraordinary fascination of golf?”
To give an indication of the delights of reading and collecting golf books, we only have to quote from the legendary Bobby Jones who wrote in his 1927 book Down the Fairway in a section where he is discussing how he prepares for tournament golf. “I have a good dinner in the evening in my room, prefaced by two good, stiff highballs, the first taken in a tub of hot water; the finest relaxing combination I know; and then a few cigarettes and a bit of conversation, and bed at 9 o’clock.” Almost makes you want to draw a bath!
Listed below are some of the highlights of golfing literature. We provide these lists as a service to our clients. Please check our inventory as we carry some of these titles as well.
Rare and Valuable Golf Books
Rare and valuable golf related titles sell for large sums of money. Below is a representative list of some of the more expensive titles to sell either at auction or for sale privately in the last 15 years.
- Glotta : A Poem. 1721. Scottish book of poetry that mentions golf. $50,000
- Harold Hilton. 1912. The Royal and Ancient Game. From the limited edition of 100 for subscribers, $23,000.
- George Cunnell. 1824. Rules of the Thistle Golf Club. Out of an edition of 100 limited. $23,000.
- Dr. Stone, A member. 1891. Duffers Golf Club Papers. $18,400.
- George Fullerton Carnegie. 1842. Golfiana or Niceties connected with the Game of Golf. $18,000. The first edition of this title was published in 1833 and is ever rarer.
Rev A. Lawson. 1889.
- Letter on Golf by A Parish Minister. $18,000.
- Robert Clark. 1885. Golf: A Royal and Ancient Game. Signed, large paper edition of 50. $15,000.
- Bobby Jones. 1927. Down the Fairway. Limited Edition of 300. Signed. $8,500.
- James Balfour. Reminiscences of Golf on St. Andrews Links. 1887. Referenced by Murdoch as “one of the rarest of golf items”, $6,900.
- Agatha Christie. 1st edition, 1923. Murder on the Links. $6,000 with the dust jacket.
- John Kerr. 1896. Golf Book of East Lothian. Large paper, signed, limited edition of 250. $3,000.
For Show – Golf Books With Great Covers
- The Golf Course Mystery. Chester K. Steele. 1919.
- Muirfield and the Honourable Company. George Pottinger. 1972.
- Taylor on Golf. J.H. Taylor. 1902.
- Travers Golf Book. Jerome Travers. 1913.
- Out of the Rough. Joseph Shaw. 1934.
- Golf for Women. Genevieve Hecker. 1904
- The Clicking of Cuthbert. P.G. Wodehouse. 1922
- On Many Greens: A Book of Golf and Golfers. Miles Bantock. 1901
Fun to Read
- Tom Doak. The Confidential Golf Guide to Golf. 1996
- P.G. Wodehouse. Wodehouse on Golf. 1940.
- Walter Hagen. The Walter Hagen Story. 1956
- Robert Marshall. The Enchanted Golf Clubs. 1920
- Anthony Edgeworth. Legendary Golf Courses of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland and Legendary Golf Clubs of the American East.
The Big Hitting Authors
- Bernard Darwin
- Harold Hilton
- Bobby Jones
- Horace Hutchinson
- J.H. Taylor
- Harry Vardon
- Herbert Warren Wind
- Henry Longhurst
Cornerstones Of Any Golf Collection
- George Thomas. Golf Architecture in America
- Robert Hunter. The Links
- Walter Travis. Practical Golf
- Charles Blair Macdonald. Scotland’s Gift
- Herbert Warren Wind. The Story of American Golf
- Willie Park. The Art of Putting
- James Lee. Golf in America
- Francis Ouimet. A Game of Golf
- Bernard Darwin. Golf Courses of the British Isles.
- W.W. Tulloch. The Life of Tom Morris
- H.S.C. Everard. A History of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club
- Bobby Jones. Down the Fairway
- Horace Hutchinson. Golf: The Badminton Library Large Paper Edition
Golf Club Histories
Below are some of the more collectible and hard to find course histories. Notice the correlation between the difficulty of getting to play the course and the value of books about them.
- Crail Golfing Society. James Gordon Dow. 1936. Crail is the 7th oldest golf course in the world, south of St. Andrews.
- The Story of Golf at the Country Club. de St. Jorre. 2009
- The Story of Seminole. Dodson. 2007
- Rules for the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers 1891-1914.
- Crump’s Dream: The Making of Pine Valley 1913-1936. Mutch. 2013.
- Pine Valley Golf Club : A Unique Haven of the Game. Finegan. 2000.
- Prestwick Golf Club. A History and Some Records. James Shaw. 1938.
- Royal & Ancient Golf Club St. Andrews. Three volume set by John Behrend.
Club Histories For the Top Courses in the World
Click to view a list of golf books from the top courses in the world
Resources for the Collector
- The Game of Golf and the Printed Word 1566-2005 (2 volumes). Donovan & Jerris. 2006
- ABC for Book Collectors. Carter. Any edition.
Augusta National and Masters Golf Books
Influential Golf Books
What golf books have influenced people associated with golf the most? What books separate themselves from the more than 15,000 books that have been published on the subject for the last 200 years? Which books are more meaningful, provide more insight and are most prized?
We have set out to provide some insight into this challenging question by looking at what the leaders in the field have to say on the subject. Not only have we culled through older golf books searching for clues, but we have asked (and continue to ask) thought leaders in the industry and golf world for their inspirations and noteworthy thoughts.
Click here for the full list: The Most Influential Golf Books
Looking for ideas on a golf book gift, see our full recommended list here.