From John Low to Tom Doak, Evalu18 sets out the best golf course architecture books you need to read. Some are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. Others – difficult to source and costly. Despite their differences, all of them are worth reading:
1903 – Concerning Golf by John Low
1920 – Some Essays on Golf-Course Architecture by Harry Colt & Hugh Alison
1920 – Golf Architecture by Dr Alister MacKenzie
1926 – The Links by Robert Hunter
1927 – Golf Architecture in America by George C Thomas
1929 – Architectural Side of Golf by Tom Simpson & HN Wethered
1933 – The Spirit of St. Andrews by Alister MacKenzie
1992 – The Anatomy of a Golf Course by Tom Doak
You will notice an early work and one modern day text. John Low didn’t write the first book on the subject of golf course architecture – that title goes to Willie Park Jr in 1896. Concerning Golf, however, was the first book published to champion strategic golf design. From 1920 through to 1933, the brightest lights were shining during one of golf’s most enlightened eras. On both sides of the Atlantic and in Australia, golf of the highest order was being constructed and written about.
These texts combined provide the student with everything one would want to know on the subject. However, for a student to round out their understanding of the matter, these design principles need to be seen applied in the wild. Exposure to the greatest golf in the world armed with the wisdom conveyed in these works provides the basis for a lifetime of study and contemplation. Making up the foundation of current best practice, they are the best golf course architecture books that have ever been written.