We love golf books at Monarchs House. We especially love golf books set in Scotland.
If you have been to the house, you know that our drawing room book collection attests to this. As a result, we are often asked for our suggestions on starting a library related to golf here in Scotland. We waited long enough. Here are our suggestions.
If you wanted to start a library of golf books that would remind you of your trip to Scotland, you should start with the classics:
Scotland’s Gift: Golf by Charles B. MacDonald – MacDonald left America to visit his grandfather in Scotland at age 16 and thought the game of golf “stupid & silly.” Then his grandfather brought young Charles to St Andrews and changed everything. Scotland’s Gift is an epoch piece by America’s first professional and one of its greatest course architects.
James Braid by Bernard Darwin – Darwin, England’s best golf writer, tells the story of James Braid, part of the triumvirate with Harry Vardon and J.H. Taylor, who elevated the game of golf from Scottish curiosity to the nation’s most popular sporting endeavor. You can see Braid’s architectural work in the layout of the championship course at Carnoustie.
The Spirit of St Andrews by Dr. Alister MacKenzie (our personal favourite) – If you ever wondered about the psychology of course design, this book is for you. Dr. Mac, architect of Augusta, Crystal Downs, Cypress Point and others, was also a consulting architect for the Old Course. MacKenzie writes about the Old Course, what makes a great hole, the golf swing and the rules. His musings are as relevant today as when he shared them back in the 30s.
We would also include these contemporary gems:
Golf in the Kingdom by Michael Murphy – This is usually the first book a visitor to St Andrews reads if they want to embrace the “spirituality” of golf in the Kingdom of Fife. Slide into the pew and meet Shivas Irons, the mystical and charismatic golf professional of Burningbush Golf Club. After reading Golf in the Kingdom, you will be convinced that golf possesses deeper mysteries beyond that of a mere pastime.
To the Linksland, a Golfing Adventure by Michael Bamberger – While Murphy found golfing nirvana on the east coast, Bamberger found it on Scotland’s southwest coast at Machrihanish. One will be mesmerized by Bamberger’s search for the perfect swing and all it entails.
Two Years in St Andrews: At Home on the 18th Hole by George Peper – Monarchs House exists because 8 friends wanted a home at the home of golf as did George Peper. The difference is he wrote about it with poignancy, humour and warmth.
If you like coffee table books we have 3 suggestions for you:
Where Golf Is Great: The Finest Courses of Scotland and Ireland by James W. Finnegan – This is a wonderful book that works like an elegant guided tour of the glorious links of Scotland and Ireland.
Scottish Golf Links: A Photographer’s Journey by Ian MacFarlane Lowe – This is an exhilarating pictorial of 50+ Scottish courses by St Andrews own, the inestimable Mr MacFarlane Lowe. Another St Andrean, David Joy, provides the historical observations and notes. Brilliant photography!
The last book is something rather special and very exclusive:
18 Greatest Scottish Golf Holes by Gene Brooks, Craig Morrison and Andrew Ross – This strictly limited edition (3000 copies) book is a bespoke offering that makes you feel like you are lost in the memory of Scotland’s greatest holes. It is beautifully printed and bound befitting the glorious John Kernick photography and illustrations by Siobhan Royer-Hardy. The book’s treatment of the Old Course’s Road Hole further renders the layout indelible in your mind’s eye. You will imagine the route you took and better still, the ideal path to par.
Monarchs House is pleased to be selected as a retailer of 18 Greatest Scottish Golf Holes. This is an incredibly beautiful remembrance of one’s trip to Scotland. It is equally perfect for anyone who dreams of a golf trip to Scotland. You can find it on our coffee table at Monarchs but should you want more information about purchasing this treasure, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to put this lovely book in your hands.