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Recommended golf books: Your summer reading list

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- This isn't an Oprah episode, so put down the tissues. This is a summer reading list built around Joe Six Putt and his insatiable desire for all things golf. If the living is truly easy in the summer time, then there should be plenty of time for golf, reading, and reading about golf.

Rick Reilly's Who's Your Caddy
Rick Reilly's Who's Your Caddy

If you're anything like me and spend lots of time either a) on an airplane, b) waiting for an airplane, or c) waiting on an airplane, you know a good golf book beats the heck out of reading the Skymall catalog or about the fuselage configuration of a 727.

If you haven't read it yet (where have you been?), pick up a copy of Sport Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly's Who's Your Caddy?. The chapters on John Daly and Donald Trump alone are worth the list price, which by the way, is significantly lower now that the book is available in paperback.

If Reilly's humor doesn't split enough sides, pick up a copy of Somewhere in Ireland a Village is Missing an Idiot. Somewhere is the sophomore effort from CBS on-course personality and commentator David Feherty, whose column also graces the back of GOLF Magazine. Feherty provides an always irreverent and surprisingly insightful look inside the ropes of the PGA Tour. The book's organization is loose, with chapters that dart all over the golf map. But the randomness is what makes Feherty, Feherty.

Unless you are one of those types who hang out at golfclubatlas.com all day, you're probably not going to sit down and read an entire book on golf course architecture. Fortunately for us laymen, Arthur Hills and Michael Patrick Shiels don't dwell on the dynamics of drainage in The Works of Art - a wonderfully illustrated history of the work of Toledo, Ohio based architect Arthur Hills. The book is essentially an expanded portfolio of Hills work, filled with individual course histories and occasional insights from Hill on his design philosophy.

These summer reading lists are typically skewed towards new books. So here's a good dose of old school -- pick up some Dan Jenkins. The feisty Ft. Worth (Texas) based curmudgeon is perhaps the best college football writer of our time (or any time) and his golf stylings aren't far behind. Jenkins also dabbles in fiction, and does so quite deftly. For starters, pick up a copy of Dead Solid Perfect and supplement it with compendium of his sportswriting in You Call It Sports, But I Say It's A Jungle Out There.

Of regional interest: Carolina golf nuts are missing out if they haven't picked up a copy of TravelGolf.com contributor Joel Zuckerman's Golf in the Lowcountry. No swath of swamp in the country packs in the courses, characters and yarns of this black river region spanning from Savannah, Ga., to Hilton Head Island, S.C. Zuckerman's vignettes are must reads for anyone who's walked up the 18th fairway at Harbour Town or gazed out on the Atlantic Ocean from the 10th green on the Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes and felt the inescapable tug of the Lowcountry's power.

With the U.S. Open returning to Pinehurst in 2005, it's never too early to bone up. Tales from Pinehurst: Stories from the Mecca of American Golf, by Robert Hartman is a good choice to get the juices flowing. Hartman is a Michigan native, but he does a solid job of picking up on the overall golf vibe of an area steeped in golf history, architecture and inspirational characters. Take your research a step further with local author Lee Pace's Spirit of Pinehurst. Pace has been joined at the hip with Pinehurst throughout his golf writing days and few scribes are as qualified to delve into the Resort's history and spirit.

If you're the type that knocks down a few reads a week, by all means pick up Caddy for Life: The Bruce Edwards Story, by the prolific John Feinstein; Bud Sweat and Tees: A Walk on the Wildside of the PGA Tour, by Alan Shipnuck of SI; and Golf's Finest Hour: The Open at Bethpage Black, by Philip Young.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.

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