Top Golf Biographies and Autobiographies

Following is a list of recommended golf biographies and autobiographies. As one would expect, our list is heavy with books about some of the greatest golfers, but we've also included a few books by or about lesser-known golfers that we feel will be of interest.

(If you arrived on this page looking for short, concise biographical sketches of golf greats, check out our Profiles of Famous Golfers. If you want a book-length examination of a golfer's life, the bios below fit the bill.)

Ben Hogan remains a fascinating figure, as much for his golf as for his murky personality. This book by James Dodson is one of dozens of bios of Hogan. There's another one on this list, and you can't go wrong with either of them. This one is a bit less reverential than the second one on this list, illuminating Hogan warts and all. It delves into areas about Hogan rarely discussed, including his father's suicide when Ben was 9, an event Hogan witnessed.

Mark Frost not only give Bobby Jones the biographical treatment but weaves Jones' story into the larger fabric of the story of America in what has come be known as the Golden Age of sports.

The full title is Arnold Palmer: Memories, Stories, and Memorabilia from a Life on and Off the Course, and it's not so much an autobiography as a reminiscence. Lots of scrapbook material, great photos and terrific stories straight from Arnie himself.

Old Tom Morris is an iconic figure in the history of golf, a great professional golfer, golf's first professional greenskeeper, a course designer and club builder. This scrapbook was compiled by a fan and given publication at the urging of a member of the British Royal Family. Chock full of amazing historical goodies, as illuminating of the times (second half of the 19th century) as they are of Old Tom.

Many readers of a certain age will remember Ben Wright as the British golf announcer for CBS who wound up being fired after a string of unfortunate on-air and off-air missteps. I've never been a fan of Wright's, and I'm not after reading his book. It is equal parts fascinating and infuriating as Wright tells tales, spreads gossip and levels charges. But that just serves to make it a very interesting read.

Babe Didrikson Zaharias is, quite possibly, the greatest female athlete of the 20th Century, maybe of all-time. And she might also be the most important female golfer ever. This book by Don Van Natta is subtitled The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Pitched as a "rollicking saga," and the Babe's life was certainly that. Goes into all aspects of her life and athletic endeavors - the definitive Babe biography.

Bruce Edwards was the caddie for Tom Watson for much of Watson's career, and also caddied for Greg Norman at the height of Norman's career. Edwards and Watson shared an emotional scene at the 2003 U.S. Open after Edwards had been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). He died early in 2004. This is a very moving biography.

Ken Venturi's autobiography debuted to some controversy because of comments regarding Arnold Palmer and possible rules violations at the Masters (see 1958 Masters for details). But Venturi's life in competitive golf and in the broadcast booth offer far more of interest to readers. Venturi played golf with Hogan, Nelson, and Snead, with Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player, and called the careers of Watson, Norman, Faldo, and Woods.

The second Ben Hogan biography on our list, this one is written by Curt Sampson and is considered by many to be the best bio of Bantam Ben available.

There was a time, in golf's early days, when the golf professional was someone that club members didn't want in the clubhouse. Even famous golfers - the original touring pros - might be turned away from a clubhouse. Walter Hagen once famously pulled up in a limousine in front of such a clubhouse and used the limo as his locker room. Hagen was a very colorful character who sometimes said and did outrageous things. But another of the things he did was legitimize the professionals of golf.

Well, that's one book title nobody can dispute: Sam Snead was certainly one-of-a-kind. Slammin' Sam was the biggest winner in the history of men's golf, and his public persona was (and still is) as the amiable, funny country boy. But he could also be (and often was) irascible or surly. This book goes into the public and private man and his remarkable golf career.