Golf Historical Society of Canada

Recommended Reading

There are many excellent books about historical golf, from the viewpoints of playing, collecting, learning and sharing. The techniques used to play the old game, the equipment used, the individuals who developed, supported and helped grow the game, and the historic courses played, are certainly the most obvious topics to read about. 

Below are a few of the best GHSC-recommended books for those who want to learn more about historical golf. Reading any of these books will help you gain a more fulsome understanding and appreciation of the subject matter. It may even help you become an aficionado of the Old GameThese books are treasurers and buying an actual copy of the book will help you build your own cherished library. A few of these books are available in digital format (e.g. Kobo or Kindle) which can help reduce the cost of ownership. 

Let us know if you have suggestions for including other books here.

Playing Randy Jensen Playing Hickory Golf

Subtitle: The Complete Guide to Wood Shafted Golf 
Originally published in 2008. Randy Jensen is an 8-time National Hickory Champion.
According to McIntyre Golf, the second printing of the first edition is now available.
The definitive treatise on playing modern hickory golf.

 Playing Harry Vardon The Complete Golfer

Harry Vardon was a 6-times Open Champion (1896, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1911 and 1914) and American Champion (1900).
This great book contains 66 illustrations. Published in 1905.
A free, online version for personal use is available here under the Gutenberg Project.
This book is a great read and gives one the perspective of how a great hickory golfer originally played the game. Watch The Greatest Game Ever Played Disney movie in combination with reading this book and bring out your inner Harry Vardon!

Playing H.G. Hutchinson The Early Days of Golf – Clubs and Balls

A 28-page historical mini-book that is available in digital format for only a few dollars. Republished classic work using original text and artwork. This work explains the nature of each club and how that club came to be added to play sets back in the day (circa 1900). Also describes the historical golf balls used and their flight capabilities.

Playing and Collecting Bob Kuntz and Mark Wilson Antique Golf Clubs

Subtitle: Their Restoration and Preservation
Published in 1990.
An excellent manual on how to repair and maintain antique golf clubs. This book is referred to a few times in our section on maintaining hickory golf clubs.

Collecting Jeffery B. Ellis The ClubMaker’s Art

Subtitle: Antique Golf Clubs and their History
Originally published in 1997. Available as either a single or two-volume edition.
An incredible compendium of wooden-shaft golf clubs and early metal-shafted clubs.
The pictures are beautiful and the historical perspectives presented are amazing.

History and Playing Robert T. Jones Jr. and O.B. Keeler Down the Fairway

Originally published in 1927. Reprinted in 1995 (hard cover) and 2018 (Paperback).

From Amazon Books:
Bobby Jones’s Down the Fairway has become what Sports Illustrated calls “an incontestable classic.”
Part memoir, part golf instructional, part golf history―and including wonderful vintage photographs―Down the Fairway is a must read for all who care about this most fascinating sport.
Amazingly, Bobby Jones―along with sports journalist O.B. Keeler―wrote this book when he was only 24 years old. His thinking was that, having just become the first golfer ever to win both U.S. and British Open titles in one year (1926), he would never perform at such a high level again. It seemed a good time, then, to tell his story.

 History Michael Cochrane Olympic Lyon

Subtitle: The Untold Story of the Last Gold Medal for Golf
Published in 2016.
Dedicated to George S. Lyon, whose victory in 1904 stands as sone of the greatest achievements in Canadian golf history.
A fascinating story about Olympic golf. See also our GHSC historical piece here.

 History Kevin Cooke Tommy’s Honour

Subtitle: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris
Published in 2008.
Made into a movie in 2014 which was released in 2016.
A great human story of father and son as famous champion golfers.
Lots of insight into golf as it was competitively played in Scotland and England; set in 1866 St. Andrews, Scotland.

 History Scott Burke and Joanne Doucette Toronto’s Lost Golf Courses

Subtitle: How the Game of Golf Shaped a City
Volume 1: 1869~1919.
Published in 2019.
This book contains a nice acknowledgement to Golf Historical Society of Canada.
The book was extremely well researched and it contains great historical pictures of Toronto historical golf courses, many of which have now disappeared from the modern golfing landscape of the Greater Toronto Are (GTA).


Golf Historical Society of Canada
1346 Clyde Rd.
Cambridge, ON N1R 5S7

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