BRITISH GOLF LINKS
by Horace Hutchinson
Sports Media Group, 353 pages, $85
That the best book of 2005 was originally published in 1897 is less a reflection on the weakness of this year's field than it is a recognition of the enduring superiority and importance of Links. Golf's first coffee-table volume can be approached in several ways: as an elegy to a parade gone by, as a Baedeker to 54 remarkable courses, as an instructional on playing them, and as a fashion guide to swings and dress now blessedly pass�. The past is an important place, particularly in a milieu as historically resonant as golf, and Hutchinson, the game's first eminent recorder, preserved it to a tee. Lushly reproduced, this facsimile edition includes an afterword on how these courses have changed, yet it's in seeing the ways they haven't that makes British Golf Links so extraordinary.
ON GOLF: THE GAME, THE PLAYERS, AND A PERSONAL HISTORY OF OBSESSION
by Timothy O'Grady
Thomas Dunne Books, 207 pages, $22.95
An American novelist who writes like a native Irishman, O'Grady spins his long, complex relationship with the game into a striking meditation that stylishly links his father, Arnold Palmer, Golf in the Kingdom and the fragility of the swing.
LOST BALLS: GREAT HOLES, TOUGH SHOTS, AND BAD LIES
by Charles Lindsay