No one book is the best. We can't recommend reading for you, but many golfers have been helped by the following four: How to Play Golf by Sam Snead (Garden City, $2.50); Power Golf by Ben Hogan (Barnes, $3); How to Play Your Best Golf All the Time by Tommy Armour (Simon & Schuster, $2.95); and Enjoy Your Golf by Lealand Gustavson (Harcourt Brace & Co., $2.95). Pick one and read it. You may get some help.
Caddies are expensive these days but can make golf more enjoyable, if you can afford them, by carrying your bag and suggesting which club to use for a particular shot. A good caddy knows his course thoroughly and can give you good advice. Ask the advice of a regular player about how much to tip. If caddies are too steep for you, golf carts are available on which to carry your clubs. You can buy one for $18 to $60 and many courses have them for rent.
Most who have played it agree that golf is a humbling game. It requires more practice and more precise self-control than virtually any other sport.. But your practicing should be done on practice fairways. Once you're on the course, don't fritter around and experiment. Get up and hit the ball. It's easy to be theoretical about golf, but you do so at your own risk. Just remember it's a game for fun, probably the best outdoor game for all ages ever invented. Happy hitting!