I am often asked by students and others what books I recommend for a foundational understanding of golf course architecture. The following four books are the ones I recommend:
The Links, by Robert Hunter (1926)
Golf Architecture in America, George Thomas (1927)
Golf Architecture, Alister Mackenzie (1920)
Golf Has Never Failed Me, Donald Ross (1996)
These books will be a good start to anyone’s library on the subject matter. The books written in the 1920’s are all fine reads. The Donald Ross book is a collection of his lost manuscripts and contains brief commentary on various aspects of golf design. If I had to pick one book to start with, it would be the Links by Robert Hunter. I first read this book in graduate school while studying golf course architecture in 1994, and it remains my favorite. Hunter also references Alister Mackenzie’s book within it and many of his principles. There is also a good collection of drawings and photos of other architect’s work.
Barry Jordan is an authentic grassroots