The best books on mind-body golf

The Books I Picked & Why

Kyudo: The Art of Zen Archery

By Hans J. Stein

Book cover of Kyudo: The Art of Zen Archery

Why this book?

This is one of my favourite books and I believe it is essential reading for any golfer looking for the secret to performing under pressure. The lessons from Zen archery are a must for any player who has experienced the thrill of the perfect shot and wondered why it was so effortless. Using the detailed example of the archer’s training regime, this book explains how the breathing, the body’s physical centre, and true balance all unite in the moment the arrow is released towards the target. In the same way, I have tried to teach golfers about the fundamentals of the martial arts for creating a state of relaxed readiness, this book shares the author’s insights gained over many years of practice, to achieve the pure simplicity of action within non-action. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Fairway Within: Golf for the Body, Mind and Soul

By Peter Lightbown

Book cover of The Fairway Within: Golf for the Body, Mind and Soul

Why this book?

This book is very close to my heart as it is written by a fellow Tai Chi practitioner who has used his insights gained from personal experience of this ancient art to help golfers develop a natural and flowing swing. The wisdom in this book also draws upon many other so-called alternative practices such as Pilates, the Alexander Technique, the Feldenkrais Method, Eastern philosophy, and Yoga to help demystify and simplify all the technical jargon that hinders a player’s ability to swing the club smoothly. It is the antidote to ‘checklist golf’ which has become the norm for so many players who have seen their game deteriorate as a result. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Gita on the Green: The Mystical Tradition Behind Bagger Vance

By Steven J Rosen

Book cover of Gita on the Green: The Mystical Tradition Behind Bagger Vance

Why this book?

I have always been interested in Vedic philosophy and have greatly enjoyed the film The Legend of Bagger Vance. While there has been much watering down of ancient truths to fit with our 21st Century lifestyle (the plethora of mindfulness apps being one example) the author of this book has a depth of literary and spiritual knowledge that helps unlock the mysteries of golf and allies them with the epic tale, The Bhagavad Gita. Rosen explains that Rannulph Junuh, (played by Matt Damon in the film) is really Arjuna, the charioteer who is instructed by the Supreme Being, Bhagavan (Bagger Vance, the caddie played by Will Smith). It is an approach to the game that brings us face to face with the eternal battles within and how to overcome them. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Golf in the Kingdom

By Michael Murphy

Book cover of Golf in the Kingdom

Why this book?

This book is an absolute classic and should be in the library of every golfer who has ever touched those extraordinary moments we call the zone or flow. Murphy’s encounter with the enigmatic teacher Shivas Irons, has him questioning reality as he understands it with his logical mind. As their encounter unfolds, Murphy begins experiencing an opening of his perception to a deeper and more profound awareness of the forces and energies that can align to help create the perfect shot. This book shows how important it is to ‘get out of your own way’ and find your inner swing. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible

By Fred Shoemaker, Pete Shoemaker

Book cover of Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible

Why this book?

This is a breakthrough book that allows golfers the opportunity to step away from all the mental and technical thinking and into something simpler that can help release a golfer’s inner talents and abilities. The now-famous ‘club-throwing exercise’ is Shoemaker’s answer to Tim Gallwey’s ‘bounce-hit’ exercise in tennis which helps take the emphasis off trying to get technique right and instead allows the body to move in a way that is natural and therefore repeatable, even under pressure. So many of my students have benefited from the drills and exercises and the whole mindset of this book which details the possibilities inherent every time you set up to the ball. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists