Is this the best golf coffee table book ever?

This new heavyweight just might be the king of all golf books.
The best golf coffee table books revolve around great photography and words surrounding an engaging theme.

There are two types of golf books: ones you read and others you peruse.

Since I do way too much reading for my job (and the health of my eyes and back), I like the golf books you can peruse best. I've been collecting golf coffee table books for the last 15 years or so. My dad's thrift-shopping ways have secured a few classics for just a few bucks, but it's the modern books I like best. The extensive aerial photography is part of the reason.

Never in my wildest dreams, though, did I envision I'd ever discover a golf book like the PGA TOUR Vault. It is without a doubt the heaviest golf book ever created. While bigger isn't always better, in this instance, the old adage applies. The PGA TOUR Vault Classic Edition (2022) weighs more than 50 pounds, highlighting the history of the PGA Tour, its courses and its players. A Marquee edition is leather-bound with authentic autographs.

The PGA TOUR Vault is the perfect book for your coffee table, den or office to pull out when your golf buddies show up. Where does it rank among my favorite golf coffee table books all-time? Keep perusing to find out.

  1. PGA TOUR Vault, Classic Edition by Vault Media Group
    The PGA TOUR Vault celebrates the history of the TOUR's players and courses with more than 1,500 photographs.

    What I love about the PGA Tour Vault is its mix of more than 1,500 photographs - bouncing between black-and-whites to full-page color spreads and from courses to players. What separates the Vault brand from others is the majority of its projects contain images and stories that have never been published before. It is full of rare, archived materials, personal collections of players and fans and content curated specifically for the assignment at hand. The Classic Edition costs $350, but offers a lifetime of priceless golf moments.

    What golf book is on your coffee table? Let us know in the comments below.

  2. The 500 World's Greatest Golf Holes by George Peper and the Editors of Golf Magazine
    The 500 World's Greatest Golf Holes book dates to 2000, but it's still a great keepsake.

    This paperback book (there is a hardcover version, too) has great sentimental value to me. It essentially launched my golf-writing career when it was published in 2003, inspiring me to fall in love with courses and architecture. I began daydreaming about ways to see these holes in person and eventually signed up for the Twitter handle @WorldGolfer. Whenever I play a hole in the book, I mark the page with a sticky note. Once I had teed it up with the author and played more than 100 of the holes, I knew I had made it.

  3. James Finegan, the author of Where Golf Is Great and others, is one of the great storytellers of links golf in Scotland and Ireland.

    Finegan's coffee book (2006) trumps his collection of overseas travelogues that were popular paperbacks -- All Courses Great and Small about England and Wales, Emerald Fairways and Foam-Flecked Seas showcasing Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Blasted Heaths and Blessed Greens touring Scotland. Having taken more than 15 trips overseas myself, its photos of links courses tugs at my golf soul.

  4. True Links by George Peper and Malcolm Campbell
    True Links educates the reader about the characteristics of links golf as well as defining all 246 "links" in the world with nice photos and descriptors.

    Any book related to links golf shoots right into my must-own list. Peper and Campbell explore the age-old question, What is a links course? and identify the 246 courses they consider links from around the world. There have been a few new ones built since the book's publication in 2010, notably at Bandon Dunes and Cabot in Canada.

  5. Planet Golf features two volumes with great photography and analysis of the world's greatest courses.

    The "Planet Golf" series comes in multiple volumes, showcasing the best of golf around the world. With excellent photography and sharp commentary, the original version from 2007 is almost an encyclopedia of architecture.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
Commented on

Having picked it up about six months ago, I have found why Peper’s “The 500 World’s Greatest Golf Holes” is so appealing and even inspiring, not only for its first-class photos but also for the author’s highly accomplished writing throughout. Frequently, it seems that he (or his editors) have just stepped off these holes and penned, immediately, their thoughts, so vivid is the description and the intensity by which their commentaries are informed. The only disappointment, maybe, in reading about them comes with the realization that you’ll likely play but a modest fraction of them in this lifetime–if you’re lucky. What’s still encouraging, though, is how Peper supplies us a fine education in the history, geography, and above all the art of golf hole architecture.

Peper and Campbell’s “True Links” has to be the definitive coffee-table version (or maybe the definitive ‘any version’) of a serious study comprising ‘real’ linksland layouts, and it’s full of details that may surprise some golfers.

As for James W. Finegan, he captures the spirit of playing in Scotland and Ireland as well as any pilgrim on the planet who has explored–with sacred intensity and passion–those golfing meccas.

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Is this the best golf coffee table book ever?