By Len Ziehm

In the last few years I’ve developed a side writing project.  Being a fairly voracious reader, I been contributing book reviews to my social media outlets. By no means have these being limited to golf. I’ve written about books that I’ve enjoyed on a variety of subjects but have stayed away from reviewing the political ones.

Anyway, this time – and for first time – I’m touching on several books on golf topics.  There’s been quite a few quality golf books coming out recently, many written by colleagues who are friends of mine.  With the Masters closing in there is also a timely aspect to getting the word out on these books, so I’m including several in this report.

ARNOLD PALMER,  AMERICAN HERO – I love coffee table books, and nobody does them better than Martin Davis. Some of my writing buddies are contributors – Marino Parascenzo, Jaime Diaz, Adam Schupak, Alex Miceli, and Jeff Babineau – but there are many others.

Martin, who founded The American Golfer in 1990,  has edited or published 39 golf books, and I’ve particularly enjoyed the one he did on the Ryder Cup. He’s a great historian of the game and his latest book is filled with classic pictures of golf’s most charismatic and photogenic player. You don’t want to rush through this book.

Coffee table books are, by definition, big and this one may be the biggest in my collection.  It’s 370 pages in the large 11×14-inch format (and it weighs seven pounds).  Take it slowly, and you’ll savor the memories of  this most special individual who just happens to have been a champion golfer.

LIFE ON THE GREEN Ann Liguori has made a big impact in sports broadcasting and she’s been a dominant winner in the International Network of Golf’s annual Media Awards. Jim Nantz gave her a glowing forward in this book (Hatherleigh Press).

Ann has 12 chapters, each spotlighting a legend of the game from her own unique perspective. The subjects are far-reaching — an excellent mix of men and women, players and contributors to the game in other ways as well. The chapters  spotlight – in alphabetical order — Amy Alcott, Ben Crenshaw, Padraig Harrington, Bernhard Langer, Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Dottie Pepper, Gary Player, Renee Powell, Annika Sorenstam, Jan Stephenson, and Tom Watson. That should tell you how expansive Ann’s book is.

Because we’re awaiting another Masters I want to toss in an anecdote from a special section on that tournament.  It comes from the 1985 tournament in which Langer and Seve Ballesteros played in the next-to-the last pairing on Sunday, just ahead of Raymond Floyd, and Curtis Strange.

Langer and Ballesteros were great rivals in Europe and both, of course, were Masters champions but I wish I had been around to hear this exchange on the first tee.  Ballesteros turned to Langer and said “Good luck, and let’s make sure one of us wins and not the Americans.’’

Langer found extra meaning in the comment, as did I.

“No doubt about it,’’ said Langer.  “Even at the Masters, which is so individualistic, obviously (Seve) wanted to win it, but if he couldn’t then the next best thing was just to keep it away from the Americans.’’

THE LEGENDARY CADDIES OF AUGUSTA NATIONAL – The author, Ward Clayton, was the sports editor of the Augusta Chronicle from 1991 to 2000, and produced a 2019 documentary, “The Caddie’s Long Walk.’’

He’s more than qualified to write the most recent book on the black caddies at the home of the Masters.  Those bag-toters used such nicknames as Stovepipe, Burnt Biscuits, Skillet, Skinny, and Marble Eye.  (Some of their real names were Carl Jackson, Willie Perteet and Matthew Palmer).  They witnessed some great moments, both public and private, in their days at Augusta National, and Clayton provides extensive updates on their lives along with historical photos.

AND JUST OUT:  The month of March also included the release of two other most promising books — “Rainmaker,’’ the autobiography of Hughes Norton, with George Peper (Atria Books) and “Drive, the Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods,’’ by Bob Harig (St. Martin’s Press).

It’s interesting that these two have come out within a few weeks of each other.  Norton was Woods’ first agent.  A tantalizing excerpt of the book has run in Golf Digest.   Harig previously authored the book “Tiger and Phil’’ and has been a leader in the ongoing coverage of developments involving the PGA Tour and LIV Golf League.

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Len has been covering golf for over 56 years. He was the golf columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for 41 years and has been in the same role for the Daily Herald and several regional newspapers since 2009. Len is also a regular contributor to the Chicago District Golfer magazine  and his travel pieces are regularly published in Pro Golf Weekly, New England.Golf, eSouthernGolf and the Ohio Golf Journal. His works for all publications are available at It is in its 15th year of operation and has been enhanced by the photography provided by his partner Joy Sarver. An inductee into the Illinois Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004 (for his reporting and youth coaching, not as a player), Len was also inducted into the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame in 2019. He is also on the Advisory Board of the International Network of Golf, is a lifetime member of the Golf Writers Association of America and a member of the Golf Travel Writers of America.