Books by Tom

Renaissance Golf Design

Books by Tom Doak


The Anatomy of a Golf Course
by Tom Doak
Burford Books, 1992


"It is up to the golf architect," writes Ben Crenshaw in his foreword to Tom Doak's fascinating discussion of course design, "to present us with a thinking contest as well as a physical one." Like a puppeteer willing to raise the curtain on the strings he pulls, Doak reveals the secrets of how. The how, as it turns out, is the easy part. It's the demonic thinking behind the whys that makes this so engaging -- and useful. Doak's explanation of the ways a good designer has to muck with golfers' minds is truly absorbing, and is the kind of information that better players can embrace and make work for them.



The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses
by Tom Doak
Sleeping Bear Press, 1996
NOTE: Renaissance Golf Design reacquired the copyright from Sleeping Bear Press and plan a reprint in 2005 or 2006


This guide features Tom Doak's reviews of more than 800 courses on six continents, aimed at helping the reader decide what courses are worth spending his money to play. The fact that some reviews were negative stirred much controversy when the book was released, but the honesty of the reviews made it highly prized; in 2004 it was named as one of the 25 best books on golf by Travel & Leisure Golf. The Confidential Guide is now out of print, but 12,000 copies were sold, and used copies are occasionally found on eBay and other web sites.



The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie
by Tom Doak, James Scott and Ray Haddock
Gale Group, 2001


Considering the fact that he was one of the greatest golf course architects in the history of the game, Dr. Alister MacKenzie has long been something of a puzzle -- if not a mystery. He liked to wear kilts, but he wasn’t a Scotsman. He graduated from medical school, but he never made a living at it. He designed spectacular courses, but he was not a good golfer. At the height of his career he was one of the most sought after designers in the world, but he was nearly broke when he died. The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie by Tom Doak, James Scott and Ray Haddock, uses detailed text, four-color photos and vintage maps, drawings and pictures to bring together many pieces of the puzzle. Questions about his boyhood, his military service, his many design trips in various parts of the world, what made him so good at his craft, and why his name is rarely mentioned at the second golf course he ever worked on, are all answered. Golfers, golf historians and students of golf course architecture will learn a lot from this interesting new biography. 

    Fact: When MacKenzie designed what would become one of the most famous courses in America, he forgot to include a 9th hole.
    Fact: After he designed them, he never saw a large number of his most revered courses in completed form.
    Fact: He once wrote that, "I have always wanted to live where one could practice [golf] shots in one’s pajamas before breakfast."

The Life and Work of Dr. Alister MacKenzie. A new biography on one of golf’s most eccentric, interesting, brilliant, colorful and sometimes sad characters.




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