THE BOGEY MAN by George Plimpton.THE BOGEY MAN

A beloved figure in the lit­erary world and a founding editor of The Paris Review, Plimpton became famous in the 1960s for trying his hand at such profes­sional sports as NFL football and major league baseball—and living writing for Hollywood. But he loved golf and wrote prolifically on the subject.

In this collection of tales about a fictional golf club, his female characters are as entertaining as the male ones. There’s the low- handicapper Jane, whose romantic musings about her fiancé, William, include the delight she takes in his nearly equal handicap. And then there’s the club champion Agnes Flack, who hits it 240 yards and never lets a touch of rain put her off her game.

In the deliciously absurd “Feet of Clay” the final round of the Women’s Singles Championship involves a thunderstorm, a Pekinese and an “expensively uphol­stered” Lulabelle Sprockett, heir to Sprockett’s Superfine Sardines.

THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF WOMEN’S GOLF by Rhonda Glenn THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF WOMEN'S GOLF

This first-rate compendium opens with Mary, Queen of. Scots (who incurred the disfavor of the local Presbyterians when she mourned her husband’s death with a few rounds of golf) and ends with Nancy Lopez.

The pages in between cover the most important amateur and professional golfers of their time, some obscure (Edith Cummings, winner of the 1923 U.S. Women’s Amateur) and some famous (Mickey Wright, Patty Berg).

Glenn, a writer and golf commentator, brings this well-researched and diverting text to life with a gen­erous number of historical photos. So how in heaven did they play in those enormous dresses?

THE CONFIDENTIAL GUIDE TO GOLF COURSES by Tom DoakTHE CONFIDENTIAL GUIDE TO GOLF COURSES

Now one of the world’s most in-demand golf course architects, Doak played more than 1,000 courses in the 1980s and ’90s, and in this mighty work, he delivers the truth on the failings and the successes he found. The book opens with “The Gourmet’s Choice”-31 of his favorites, including Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic and Royal Dornoch GC in Scotland—and continues with comprehensive directories of courses in the U.S. and abroad.

He dedicates the closing pages to hugely enjoyable lists of the best and the worst in categories ranging from “Courses I’d Most Like to Play with Dianna [his wife]” (St. Enodoc GC in Cornwall, England, tops the list) to “Courses I’d Never Play Again” (New Jersey’s Stone Harbor GC).

The honest clarity of his critiques almost makes you wince; in fact, Doak mentions that Alice Dye gave him a “motherly scolding” for having written the book at all. He seems to have grown more diplomatic, because he refuses to allow the book to be reprinted.