What are golf travel guides for? If the answer is to attract the reader to travel to the courses featured within their pages, then Links of Heaven might just be the best golf guide ever written. I defy any reader to spend a few hours with this book and not immediately start planning – or at least fantasising about – a golf holiday in the Emerald Isle.
What's even more impressive is that authors Richard Phinney and Scott Whitley – who have updated their original 1996 edition in some style – do so only through words; the book contains no photographs or illustrations to speak of.
But the writing is golf porn of the highest order. Each of Ireland's top courses gets an extended essay, with other selected venues receiving a shorter write-up; and on finishing each entry, the featured course will rise inexorably to the top of the excited reader's Must-Play list. Phinney, the principal writer, is clearly deeply in love with his subject, and the pen portraits of important Irish golfing figures such as architects Eddie Hackett and Pat Ruddy are especially attractive.
The Irish Tourist Board should stockpile copies of this wonderful book.
Aurum Press, £14.95 www.aurumpress.co.uk