Four golf books reached me this year and one or all of them may make a useful addition to your library. All four are very different - a novel, a compendium, an annual and a travel guide - yet they are all well worth a few hours of your time.

The Swinger is a novel by Sports Illustrated writers Michael Bamberger and Alan Shipnuck (author of the excellent, Sweat, & Tees: Rich Beem’s Walk on the Wild Side of the PGA Tour”), is a thinly veiled  yet amusing account of Tiger Woods’ fall from grace. Herbert X. “Tree” Tremont is the main character in this case - “a multicultural golfing icon with fifty-three Tour wins, thirteen major victories, a smoking hot wife, and two adorable kids.”

A quick, enjoyable read, it does what is says on the tin and may even give you an insight into what life is really like inside the ropes.

Andy Farrell’s The 100 Greatest Ever Golfers boasts a foreword by Padraig Harrington, who is one of five Irish golfers included in this entertaining list of the game’s top players. The others, by the way, are Christy O’Connor snr, Joe Carr, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy.

Clarke and McIlroy close out the final chapter of a book divded into eras, in this case, The Tiger Era. Who is the greatest of them all? It’s almost impossible to say but reading Andy’s book, it is good to be reminded just how good some of the non-major winners have been and I’m not just talking about O’Connor Snr and Carr. Incidentally, a quick flick through the index shows that the majority of the entries have a surname that ends in S (nine times), followed by the B’s, C’s, L’s, T’s and W’s with eight each. There’s only one Z but then again, there was only one Babe Zaharias.

The global economic crisis has made life tough for the golf tourism business but if you know someone who might be thinking of taking that trip to Ireland, then Bill Ruskin’s “The American Golfer’s Guide to Ireland: Nurturing Your Golfing Soul While Enjoying an Incomparable Irish Experience” may prove very useful.

I must confess that I proved a little help here or there but Bill’s great love of the game and of Ireland shines through as he explains how to plan a trip to Ireland, where to play, what to bring and even a guide to places to see. The guide comes complete with handy check lists and commonsense advice on hotels, B&B’s, pubs, restaurants, green fees, tipping, weather, public transport and mant others things the Irish take for granted.

As Bill says in his preface: “It offers advice, facts and information you will need to know to get the most for your time and money…” What more could you ask for in this day and age?

As a kid I loved my Christmas annuals and I always look forward to receiving The Official European Tour Yearbook in the post at this time of year.

Edited by Mitchell Platts, this hardback tome a beautifully produced summary of every event played on the European Tour this year with features on each victory by the cream of Europe’s golf writers and stunning photography by Getty Images and others.

This cover of this year’s edition is grace by major winners McIlroy, Clarke and Charl Schwartzel but of course there is plenty of space dedicated to the late, great Severiano Ballesteros. The editor pens a fine tribute featuring some wonderful black and white shots of a young Seve on the beach at Pedreña. 

“You didn’t have to like golf to love Seve” sums up how many will feel about the passing of the maestro.