Handbooks are handy and it would appear that, in compiling this, Renton Laidlaw's only motivation was to actualise this very fact.

If all it took to up one's game was to swot through the facts, history, statistics and trivia, one would in no time be playing off a decent single-digit handicap!

You will find contact details of over 5000 golf clubs and courses, rules of the game, championship dates - until 2011, tournament results and much, much more.

But it is the stuff that makes you feel like a golfing aficionado that appeals most. How many clubs is a player allowed to carry in his bag? A former caddy myself, I didn't know 14 was the max!

European golfer of the year, Dubliner Padraig Harrington features prominently. You get to know that his favourite club is a 5-wood, a club he trusts almost the same way Lee Trevino worshipped his 1-iron.

The stories featured make for fascinating reading. Should golf be an Olympic sport?

The writer argues that governments throughout the world throw more money into Olympic sports than those codes that are not.

The game is growing in leaps and bounds in the Far East, we are told, as youngsters there take up after the likes of KJ Choi, who "has been a serial winner in the US over the past five years".

There's also a thought-provoking piece on why Australians are successful on golf's international circuits, using the examples of crusaders from Down Under, from Norman Von Nida through to Greg Norman and down to modern-day torch-bearers like Adam Scott. Norman's son, Norman Jr, plays a mean round of golf. There are mini biographies on all the known players around the world.

With Annika Sorenstam out of the way, there are many young females staking a claim for the top berth - and Michelle Wie is not the rest of the story!

Interesting Facts and Unusual Incidents takes the grayness out of the text and the often hilarious anecdotes make for interesting reading. (Almost) everything you ever needed to know about the game of golf is here . It would make a good present for someone who derives pleasure from taking out his frustrations on the small white ball.