Hole in One!

December 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Golf Book Reviews

Those who calculate such things believe there were 109 aces yesterday. There will be 109 tomorrow, the same number the following day. They will be recorded by those who have never before gripped a club (and never will again), and by ancient mariners who after 60 years of never getting one find they can come in bunches. Four members of the same Pennsylvania family have each holed out – on the same hole! And consider the possibilities of a curious fact – each cup can accommodate four golf balls. Could it ever? Nah. Well, maybe!

Holes in one have bounded off trees, rocks, cart paths and body parts, and they have been launched on their glorious way with borrowed sticks and every club from putter to “trusty” four-wood to Snoopy driver.

Mark Brooks must be in the minority of those who see “golf’s uncommonly common miracle” as “just another shot.” For others, it’s simply a matter of “aiming and having fun.” Religious or supernatural intervention is a regular theme. Then there is the chap whose card on the back nine went: 9-21-9-16-11-13-1-11-9 = 100. Another guy’s card ran: 2-1-1-2. Gary Player’s wife had two in the same day, although why we need to be told this story twice is but a minor glitch in an otherwise absorbing frolic recounting this happiest and most unexpected shot.

Many golfers have never seen the ball go in, a personal secret fear, but the incidence of golfers who if not called their shot at least privately raised the possibility could lead one to reconsider a divine assist. You never know. Then again, the odds of getting a hole in one are (depending upon whose stats you buy into) about the same as being struck by lightning. Dear Lord, just so they don’t both occur on the same day.

Playing Partners

December 7, 2008 by  
Filed under Golf Book Reviews

A Father, a Son, and Their Shared
Addiction to Golf
By George Peper
Warner Books, 2003
ISBN: 0-446-52707-6 $24.95

He’s not exaggerating. Unfortunately, the game’s pleasantries are nearly poisoned in an alkaline-based obsession. The author, former editor-in-chief at Golf magazine, admittedly “semi-detached” from friends, a child loner who discovered a “blissful monomania” in golf, provides an introspective and often painful account of what golf has wrought on Pepers senior and junior as well as the missus.

Early on there’s an inopportune call from Johnny Miller that interferes with something of a first date (actually a couch moving). The call took an hour. “Golf had come between us for the first time – and far from the last,” he writes. “For the next twenty-five years the game would pull me physically, mentally, and emotionally from my wife.” While maintaining his vows, he nevertheless feels compelled to add, “However, I have nonetheless been criminally unfaithful to her through my fatal attraction to golf.”

Perhaps this book is meant as an apology to the long-suffering Libby. Perhaps he should pack it in. The deadpan earnestness – an admission, really, without the apology – is reminiscent of the criminally negligent at last coming clean, but only to make sure the details are in order.

“Golfers are essentially nice guys,” Mrs. P. suggests in a rare aside, “but they’re insensitive. They need to be beaten over the head with things. Once they understand what it is that you want or need, they’re like big loping dogs, only too eager to please. But until then they’re clueless, so absorbed in themselves and their game that they’re oblivious to everything else.”

That may very well be true, one of the few genuine insights obscured by the myopia – honest and sincere as it may be – that will likely interest only those closely acquainted with the personalities.

Pity there wasn’t more time for the interesting brushes working with name tour players and the occasional celebrity (he helped Bill Murray with his book, which included a “desperate” all-nighter), or even detailing the trials of growing a national magazine. We learn he is very likely the only person who agreed with Jan Van de Velde’s club selection at Carnoustie. It would be entertaining to hear more of his observations about those who display the qualities, as Shoeless Jean has, that he clearly admires in others, namely lack of self-absorption and friendship.

Favourite Golf Instruction Books

December 7, 2008 by  
Filed under All-Golf coaching tips

My students often ask me “What are the best books on golf instruction”. There are five books which I return to and I think are of value to the serious golfer (i.e. anyone really trying to improve their game.

1. Butch Harmon’s ‘The Four Cornerstones of Winning Golf”
2. Bob Toski’s “How to Feel a Real Golf Swing”
3. Jim Hardy’s “The Plane Truth for Golfers”
4. Hank Haney and John Duggan’s “The Only Golf Lesson You Will Ever Need”
5. Ben Hogan’s “Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf”

I have put a customer review of each of these books in the “Golf Book Reviews setion of the site”. Please let me know what you think of these (and any other golf book you have read – whether instuctional¬† or any other aspect of golf).