I finished Alan Shipnuck's "Bud, Sweat and Tees" recently. This is sort along the same lines as John Feinstein's "A Good Walk Spoiled". But where Feinstein is focussing on the majors and the great players most of the time (some time is spent talking about people trying to qualify, and I found that part and the Ryder Cup stuff really fascinating), Shipnuck focuses on Rich Beem and his on-and-off caddy, Steve Duplantis, who are basically overgrown juvenile delinquents who happen to make a career in professional golf.
The story of Beem's first tournament win is very gripping, and at first, the stories of the profoundly messed-up personal lives of both characters is really interesting. You know, like slowing down to watch a car wreck. About halfway through the book for me, that really started to grate. Like many of their friends keep saying, how could these guys collectively be so stupid and make so many obviously bad choices to blow the precious successes that they've had? If these were characters in a fiction novel, I'd get irritated because they aren't believeable enough.
Anyway, if you've ever watched much golf, read Feinstein's book first, then Shipnuck's is a close second. I've read a couple other books on golf, and these two are probably the best I've come across so far. The funny thing is, I'm not really a golf fan. I never watch it on TV these days (except if the Ryder Cup comes on, I might make some time for that, but not like for a Cowboys game). But when I was growing up and spending the occasional weekend at Dad's, there were a lot of long afternoons in front of the TV (before I was old enough to drive) where Dad would be watching golf. It was the only TV in the house, and there weren't GameCubes or anything like that.
Also, my Dad did go out of his way to help me learn the game. I still play with him a couple of times per year, and I usually score around 100 (my goal is bogey golf...an average of one-over-par per hole, which would be about 90), depending on the difficulty of the course. It's really hard to justify playing more than that given the expense of playing at nice courses like my Dad plays at. And of course, I would never spring for decent clubs. I'm still using the same ones from my days on the high school golf team.Posted by Observer at September 10, 2003 08:33 AM
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