July 4, 2003
Golfers are often a bit intense about their sport.
When they’re not playing golf, they’re thinking about it.
For example, it’s not at all unusual during the summers here in the Cape Region to see some folks sitting under a beach umbrella, wearing logo’ed golf caps while reading golf books, as the ocean surf breaks a few hundred feet away from their sand-covered toes.
My family has the pictures of me to prove it.
This spring the folks at Clocktower Press issued two slender golf books that won’t take up a lot of space in a beach bag, but which should be enjoyable for the intense golfer in your family.
Sidney L. Matthew is a Florida trial attorney with a long-time sideline interest in all things Bobby Jones. His latest book, The Wit and Wisdom of Bobby Jones ($14.95 SRP), is clearly intended for gift-giving.
Matthew gathered together pithy snippets of Jones’ own written commentary about golf from a variety of sources, including but not limited to Bobby Jones on Golf, Golf is My Game, and the foreword Jones wrote for The World of Golf.
Some of Jones’ pieces remain timely today for the practical playing tips they impart, such as this one I wish I could follow more often:
We hear “slow back” on every side, but “slow back” is not enough. There are numbers of players who are able to restrain their impulses to this extent, but who, once back, literally pounce on the ball with uncontrolled fury. It is the leisurely start downward which provides for a gradual increase of speed without disturbing the balance and timing of the swing.
Other bits give some clues to Jones’ own self-assessment:
I have … come to think that the man who goes placidly on his way is often the easiest fellow to beat, for it is only the high-strung temperament that rises above its own ability to meet a great occasion.
Matthew’s editing produced a slim, fast-reading 86 pages of these tantalizing fragments of Jones’ writing, usually three to four to a page. They provide a glimpse into the character and thought processes of a famous golfer who was also blessed with the ability to communicate.
Caddywhack: A Kid’s-Eye View of Golf ($14.95 SRP) gives the readers a different sort of glimpse, this time into the character and thought processes of a thirteen-year-old golfing fanatic. Drew Murray has played golf for nearly ten years, and displays a precocious talent for writing about his favorite sport.
Murray’s distinctive take on golf exhibits many of the signs of a teenage boy’s mind at work—and that’s not a contradiction in terms.
Helped along with great doodle-like illustrations by Jeremy Sterling, Murray tells his readers why he loves the game, in convincing fashion:
The most important thing you need to know about the game of golf is, it’s not just a game. When you play golf, nature takes over your body, and all the good things in life become you, and you have not a care in the world—except for the conflict between you and the hole. You think about all the ups of your life, and forget all the downs, and you say to yourself, “I have a great life.”
On other occasions, Murray shows he knows what’s important to a kid playing golf, other than the game itself:
- There is no such thing as a way cool club cover.
- The great thing about driving a golf cart is that whenever you are at the wheel of one, you feel like one of those beautiful people in a Jet Ski commercial, laughing, with your hair blowing in the wind. It doesn’t even matter what your score is.
Junior golfers will enjoy reading about golf in the voice of a kid much like themselves. The parents of these juniors will frequently find themselves smiling in recognition as they read this little book.