"The latest golf book from Dear (Every Golf Question You Ever Wanted Answered) meets the formidable challenge of trying to tell the 600-year history of golf.... a Masters-level celebration of the game."
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The people and events that shaped golf's 600-year history.
The Story of Golf in Fifty Holes explores the 600-year history of the "game of honor." It reveals the excitement and despair, the challenges overcome and the sweet victories, the sportsmanship and the stars bursting onto the scene. It also describes the developments in course design, like the first manmade water hazard, and the first central fairways bunkers.
In 50 chapters, the book describes the holes, their contribution to golf course architecture, their importance to the careers of specific players, and their place in the overall story of golf.
The book also features:
The 50 stories cover the globe and generations of players, including:
For golfers and fans alike, The Story of Golf in Fifty Holes is an exciting treat they will return to again and again.
Tony Dear, a former British PGA apprentice professional and member of the University of Liverpool golf team, is now an award-winning freelance golf writer. He contributes to numerous golf publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including Golf World, The Open Championship magazine and Links. He has also written for the Guardian, Dallas Morning News, San Diego Union-Tribune and National Post, and is a former golf correspondent of the New York Sun. He currently lives in Bellingham, Washington.
This book chronicles 50 holes, past and present, where significant events in golf's illustrious history have taken place. Essentially, it's a personal, albeit carefully considered, list -- and what do lists do but divide and separate those with some interest in the subject matter? As a rule, golfers hold some strong opinions about the sport they love, so the typical reader will naturally be shaking their head in disapproval before long, thinking the author a complete fool for having left out X, and for not even mentioning Y. That's fine; it's to be expected -- healthy discussion is fun and a tremendous excuse to stay at the 19th hole a little longer (as if you needed one). You may even agree with some of the entries. How, for instance, could one write a history of golf (full-length or otherwise) without mentioning the treacherous 17th on the Old Course at St. Andrews -- the famous Road Hole -- where some of the British Open's most memorable moments have taken place? Or the seductive 15th at Augusta National where, in 1935, Gene Sarazen hit the shot that helped the Augusta National Invitational become the Masters? These indispensable entries, along with holes and courses throughout Australia, China, Europe, Japan and South Africa, are featured in this book.
Over the last 500 years, give or take, golf has become far too big a subject to condense easily into one book. The world's most comprehensive golf libraries possess several thousand volumes, and though you'll find titles like "The Ultimate Golf Book," "The Complete Golf Book," "Everything Golf," "Total Golf" and "Absolutely and Unequivocally the Most Important Golf Book Ever Written" (OK, I made the last one up), none of them can hope to say it all. This book doesn't seek to answer every question and curiosity you have; it might even stimulate more questions than it gives answers. If, however, in the seasoned golfer it sparks a hitherto untapped interest in the game's past (and perhaps motivates that golfer to go out and play more golf) then it will have met its purpose. If it inspires one person who has never played golf in their life to at least locate the nearest driving range or pitch and putt to hit a few balls into the distance one afternoon, then it will have gone above and beyond.
There is much to be inspired by in the story of golf. The focus here is not on constructing a perfect timeline (though the holes are listed chronologically, not in the year when the significant events happened but when the hole opened) so much as capturing the reader's interest by presenting some important dates, places and people any fan or player should be aware of before entering into a conversation about the game's eventful history. Along with the hole and documented incidents that made it famous, you will find some elaboration on the course, the designer and anything else of note.
Golf for Everyone
The scorecard at Augusta National is wonderfully simple as there are just two sets of tees -- one for the members (6,365 yards) and one for the Masters Tournament (7,435 yards) played in April every year just before the club shuts down for the summer. Nowadays, in order to accommodate as many skill levels as possible, golf holes at public-access courses often have four, sometimes five, even six sets of tees making for messy scorecards.
In this book only one yardage is given for each hole -- the longest distance the hole has ever played. It's true few readers will ever play the 17th on the Old Course from the very back-est of back tees, installed prior to the 2010 British Open and extending the hole to 495 yards, but, again, it just made things simpler.
A number of the holes appear at courses so private the closest you might ever get to them is by looking at the picture. But I estimate that, by paying the green-fee or with a well-penned letter to the club secretary, you could play well over three-quarters of them.
11th St. Andrews (Old Course)