OpinionTuesday, May 27, 2014
Father’s Day book recommendations
Past couple of years there’s been a dearth of recommendable golf books. Now suddenly there’s a splendid choice and not nearly enough space to do each full justice.
“Bill Fields is the modern poet laureate of golf,” notes famed author James Dodson and without doubt “Arnie, Seve, and a Fleck of Golf History” (University of Nebraska Press) is testament to such extravagant praise. The first chapter of Field’s collected essays, a poignant piece, opening with the illegitimate son Harry Vardon never hugged and ending with an aging champion alone with his putting yips, is accomplished penmanship at its finest. Savour this volume like a well-aged merlot.
Dan Jenkins has done it again. After a string of 20 best-selling books and a fabled sports-writing career the master of the Remington, Smith-Corona and portable Olivetti’s latest is an autobiography titled His Ownself, a Semi-memoir (Random House).
If surprised to discover Jenkins came from what he terms a broken home, you’ll immediately surrender to the follow-up line, “Sometimes, I envy my own childhood.” Filled with wit and life-wisdom, Jenkins has been up-close and personal with everyone who’s mattered in golf since the end of WWII. He even turned down golf lessons with Ben Hogan! Like all Jenkins’ best work, impossible to put down once you start.
Sports columnist Rick Reilly has been called one of the funniest humans on the planet. Frequently brazen, often outrageously controversial, Reilly’s latest hard-cover offering, “Tiger, meet my sister... and other things I probably shouldn’t have said,” (Penguin) is a tasty stew of his best sports columns that cover a wide gamut of emotions, including the occasional desire to give the author a piece of your mind. Singularly smart-witted and always on the money, never turn down a chance to read Reilly.
Many consider the 1975 Masters one of the greatest in the history of this championship, the year where in-his-prime Jack Nicklaus narrowly out-dueled Johnny Miller and Tom Weiscopf. In The Magnificent Masters, the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta, (Da Capo Press) award-winning TV producer Gil Capps recreates the action that week in April, which finishes with some of golf’s greatest theatre. Capps exhaustive research makes this book a must-read.
During three decades by-lined in newspaper back-pages, the word most frequently used to describe John Hopkins golf writing style is insightful. In Fore! (Elliott & Thompson, UK), the former Times of London golf correspondent has put together an impressive collection of his inimitable and wide-ranging essays, uniquely presented in calendar format, January to December. Fore! is a 30 year kaleidoscope of memorable moments, surprises and compassionate portraits by a gifted writer, definitely not to be missed.
James R. Hansen, famed for his best-seller biography of Neil Armstrong, successfully turns to golf with A Difficult Par: The life of Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and the making of modern golf (Gotham Books). Although he didn’t exactly ‘invent‘ modern golf architecture, Jones’ portfolio of over 400 superb courses worldwide did indeed make an enormous impact on the modern-day game. Compelling read.