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For all golfers, there is a dividing line that separates life into two disparate worlds: the world that can only be dreamed about, that of the one-putting, three-hundred-yard-driving, sub-par-shooting professional; and the world of golfing reality, that of the club-throwing, four-putting, double-bogeying hacker.
Is there a man brave enough to straddle both worlds? Someone willing to spend time with Jack Nicklaus and play a course in northern England, where you have to hit a perfect drive in one hole or wind up in a corral hitting next to a bull? Someone who's willing to analyze the top players in the game and confess to tossing a whole set of clubs right smack-dab into the middle of a water hazard?
Luckily for all golfing fans, there is such a man, Glen Waggoner, whose devotion to - and terror of - the game of golf is wonderfully detailed in Divots, Shanks, Gimmes, Mulligans, and Chili Dips.
The first half of the book - the Front Nine - is all about Waggoner's life on the pro tour as a reporter and observer. He learnedly discusses the practice habits of the top pros; meets his idol, Arnold Palmer; discusses the unbelievably lucrative business of modern-day golf; gives us insight into the mind-set of top pros like Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia; predicts who will be the next Palmer/Nicklaus/Watson-type dominant golfer.
The Back Nine is the personal life of a hacker. Here, Waggoner talks about the fine art of club-throwing. He discloses terrifying secrets of sand traps that even Lawrence of Arabia couldn't get out of. He goes to golf school, taking lessons from the world's greatest golf teacher. He plays St. Andrews - and the caddy is still snickering.
Most of all, Glen Waggoner is a typical golfer - which means he loves the game more than he loves breathing. That love comes through with such humor, such affection, and such quirky insight that Divots, Shanks, Gimmes, Mulligans, and Chili Dips is bound to become a golf classic.
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A lighthearted, breezy look at two very different games of golf: the one that's played by the pros on PGA tours, and ``the Hacker's Game'' that's played by almost everyone else. Sportswriter Waggoner (Rotisserie League Baseball, 1987, etc.- -not reviewed) was rebitten by the golf bug (he'd thrown his clubs into a pond in 1962) while on the Rotisserie League's annual trip to Florida for spring training--but he admits to more ability as observer and reporter than as player. Here, his profiles of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Mark Calcavecchia are admiring but also refreshingly frank--pointing out, for example, that Nicklaus, for all his glory and popularity, isn't much liked by his fellow pros and is often called ``Karnak...because he always has an answer even before there's a question.'' An emotion-laden chapter on Tom Kite, who almost became ``The Best Golfer in History Never to Win a Major'' until his thrilling victory in the 1992 US Open, becomes a tribute to a ``nice guy...the soul of self-discipline, the heart of devotion to his craft.'' Waggoner draws an interesting portrait of the typical pro: 35 years old, 5'11'', married, 1.4 kids, ``born in California, North Carolina or Texas but lives in Florida,'' winner of 3.5 tournaments, earning $303,000 per year and voting Republican ``if he votes at all.'' For the ``hackers,'' Waggoner offers tips on how to watch a golf tournament; on ``Club-Throwing Technique 101: Grip, Proper Alignment, Plant and Release''; and on how to select golf clubs and ``golf stuff'' such as the Golfer's Toilet Seat and specially designed golfer's undershorts. More enlightening are his descriptions of three days spent with Jim Flick, ``the best golf teacher in the world,'' and of a course in zen golf he took at the Omega Institute. Brings a fresh sense of fun to otherwise well-trod fairways. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Waggoner ( The Traveling Golfer ) is a devotee, but not a master of the links. Unlike many of his fellow hackers, however, he can laugh at his limitations (albeit bitterly at times), making his book highly entertaining. The first half is devoted to the pros, the second to the duffers. Waggoner pays homage to Arnold Palmer, who helped lure him onto the course; laments the current paucity of such towering talents as Jones or Hogan or Palmer or Nicklaus; and shows how difficult it is, both emotionally and economically, to be a fringe pro. Turning to life among the hackers, he discusses the art of throwing the club after a bad shot and reviews his sessions with a zen-oriented teacher. Waggoner recalls his first attempt to play the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland (his score was a lousy 101), in what should fittingly have been the last chapter, but it is followed by an anticlimactic one. Nonetheless, the book is a lot of fun.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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