Different Strokes: The Lives and Teachings of the Game's Wisest Women

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9780684848631: Different Strokes: The Lives and Teachings of the Game's Wisest Women

"As everyone knows, all good golf swings are alike in that the club must make certain motions as it passes through a short space. The angle and speed of the clubface at the moment it strikes the ball are the test all swings must take. The golf club doesn't care if it is being swung by a woman or a man." -- HARVEY PENICK For as long as golf has been played, it has been played in roughly equal measure by men and women. Yet in America, when we tell the history of golf over the last century, we tell the tales of great men who have made golf a sport rife with legends. But for every Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, or Jack Nicklaus that has come along to inspire us with his accomplishments, there has also been a Betty Jameson, Wiffi Smith, Polly Riley, or Kathy Whitworth to amaze us and help us understand all that is great in the game of golf. Until now, however, the stories of those women who have contributed to the aura of the sport with their words, wit, and wisdom have largely gone untold. But in Different Strokes, Mona Vold -- for the first time -- takes the reader on an unparalleled journey to the very soul of golf and reveals to us the remarkable lives and teachings of the game's wisest women. By giving voice to the women who have helped shape golf in the twentieth century, Mona Vold has given voice to every woman who has played the game -- from the weekend amateur to the pro on the LPGA Tour. Much like the mystical golf master Shivas Irons in Michael Murphy's classic Golf in the Kingdom, the women in these pages offer up golf as an overarching metaphor for life. It is through a master's appreciation for the game and all of its magic that women of all ages come to understand the subtle beauty of the game with all its risks and rewards, frustrations and joys. Through stories from and about these remarkable women, Mona Vold gathers the collective wisdom of a lost generation -- women whose swings were every bit as technically perfect as those of Byron Nelson or Sam Snead, whose battles to overcome injury were every bit as heroic as those of Ben Hogan, and whose achievements were every bit as impressive as those of Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, and the other heroes of the men's game. Complete with delightful portraits, sound technical advice, and inspiring nuggets of wisdom, and written in a beautiful, inimitable style, Different Strokes does for women's golf what Harvey Penick's Little Red Book did for golfers of every generation.

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Review:

Given golf's sad tradition of relegating women to secondary status in the grill room and non-prime times off the tees, it's not surprising--though hardly defensible--that the wisdom of the game's best women teachers has largely been pushed into the rough as well. And this isn't just a loss for women golfers--it's every golfer's loss. Mona Vold, on her way to becoming a teaching pro herself, seeks to remedy this slight in Different Strokes. In the mold of Harvey Penick's inviting collections, this is a wonderful accumulation of tips, insights, and anecdotes from some of golf's best female instructors. Their names--Gloria Armstrong, Peggy Kirk Bell, Kathy Whitworth, Debbie Massey, and Betty Jameson--might not all sound familiar, but their knowledge and their ability to pass it on are breathtakingly real. This is much more than an instructional, though. Different Strokes is a plaintive and powerful journey--a journey made quite personal through Vold's own quest to meet and learn from these matriarchal masters--into one of the overlooked chambers of golf's heart. "I set out east, west, south and am greeted repeatedly with generosity and kindness," Wisconsinite Vold reports. "'You learn so much by being asked a question,' the great amateur and now 79-year-old pro Betty Jameson tells me. 'Everyone needs a listener--something more than a seashell. We aren't just Proettes. Our days, our swings, our games, our minds are full. We have things to tell....'" And there isn't a golfer alive who won't get something out of listening to them. --Jeff Silverman

About the Author:

Mona Vold teaches golf and coaches the girls' high school team in a small farm town near Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in Ms. and Mother Jones. She coauthored the acclaimed Midwestern cookbook Farm Recipes and Food Secrets from the Norske Nook.

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