The author is a 74-year-old retiree who can see the 10th hole of a Venice, Florida golf course from his dining room window. About two years ago he began playing regularly and hoped his game would improve quickly. When that didn't happen, he began writing about the daily comedies and triumphs of his golfing adventures primarily because he thought that might help his game. In July 2013, The Venice Gondolier Sun began running Seiden's stories as a column entitled "Golf's Old Magic." The 25 stories in this book chronicle two years in the life of this Golfer-Writer-Retiree. One of Seiden's stories was the first-place winner for Sports Columns in the Florida Press Association 2013 Better Weekly Newspaper contest.
In the words of the editor of The Venice Gondolier Sun, Ronald Dupont, Jr.:
"Mark Seiden, like many great sports columnists, is able to find the human element of the sport he is covering. He finds great people fighting to be even greater while also highlighting those whose struggles make the act of simply getting on to a golf course quite the triumph. He has caused our readers to laugh and cry while better appreciating a sport so often taken for granted even in Florida."
In the writer's own words:
I love the physicality, aliveness, and sense of challenge I feel out on the big green expanses of golf courses. It's a joy that has drawn me out there day after day.
I've met great people through golf. We spend a lot of time together when we play. We see each other in moments of grandeur and weakness. We learn to empathize because we know our partner's errors on one hole may be ours on the next. We become caring friends.
The intensity of my desire to improve has surprised me, too. In this quest, I've sought out better players, mentors, and teachers. Most good players are happy to share what they know with newer devotees of the game. (Then, of course, it's time for practice!)
A sense of humor is key to all attempts at self-improvement. I once hit a ball ten feet from a lounging alligator. In this circumstance, would it be a penalty to move my ball? What a ridiculous question; but I admit I wondered about it for an instant. As golfers, we've got to learn to laugh and enjoy it all.
And then there's the environmental beauty of the places in which the game is played. Huge tracts of green fairways, gorgeous shrubs and trees; exotic birds; wide open vistas of the sky. It's a blessing just to be out and alive.
I am a passionate but average senior golfer. Very little has been written about the true thoughts and feelings of the millions of us passionate but average golfers. I hope readers find this chronicle of my two-year love affair with senior golf funny, thought-provoking and poignant.
Or, as one reader put it: "I love to read Mark's stories before going to bed. He always gives me something to ponder or giggle about.
You can dip into "Golf"s Old Magic" for laughs and quirky insights anywhere, anytime. Keep this book on your night table and go off to sleep smiling at the author's ironic take on his own obsession to improve. Or keep "Golf's Old Magic" on that special shelf in your bathroom. (You can read a column in under five minutes.) Take it to the 19th hole and share it with your buddies over beers.
"Golf's Old Magic" is a perfect gift for golfers. It's a balm, a feel good indulgence, a consolation, a reward. After a hard day's courageous quest for par, you deserve it.
The book's sub-title is the author's wish for us all: "To play as well as we can for as long as we can." And most importantly, "Make It Fun"
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