Golf Book Reviews by Dan Poppers
GOLL THROUGH THE PAGES Book Reviews by Dan Poppers
FRANCIS AND EDDIE written by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Zachary Pullen, Why Not Books publisher, 2013, hardbound, $17.95.
There are not too many golf books oriented toward children let alone excellent ones, but I have found one. Herzog and Pullen’s FRANCIS AND EDDIE is a winner for several reasons. The plot is one of the most amazing stories in golf history and is exemplified by the book’s front cover subtitle: “The true story of America’s underdogs.”
The book tells the story of the 1913 U.S. Open when 20-year-old amateur, Francis Ouimet, [pronounced we-met ] and his 10-year- old caddie, Eddie Lowery, shocked the golf world; a “feel good” saga of a young man and a boy showing unbelievable maturity to win the U.S. Open. In front of nine thousand spectators, the young 10-year-old calms the nerves of his player to beat (by several strokes to spare) two of the finest golf professionals of their era — Harry Vardon and Ted Ray.
The illustrations in the book are outstanding. Unusual, artistic, emotive — the four- color illustrations convey the flavor of the era and the humble upbringings of Ouimet and Lowery.
This oversized, coffee-table book is suitable for all ages. A father or mother can read it to their your son or daughter, same with grandparents to their grandchildren. Junior golfers can read it on their own. And, as an adult in his late-60s, I immensely enjoyed the book.
Rating: Eagle, a keepsake book that can be passed on from generation to generation.
ARNIE, SEVE, AND A FLECK OF GOLF HISTORY
by Bill Fields, paperback, University of Nebraska Press, 2014, 320 pages, $19.95.
A collection of short golf stories focusing on the greatest players and venues written by one of the best golf writers of our time, Bill Fields. Excerpts include:
- “[Harry] Vardon set course records from Florida to Maine in 1900, recording drives of over 275 yards with a one-piece gutta-percha ball that most golfers were overjoyed to hit 175 yards.”
- “…Finsterwald already had set up a practice-round against Hogan and Jackie Burke Jr. by the time Palmer got to Georgia Monday night [to play in the Masters]. Finsterwald played well and the younger duo took $70 from the Texans, but after the match in the locker room, Hogan wondered aloud—loud enough for Palmer to hear— how Palmer even got to the Masters.
“’I was a little disappointed Hogan talked that way,’ says Palmer, who was never close to Hogan and was irritated Hogan wouldn’t call him by his first name. Hogan said, ‘How in the hell did Palmer get in the Masters?’ That was tough, sort of a blow to my ego. Up until then, even though Hogan and I weren’t buddy-buddy, we were not enemies either’.”
- “When Ouimet was nine, he found his first rubber-covered ball and played with it until he wore off all the paint. After putting on a fresh coat, he stuck the ball in the oven, alongside a loaf of bread his mother was baking, so that it could dry. The ball melted and made a mess of the oven…”
- “Nicklaus has never claimed to have been anything but fortunate. He was stricken with polio as a child, but it was a mild case.”
Rating: Birdie, for those enamored with the history of the game, this book is for you.
PLAY LIKE A PRO by Golf Magazine, edited by David DeNunzio, Time Home Entertainment, 2013, hardback, 192 pages, $29.95.
If you haven’t kept your back issues of Golf Magazine and you want instruction from some of the greatest players that have ever played the game, then this book is for you.
You’ll find instruction on all aspects of the game with a myriad of high quality photos correlated with the text. The biggest challenge, as with all instruction, is not to bite off more than you can chew. There is so much instruction offered in this book, any attempt at any given time to apply more than a fraction of what’s being offered will, no doubt, result in serious overload. Take small pieces of instruction for your particular needs, and this book will improve your game.
Rating: Birdie, a high-quality instruction book, a complete resource to improve your game.
GolfNews Magazine’s TOP GOLF BOOKS OF ALL TIME
Among the top golf books of all time:
- EXTRAORDINARY GOLF: THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE by Fred Shoemaker
- DAVE PELZ’S SHORT GAME BIBLE by Dave Pelz
- 112 MILES TO THE PIN: EXTREME GOLF AROUND THE WORLD by Duncan Leonard
- MY 55 WAYS TO LOWER YOUR GOLF SCORE by Jack Nicklaus
- BEN HOGAN’S FIVE LESSONS by Ben Hogan