From The Web

Golf Books From 2012

MARCH
The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods
Authors: Hank Haney with Jaime Diaz
Publisher: Crown Archetype

The most awaited – and hyped – golf book since, well, who can remember that far back, has plenty of juice and plenty of golf, and comes off in the end like a cat fight purred from the perspective of the wounded feline, in this case not Tiger. What’s so remarkable about the whole enterprise is less the revelations – fascinating as they are – about Tiger the person or Tiger the golfer or the way Haney, as coach, worked with his pupil, but the startling realization that someone from within the inner circle – and the soft-spoken Hank Haney, of all people -- finally broke rank to tell tales. Wait. That strange noise? Can it be the sound of Stevie Williams’s word processor churning out pages in the distance?

Full review: "Big Miss" says as much about Haney as Tiger

American Triumverate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and the Modern Age of Golf
Author: James Dodson
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
 
The always engaging Dodson marks the joint centenary of the births of Nelson (February), Snead (May), and Hogan (August) with a skillfully twined celebration of their lives and legacies. The real celebration at “Triumverate’s” heart is the way the game survived the Depression, thrived in its wake, and reconceived itself as a professional carnival, in no small part to the remarkable convergence of the trio’s very presences -- their titanic abilities, their outsized personalities, their unmistakeable images and their uncanny knack for capturing imaginations, which they continue to do.
 
King of Clubs: The Great Golf Marathon of 1938
Author: Jum Ducibella
Publisher: Potomac Books
 
How crazy is this? A Chicago stockbroker short of cash literally bets the mortgage that he could play 600 holes over four straight days in eight cities from coast to coast. So crazy that you couldn’t possibly make it up, that’s how crazy. It’s a wild ride, and a wild story, all the wilder that it’s true, and it only grew wilder, crazier and more compelling with each stop. And how crazy is this: the hero, 32-year-old J. Smith Ferebee, returns home without having lost a single ball.
 
The R & A Golfer’s Handbook 2012
Editor: Renton Laidlaw
Publisher: Macmillan
 
At just under 1000 pages, golf’s most inviting annual reference is, as always, an opus that lures us to get lost in. Stats? Results? Recaps? They’re all here in divine detail, as are the mini-bios of golfers past and present, the rules, the trivia, and the historical sweep. Looking for a place to play in Nepal, New Guinea, Namibia or any place else the R&A holds sway? Look no further. But make sure to look at the new up-front essays commissioned for the edition, especially the nonpareil Hugh McIlvanney’s unforgettable tribute to Seve. Its opening note -– “Severiano Ballesteros: the name itself was like a quiet roll of drums” -– beats perfectly, barely hinting at the music to come.
 
Mastering Golf’s Toughest Shots: The World’s Best Caddies Share Their Secrets of Success
Author: James Y. Bartlett and the Professional Caddies Association
Publisher: Sellers Publising
 
The team behind “Think Like a Caddie, Play Like a Pro” reloads with the kind of inside info the best loopers drill into their pros. Its approach rests in the approach itself – train the brain in the strategies and course management tips that shave strokes and save pars. The insights from elite bagmen –- in tandem with appropriate anecdotes -– run the gamut from minimizing bad situations and getting up and down to using the rules and keeping it together under pressure. Too bad it doesn’t come with an implantable microchip that purrs like, say, Fluff or Bones.
 
Solid Contact: The Top Golf Coach’s Guide to Learning Your Swing DNA and Instantly Striking the Ball Better Than Ever 
Authors: Jim Hardy with Ron Kaspriske
Publisher: Gotham Books
 
Top 100 teacher Hardy deconstructs more than four decades of his plane truth about plane truths and comes up with this simple absolute: no swings are alike. What matters is impact, and and anything less than solid contact leaves tell-tale signs in the flight of the ball and the shape of the divot. Read those signs correctly –- Hardy’s mantra -– and all faults can be fixed with his analytical system of pluses and minuses and the drills he’s designed to equal things out. How well does it add up? The answer will likely fluctuate in direct proportion to the equation of time and effort put in.
 
Golf: Play Better the Golf Digest Way – Hone Your Game From Green to Tee
Author: Ron Kaspriske
Publisher: Universe
 
Butch Harmon, Jim Flick, Hank Haney and a gaggle of tourists from Watson and Couples to Lorena and Phil all contribute tips and fixes to this colorful and comprehensive instructional. For “Golf’s” best advice, jump to the final section. If its wisdom has little to do with hitting the ball, it’s still the kind of dope that makes for better golfers. Like Arnie’s order to speed it up. Style guru Marty Hackel’s plea to apply sunblock. And, courtesy of Bob Rotella, the most underrated and sure-fire game-enhancer of all: Ignore unsolicited swing advice. Amen.
 
Golf Rules Illustrated: The Official Illustrated Guide to the Rules of Golf – 2012-2015
Author: United States Golf Association
Publisher: Hamlyn
 
With another rules cycle comes another illustrated guide, a sensible, up-to-date primer to lead all golfers to the promised land of understanding the statutes that govern our limitations. Through drawings, photographs, examples and FAQs, the fog lifts and the mysteries unravel. The sad truth about the rules is that not enough of us pay attention, and anything that helps decode their arcana is a boon to the game. After all, the rules are our friends. Just ask James Bond; the rules certainly stirred him, leaving Golfinger badly shaken.

FEBRUARY
The Art of Golf
Authors: Rand Jerris, Catherine M. Lewis, Richard Anthony Lewis, Jordan Mearns, Christian Tico Seifert
Publisher: High Museum of Art

There's more to the game's artistry than Mickelson's lobs and Hogan's grace, artful though we've long considered them to be. In conjunction with one of the most comprehensive displays ever amassed of golfing oils, etchings, watercolors, and prints, Atlanta's High Museum has put together a handsome exhibition catalogue to make the show portable. The landscapes, portraits, posters and the like -- on the High's walls and in these pages -- offer a visual tour of the history of the game, and the trio of included essays nicely frames that. Wide enough to embrace Warhol, Rockwell, Charles Schulz, Charles Lees, Childe Hassam and even Rembrandt, the whole enterprise is a stunning reminder that golf's Masters can't be confined to a weekend in early April.

JANUARY
The Passion of Tiger Woods: An Anthropologist Reports on Golf, Race, and Celebrity Scandal
Author: Orin Starn
Publisher: Duke University Press

It was only a matter of time before Tiger's fall reached the critical mass that would elevate the discourse into ivory tower exegesis, and that time has come. A professor of cultural anthropology at Duke, and chair of the department, Starn is thoroughly transfixed by the deeper meanings of the game and Woods's position -- for better and for worse -- as a post-racial icon within it. With Tiger as its springboard, "Passion" dives into some big themes -- the subtitle barely supplies the half of it -- and comes up with a short, compelling and eminently engaging postulation that goes well beyond its own titular transgressor.  

The Complete Hogan: A Shot-By-Shot Analysis of Golf's Greatest Swing
Author: Jim McLean with Tom McCarthy
Publisher: Wiley

OK, here's Hogan's secret in a nutshell: Be Ben Hogan, be built like Ben Hogan, think like Ben Hogan, work like Ben Hogan, and look as snazzy under a cap as Ben Hogan. Short of that -- which is where the rest of us all fall -- Top 100 Instructor McLean offers some fascinating insight into what made the Icemon's swing the ideal pairing of grace and power that it was. By parsing Hogan's mechanics into eight essential pieces, then inspecting each in detail from different angles through photo sequences and exploratory prose, "Hogan" holds up a window into Hogan's artistry. You'll still need  Hogan's build, brain and work ethic, however, to maximize your chances of duplicating it.

 

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