Monday, December 24, 2007

Book Review: The Poetics of Golf

A golf book that is similar to a round of golf at least concerning its interest-provoking quality. That’s the conclusion I reached after reading and then rereading several sections of Andy Brumer’s most recent volume The Poetics of Golf. The journey through the book was like a round of golf, ups and downs, peaks and valleys, and a few surprises along the way. But in reflection I can say that regardless of how I felt through one chapter, I was always ready to go to the next.

Brumer has a most credible background in golf journalism - a former editor of Golf Tips magazine and most recently a coauthor with Bobby Clampett on The Impact Zone: Mastering Golf’s Moment of Truth. He also has a history in art literature which probably lends a hint to his liking and occasional reference to Michael Murphy’s symbolistic volume Golf in the Kingdom.

The book is actually a collection of essays and thoughts divided into five sections each one focusing on a central theme. Part One, Golf as Memoir, is largely autobiographical and offers some interesting insight into Brumer’s lifelong journey with golf. If you want to know what makes him tick, read this part. Part Three, The Golf Swing as the Axis of the World, became my favorite and really saved the book for me. This section makes an effort to explain the mystical quality of the golf swing as well as examining the technical. If you play golf and are remotely interested in your golf swing, you will thoroughly enjoy this insight. You’ll be introduced to Moe Norman and Homer Kelly, two men who were unique instructors in the world of golf. Golf and the Soul, the final section, will be most appealing to those golfers among us who are zen-like, constantly looking for a reason why golf affects us like it does. The chapter on Golf and Spirituality will best be enjoyed once you have stepped outside yourself and let your mind be influenced by elements other than reality.

So, if you’re a golfer and have an undeniable passion for golf literature, get your hands on Brumer’s The Poetics of Golf. It will whet your appetite for the mystical side of golf using the game itself as a looking glass.