Thursday, August 28, 2008

Book Review - Teeing Off

Back again with another recommendation for your late summer reading pleasure. You see we view it as our mission to inform you of good golf literature. Lord knows there is no shortage of journalism – good, bad and ugly - when it comes to our favorite game. So let’s get on with it.

Teeing Off by Ken Bowden

Teeing Off is a compendium of journalism from a lifetime covering the game. For forty years Bowden has been in press tents around the world – an insider if you like. His book is a lifetime of reflection on that experience. During that time Bowden has developed a close association with Jack Nicklaus similar to the relationship that O.B. Keeler had with Bobby Jones. He shares some of that “insider” time with us.

The book is neatly organized into five major sections – Players, Technique, Characters, Experiences and Reflections. Within these sections Bowden gives us a wide variety of golden nuggets from his years in the game. Most of his recollections are but a page or two long. To his credit Bowden gets your reading adrenalin flowing in the very first chapter, “My Greatest of the Greats.” In nine pages we get his baker’s dozen of the all time greats of the game. You can agree or disagree with his assessment, but it’s a gutsy and fascinating start. As a result of the diversity within the book, one never gets bored or lulled to sleep with an endless rambling of stories. As a teacher of the game I found his second section, Technique, most intriguing especially the discussions on "The Secret" and whether or not "Published Instruction (is) Gold or Garbage." You'll find this interesting.

My only disappointment was a glaring factual error in Bowden’s first chapter. In a short biological paragraph on Hogan, he lists the year of Hogan’s car/bus accident as 1940. If memory serves me correctly, the accident occurred in 1950. That error aside Teeing Off provides us with an engaging reflection from a career on the inside. Get your foursome to read this book. It'll make some rousing nineteenth hole discussion.

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