One-Minute Book Reviews

June 15, 2007

The Five People You Meet on a Golf Course: Billy Mott’s Novel, ‘The Back Nine’

Filed under: Novels — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:56 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

An actor and caddy tees off with a tale of a 40-year-old man who, out of the blue, becomes the best player in golf

Finished The Back Nine (Knopf, $24), which I quoted in a post earlier this week. And while I don’t know the author’s golf handicap, his writing handicap is about a 12. Billy Mott is a Los Angeles actor and caddy who deftly evokes the tedium, servility and ruthlessness of the caddy shack at a California golf club. But his novel is otherwise pure escapist fiction: stock characters and a far-fetched plot with lots of golf play-by-play and an overlay of Mitch Albom–style sentimentality about father-son relations. At the age of 40, washed-up Charlie MacLeod returns to a sport that he abandoned years earlier and, out of the blue, becomes the best player in golf while falling into the orbit of a nasty group of high-rollers who bet on matches. Can he maintain his integrity when confronted by people with nicknames like the Czar? What would Mitch Albom say?

© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

June 5, 2007

Lorne Rubenstein’s ‘A Season in Dornoch: Golf and Life in the Scottish Highlands’

A memoir of playing on the best golf course you’ve never heard of

Sports books sell in inverse proportion to the size of the ball, publishing lore says. Golf books sell better than baseball books, which sell better football books. And apart from athletes’ memoirs, the best-selling golf-books tend to be instructional manuals (like Golf for Dummies) or coffee table–toppers (like the opulent Where Golf Is Great: The Finest Courses of Scotland and Ireland).

A Season in Dornoch: Golf and Life in the Scottish Highlands (Citadel, $14.95, paperback) transcends those categories. Globe and Mail golf columnist Lorne Rubenstein offers a beautifully written account of a summer that he spent living in the Scottish Highlands and playing golf at the Royal Dornoch Golf Club www.royaldornoch.com, a place with a cult following instead of the superstardom of spots like St. Andrews and Gleneagles.

But Rubenstein’s book is about more than the mystique of this remote and storied course. A Season in Dornoch is about Scottish history, Highland music and the allure of playing on links (“a landscape of blown sand created by the action of the wind on the seashore”). Sean Connery, the world’s best-known Scottish nationalist, wrote the foreword. And five-time British Open champion Tom Watson rightly says in a blurb: “Rubenstein gives the reader a feel for what makes the appeal of the Highlands so enduring. He brings the place and its people to life.”

© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 373 other followers

%d bloggers like this: