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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: The Caddie Who Won the Masters

Here's another of my occasional book reviews, and this one's unusual because it's a novel.

Although John Coyne's most recent novels have been golf-oriented (The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan and The Caddie Who Played With Hickory), some of you may may actually know him better as a horror novelist. One of his novels, The Legacy, was made into a movie back in the late 1970s.

Coyne book coverThe Caddie Who Won the Masters actually has some of the trappings of a supernatural novel, what with the ghosts of some legendary people from Masters history walking the course along with some of today's superstars... although the superstars are completely unaware of their spectral companions.

But an amateur who qualified for the Masters -- a caddie from the Midwest, Tim Alexander -- can see them. All of them. These legends have a problem and they need Alexander's help. And they have some advice for him as well -- not just advice about playing Augusta National, but advice that could save his wife's life...

I don't know exactly how to review a novel like this, since I don't want to give away too much. The blurb on the back of the book likens it to Field of Dreams, and that seems as good a description as any to give you an idea of what it's like.

And I can tell you that Coyne's a good writer. Perhaps it's his background writing genre horror, which has given him a lean narrative style that doesn't get bogged down in description or the sound of his own voice. Maybe it's his past experience as a caddie, which gives him an appreciation for the game that a lot of other people might not have.

But it's a very different sort of golf novel from anything you may have read before. If you're looking for a fun read, you might want to give it a look.

Click the pic to go to the paperback page at BN.com. It's also available as a NOOK book, and Amazon has a Kindle version.

2 comments:

  1. I'll have to check it out. I've been wanting to read more golf related books. If I had to read 3 instructional books, what do you think they should be? Ruthless Putting of course:-D So i guess only two more.

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  2. In no particular order:

    1) "Bobby Jones on Golf," a collection of newspaper columns Jones wrote in the 1930s. Not just good information, but extremely entertaining. Jones had a dry sense of humor that comes through without diluting what he teaches.

    2) "Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf," Ben Hogan. A great explanation of what has become the modern swing. You can't understand modern golf if you haven't read Hogan.

    3) "Golf My Way," Jack Nicklaus. His original book, and the one that players as diverse as Greg Norman and K.J. Choi credit as the basis of their games. Jack's approach is much simpler than you might think.

    And I would add a fourth:

    4) "Understanding the Golf Swing," Manuel de la Torre. de la Torre's book is the most practical approach to the classic swing as it was taught between Jones and Hogan. As much as I like books by teachers like Jim Flick and Bob Toski, this one is the best.

    I think those are the classics that everybody should read. I can think of other books I like:

    "Golf Annika's Way," Annika Sorenstam

    "The Bobby Jones Way," John Andrisani

    "Dave Pelz's Short Game Bible," Dave Pelz

    ...to name a few, but the classics are the most important.

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