On Par: The Everyday Golfer’s Survival Guide

Bill Pennington, Author
Bill Pennington. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-547-54844-9
Reviewed on: 03/05/2012
Release date: 05/15/2012
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Called “the voice of the everyday golfer,” Pennington, the New York Times “On Par” columnist, writes a hilarious, informative primer on the essentials of golf, schooling novices or the professional bewitched by mastering the links. The author is sometimes long-winded about his passion for golfing, describing the noble sport of the fairways as “an endeavor of hope, fear, disappointment, glee, perseverance, abandonment, unrelenting gratification and unexpected reward.” He talks in glowing terms of the sport “invented by a bunch of bored Scottish sheepherders,” going over the necessary preparation of selecting tees, golf bags, clubs, or putting, and making recovery shots from the woods, stating that no other sport will test you in the same way. A chapter on golf-speak will tickle readers with a sampling of the colorful jargon of golf pros such as air mail (overshooting), cabbage (deep rough), or Saddam Hussein (going from bunker to bunker). Tongue-in-cheek, he writes the role of being a good golf partner means effective teamwork rather than attracting attention with “mismatched socks or an unzipped fly.” No golf guide would be complete without mention of Annika Sorenstam, Tiger Woods, or Lee Trevino, with lessons learned from these great players. With a few chuckles and basic instruction, Pennington’s book effectively consolidates the wealth of knowledge from his beloved column, while delighting those who are perplexed by the puzzle that is the sport of golf. (May)
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