cover image 18 Holes with Bing: Golf, Life, and Lessons from Dad

18 Holes with Bing: Golf, Life, and Lessons from Dad

Nathaniel Crosby and John Strege. Morrow/Dey Street, $22.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-241428-1

This heartfelt tribute to much-loved crooner Bing Crosby by his son, a former pro golfer, paints a portrait of a mellow man who loved life on the links. Supported by a foreword by golf great Jack Nicklaus, Crosby calls his Oscar-winning actor-singer father “the most popular entertainer of his day”; Bing Crosby sold over a half a billion albums, sang the hit single “White Christmas,” and still filled venues until his death in 1977. The musical icon, who started the Bing Crosby Pro-Am golf tournament in 1937, said the sport was “kind of passport to relaxation and happiness,” catching the golf bug as a young caddie at a course in Spokane, Wash. His son writes of the singer’s long friendships with Bob Hope and Louis Armstrong, and sometimes he overplays Bing’s influence on black singers in the 1930s and ’40s. Bing turned down the lead role on the TV show Columbo because of a scheduling conflict with his golf. Crosby detours briefly to defend his image-conscious father, blasting his half-brother Gary Crosby’s 1983 tell-all, Going My Own Way, which claimed that the singer physically abused his children. For the most part, this compelling remembrance focuses on the enduring star and his overwhelming yen for golf. (May)