SIR WALTER: Walter Hagen and the Invention of Professional Golf

Tom Clavin, Author . Simon & Schuster $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7432-0486-6

Although the claim that Hagen "invented professional golf" is a stretch, the five-time PGA Championship winner undoubtedly influenced the sport. Hagen (1892–1969) grew up poor in Rochester, N.Y., but got a 10-cents-an-hour job at a local golf course when he was eight. Watching the men he caddied for taught him how to play the game as well as how to read people and greens, skills he quickly mastered. Journalist Clavin deftly shows how Hagen's success (by the time he was 30, he'd won national championships in the U.S., Great Britain and France) and his showman's personality inspired the 1920s boom in American golf course building, revolutionized the public's perception of the game and even led to the creation of the PGA. Clavin infuses his narrative with impressive facts: Hagen was the first player to use a tee (previously, golfers had hit their ball off a tiny mound of sand), the first golfer to start his own line of clubs and balls and the first person to stand up against the inferior treatment of professional golfers in comparison with their amateur counterparts. Clavin also captivatingly portrays Hagen's personal life, depicting him as a fun-loving sharp dresser with a carefree personality who could paint the town red at night and rule the greens during the day. Agent, Nat Sobel. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 12/13/2004
Release date: 02/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4391-4230-1
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-4767-1121-8
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