cover image The Seventh at St. Andrews: How Scotsman David McLay Kidd and His Ragtag Band Built the First New Course on Golf’s Holy Soil in Nearly a Century

The Seventh at St. Andrews: How Scotsman David McLay Kidd and His Ragtag Band Built the First New Course on Golf’s Holy Soil in Nearly a Century

Scott Gummer, Author . Gotham $27.50 (263p) ISBN 978-1-592-40322-6

When Scotland’s storied St. Andrews Links Trust decided to build a seventh golf course (due to open in 2008), the well-known golf architect David McLay Kidd was commissioned. Golf journalist Gummer’s authorized account of the construction project is essentially a story of men pushing dirt into small mounds and planting it with grass. But there’s an art to what looks so simple: sculpting both a challenging course and bucolic vistas with a “craggy, ancient, organic” look out of a potato field dominated by a sewage treatment plant; balancing playability with aesthetic, drainage and maintenance considerations; selecting bunker sand; and defending newly seeded turf against trespassers and rabbits. Gummer’s engaging narrative, dotted with Kidd’s hole-by-hole analyses, captures these nuances. Unfortunately, the author trowels on hype worthy of a playoff round. Kidd’s management style is “like a run-and-shoot passing attack,” while his bulldozer crews “possessed the vision, the talent and the balls to lead and not just follow.” Gummer’s inapt sports metaphors segue into business-speak: “DMK Golf Design is no different from a successful sports team... total commitment is paramount.” Readers will have to hack their way out of knee-high clichés to get to the fairway. (Oct.)