cover image Missing Links

Missing Links

Rick Reilly. Doubleday Books, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-385-47443-6

Some time ago, Reilly, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, contributed a humorous article about the Ponkapoag Golf Club, aka Ponky, a blue-collar golf course in Canton, Mass. The author's first novel returns to Ponky--changed here to the Ponkaquogue Municipal Course and Deli in Boston's working-class neighborhood of Dorchester--for a rollicking tale about a grungy group of ""Ponkys"" who aspire to play at the Mayflower, a nearby elite, invitation-only course. Narrator and Ponky leader Raymond Lee Hart initiates a group bet to see which member of his regular foursome can become the first Ponky to play at the snooty club. The Ponkys' schemes include a night raid on the Mayflower, a forgery scam and a pair of romances that offer potential access to a Mayflower foursome. Reilly resolves the bet halfway through the novel but saves his funniest moments for a final play in which Hart and another Ponky square off against Hart's stuffy, domineering father and a second Mayflower member. The humor occasionally flags, particularly when the author takes the father/son conflict a bit too seriously, and a working knowledge of golf is required to appreciate much of the funny stuff. But from scratch players to duffers, all who spend their leisure time chasing the little white ball will relish this wry tribute to the game. (June)