cover image Passion for Golf: In Pursuit of the Innermost Game

Passion for Golf: In Pursuit of the Innermost Game

Roland Merullo. Lyons Press, $20 (176pp) ISBN 978-1-58574-162-5

For ""average hackers"" who struggle weekly to lower their scores, this slender, accessible guide offers insight into the emotional stumbling blocks that get in the way of improvement and, most importantly, enjoyment of the game. Merullo is not a professional golfer. He is a fiction writer whose books have explored the legacy of family relationships (Revere Beach Boulevard) and the juxtaposition of personal and national drama (A Russian Requiem). In his first nonfiction title, he continues his theme of relationships, using the lessons of golf that reach beyond the swing plane into our personal life. With quotations from such poets and mystics as Thoreau, Lao Tzu and Theresa of Avila, Merullo reveals how the mental game of golf affects the physical one. The chapter on ego is particularly pertinent. ""Ego is the absence of true knowledge of who we really are...."" Perhaps Sogyal Rinpoche did not have the average golfer in mind, but anyone who has attempted to hit a ball 180 yards out of the rough from under the spreading branches of two trees lurking eight feet apart knows the meaning of those words. Similar chapters on anger, fear, etiquette and humility feature personal anecdotes as well as tales of fallible professionals. A poignant observation, ""No one begins a round thinking he will shoot his worst score, just as no one gets married thinking she will be miserable,"" sums up the innermost game of golf: ""Without a certain amount of hope... we would not put the tee in the ground."" Readers who enjoyed Michael Murphy's Zen of golf classic, Golf in the Kingdom, should have room for this slender, spiritual journey in their Christmas stocking. (Dec.)