A Golfers Dream
A fellow from middle America decided to go on a quest a decade ago. He completed the quest by playing America’s Top 100 golf courses. He then decided to sit down and write a book about his travels.
Larry Berle dedicates 90 percent of the book to an anecdote-and-vignette approach to golf course review. He doesn’t go into tremendous architectural detail on every course, although he has a penchant for touching on important elements that might be overlooked by the average golfer.
I read and contribute to a forum for architecture called Golf Club Atlas. There are guys and ladies on that forum who know more about worldwide golf course architecture and its architects than I know about my own self. These guys won’t like Larry’s book for two reasons: he doesn’t talk enough about architecture and he absolutely loves Tom Fazio courses.
Fortunately, guys like me and them make up about 1 percent of 1 percent of golfers. Most golfers have never discussed Augusta National as a course, only as the home of The Masters. When they read Larry Berle’s words from Augusta, they feel as if they were there with him. When he gets spasmodic about starting on the par three course, then proceeding to the 18-hole course at Augusta, these golfers (the 99 percent of them) shift in their seats and wait for what comes next. When Larry announces that he spent about $250 in the Augusta National golf shop for souvenirs to bring back to his friends, golfers understand.adds two appendices to his course memories and reviews. Testimonial letters from his golfing wingmen and various sub-lists related to the course quest complement the episodic narrative structure. In my opinion, the best things about the book are that Larry Berle undertook and completed the grail quest, that he shared it with us, and that he shared it in his own voice, absent of any editorial polish. In that light, I’ll share with you a portion of the email that I sent to him upon completing the book:
I raced through the book (it arrived a few days ago) and really enjoyed your “personal voice.” You made no effort to adopt a narrative tone that differs (I imagine) from who you are. The book reads like a conversation at a bar or a cafe, and I expect that you like it that way.
I’m curious if you had an editor work with you on it. There are a few misspellings and some erroneous facts (Fred Couples got lucky on the 12th, not the 13th at Augusta.) You even misquote yourself at one point: On page 87, when describing the Stanwich Club in CT, you alude to William and David Gordon as “names I had never heard of before or since.” On page 124, when describing Saucon Valley Grace, you admit that it was designed by “William and David Gordon in the 1950s.” If you had affected an air of perfection from the beginning, these boo-boos would stand out; since you are yourself, they simply come across as humorous in a good way (There goes Larry again!)”
I get the sense that Larry Berle will take my observations as they were meant, simple edification. I get the sense that Larry Berle will laugh and say “Wow, I guess I did run into the Gordons again.!” I get the sense that if Larry Berle decides to undertake another quest and write another book, I will certainly be the first of many in line to read it.
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A guy probably spends a year writing a book and he has to hear back from RonMon - blogger of woe - with unsolicited corrections. (Newsflash Mon, it's already published. What's Larry supposed to be with your inane nit picking).
Shame on you BTuck for not knowing better than to give the book to the wacky high school teacher.
Tim Mac got the book; I went out on my own to get one. Larry said something about giving it to me instead of to that Richard from Las Vegas. Anyway, take a suck on a popsicle and reread the blog...it's not of woe in the least. The book is self-published and folksy and people need to know...that that's okay. It's the year of Boo Weekley and Larry Berle, the way I see it. When you learn to read, neanderthal I'll loan you my copy of the book.
It's a little different from Ron Mon's insightful analysis.
The guy could have used an editor and perhaps some help getting the flow to work better, BUT it is an interesting tale.
Of course, cadging the title from George Ryan's 1999 novel loses him points aplenty. Surprising that neither of you erstwhile "reviewers" mentioned that...