Two recent golf books from Christina Ricci and Jimmy Roberts
The golf man from television, Jimmy Roberts, released a book in 2009 titled “Breaking The Slump.” His aim was to consult 15 male professionals, 1 ex-speed skater, 1 female professional and 1 ex-USA president and determine how they assessed, coped with, and ultimately emerged from career-threatening slumps. Outrage over the obvious omissions is justified: why only one ex-president? uncomfortable around over-thighed olympic athletes? afraid of women?
The book, for what it is, is a nice compendium of stories from other people. There are no profound Roberts insights here. The language is not his, but that of the subjects. He does not tell stories here, as some of the praise on the cover suggests, but re-tells anecdotes, philosophies and theories. The golf literature world has swollen recently, to the point where there are almost no new ideas for books. As a result, writers like Roberts who might have a unique story to tell have to pass fodder like this off before getting a chance to write something individual.
Decision: It’s a nice, coffee-table book, a series of quick reads without much depth. Many of the stories are part of golfing lore, having been told and re-told on television and in print. If you haven’t heard or read these stories before, you’ll appreciate the insight. I suggest examining the index before plunking down your $25.
Christina Ricci makes her debut with “A Girl’s On-Course Survival Guide To Golf.” This book is spiral bound with an overlapping cover of pink and black diamonds. It looks trendy and cute. It has caricatures of long, tall and slim Barbie types who represent about 1% of the world’s women.
If those observations come off as a knock, fine. It appears how Ricci wanted it to appear. The look is planned, pre-meditated and well-executed. The book itself is not the tiny tome that Roberts produced (see above) but a true collection of practical and applicable suggestions, fundamentals and lessons that will help any golfer get better, know the game and rules better, and enjoy and improve at golf.
I like that Ricci didn’t go slurping for celebrities to endorse her effort. Marc Spencer, a PGA professional from New Hampshire, calls the book “cool", “hysterical” and “jam-packed with fundamentals.” As Meatloaf sang over and over, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. It gets you in a lot of halls of fame. The book is cool…it employs trendy graphics, a six-figured symbologist’s system for quick reference (Rules, Etiquette, Mental, Advanced, Do This, Don’t Do This) and precise photography. If I had to crow about two things, I’d tell you to not miss this book for the organization and the photography.
The book is jam-packed. It took Ricci five years to go from a 30 to a 5 handicap and you (man or woman) should establish a similar time table to truly benefit from the book. It’s not entertainment, after all; it’s a road map, a guide to improvement. The book is not hysterical, Mr. Spencer. It has a brief section on golf jokes suited for the pre-teen set or the confessional. As we all know, the best golf jokes involve frequent vulgarity, references to unmentionables and lots of laughter. Hysteria was probably not among Ricci’s reasons for composing this work.
Decision: Worth the $20. As a gift for a young golfer, as a reward for finishing a project, receiving a promotion or completing a school year, the OCSG from Christina Ricci is worth every penny. Use it to supplement lessons from your pro (as the author suggests) and you’ll certainly follow her path toward low-handicap status.
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