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Sam: The One And Only Sam Snead Hardcover – September 30, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 161 pages
  • Publisher: Sports Media Group; First Pr. edition (September 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587261812
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587261817
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,865,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Sam Snead was a much more complicated personality than he was often portrayed during his lifetime, and Al Barkow digs deep in an attempt to reveal the true man. (Bill Fields, Senior Editor, Golf World Magazine)

This book provides considerable insight into the many sides of one of the greatest golfers in history. Barkow does a fine job writing about Sam Snead the golfer. But he does an even better one writing about Sam Snead the person. (Dr. John Wagner, President, Pacific Coast Golf Association)

Sam Snead had character, and was a character, and this book allows you to see both. And there are a fair number of great golf tips and tournament and exhibition stories sprinkled throughout. (Armchair Interviews)

Only a legend could capture the legendary Samuel Jackson Snead, and Al Barkow did it. Snead caught fish with his hands, Barkow caught Snead with his fingertips. An absolute keeper. (Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated, author of To the Linksland)

I've been a fan of Al Barkow since reading Golf's Golden Grind in college 35 years ago. He's one of the game's best story tellers and historians....Snead and Barkow are two of the greats. (Jerry Tarde, editor-in-chief, Golf Digest)

In this insightful biography of a legend and one of golf's true characters, Al Barkow brings Sam Snead to life in a way only someone who knows the game and is fascinated by human nature can do. He hits a Grand Slam in this look at Slammin' Sammy Snead. (Lorne Rubenstein, author, A Season in Dornoch The Globe and Mail, (Canada))

I was always a great admirer of Sam Snead's game. The first time I played with this golf legend I spent days trying to emulate his simple, silky-smooth, almost-effortless swing. But I think you will find in this biography by Al Barkow that the man behind the simple swing was more complex than most of the public knew. (Jack Nicklaus)

Al Barkow is golf's greatest historian. He proves it once again with this wonderful read about Sam Snead, a complex and fascinating character. Barkow gets it right: Sam was larger than life and a common man wrapped up in one compelling package. (Peter Kessler, Making the Turn, Sirius XM Satellite Radio)

From his definitive book on the golden era of golf, Gettin' to the Dance Floor, Al Barkow has taken his Snead chapter and layered the story of this American folk hero with reporting and perspective that no golf writer of this generation possibly can. (Tim Rosaforte, Golf World, NBC, Golf Channel)

Sam Snead is golf's folk hero, ethereal and earthy all at once. Al Barkow understands both aspects and brings humanity to the most misunderstood of the great champions. (Jaime Diaz, senior writer, Golf Digest)

Few people have seen, heard, spoken and written as much about golf and golfers as Al Barkow, and no one is better-suited to the task of presenting such a thoroughly humanizing treatment of the incomparable Sam Snead. With a keen eye for detail and first-hand acquaintance with his subject, Barkow brings the real Snead to life by revealing the character behind the caricatures. (Larry Dorman The New York Times)

...[C]ould be the best golf star biography ever. Tremendously well researched, beautifully written, amazingly complete, superbly organized, honest as necessary in the tough parts but always with an underlying warmth for the man. (Ken Bowden)

Some years ago, the one and only Barkow, a grand continuing presence among golfing scribes, filtered the Snead myth and caricature through his experienced typewriter and out of it came a rich illustrated biography smart and thorough enough to let Snead stand on his own two limber legs. Scrape the façade from the Slammer and there's real gold underneath in the wealth of human nature that Barkow reveals through new reporting and his own long memory and insight. Sadly, Sam disappeared shortly after publication, a calamity happily rectified with a new edition designed more to be read than looked at. (

Looking behind the exterior of the hall of famer, Al Barkow tells his story like never before. Sam is a fine addition to any golf history collection. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Al Barkow is a veteran golf reporter and recipient of the 2005 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. His work on golf and golfers includes That's Golf: The Best of Barkow; Gene Sarazen and Shell's Wonderful World of Golf with Mary Ann Sarazen; and The Golden Era of Golf: How America Rose to Dominate the Old Scots Game, among many others. Barkow was chief writer on the original Shell's Wonderful World of Golf television series and has coauthored numerous books of golf instruction with PGA professionals, including Ken Venturi, Billy Casper, and Dave Stockton.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Good book for golf enthusiast .easy read.
Doug Crawford
It presents a great insight into the man, his roots, the impact of his parents work ethic and their commitment to their children.
Aussie Dave
Al Barkow has created a winner with his book - "SAM - The One and Only Sam Snead."
Gene Haas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gene Haas on December 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Al Barkow has created a winner with his book - "SAM - The One and Only Sam Snead."

For those who only know the current crop of golfers, e.e., Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, as being outstanding, there just happened to be an abundance of great golfers more than fifty years ago. The likes of Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Ralph Guldahl, Jimmy Demaret, Jackie Burke, Jr., Lloyd Mangrum, Bobbie Locke, Julius Boros, Porky Oliver, Henry Picard, Johnny Bulla....and a host of others, most of whom have long been forgotten... and then, the one-and-only Sam Snead,take a back seat to no one.

Snead was probably the greatest golfer of them all, although Hogan and Nelson followers may not agree with that statement. Unfortunately, golf greatness is often measured by victories in majors, especially the US Open. Since Sam never won one of these, his name doesn't surface to the top when evaluating the greats. Wisconsin's own Andy North, won two US Opens, but he doesn't come close to Snead's accomplishments. Snead's eighty-four PGA Tour victories, and more than one hundred tournament wins, easily outdistances him from all the other golfers.

Aside from Sam's golf achievements, Barkow has wonderfully described Snead's heritage and upbringing, along with the many tragedies that occurred in his life. Somehow, after reading the book you feel that you've known Sam Snead all your life. The unshameful manner that he conducted himself with other people, regardless of their status in life, set Sam aside from his peers. His down-home style of conversation, and even his raunchy joke story-telling before large social groups, told everyone that "this was Sam speaking.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on October 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Do you love golf? Do you love history? Do you love biographies? If you answered "yes" to any two of these three, then you should read Sam--The One and Only Sam Snead.

Al Barkow does a wonderful job of making Sam Snead come alive as a player and a person. Sam Snead was probably one of the most athletically gifted people to ever play golf. Well into his sixties he could jump straight up from a standing position and touch the top of a seven foot door with his foot. In his seventies he could still bend over to pick up a golf ball from a cup without bending his knees. He was the Tiger Woods and John Daly of his day. In an exhibition he often used a persimmon driver and a balata ball and would average over three hundred yards with them.

He won 81 PGA tournaments, a record that still stands, yet his career winnings from all of them would total less than one first place finish of a mid-level tour event today. As a human being he was generous to family, friends, and the community. He bought the house his brother Homer raised his family in and provided another house for his sister, Janet. Nearly every church in the county where he lived most of his life can point to a piano, organ, or new roof only because of Sam's private generosity.

Any tour pro or club professional down on his luck could count on Sam to help out--even if the debt could never be repaid.

Sam Snead had character and was a character and this book allows you to see both. And there are a fair number of great golf tips and tournament and exhibition stories sprinkled throughout.

Armchair Interviews says: Buy it for your coffee table or collection, but take the time to read it first.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Samuel E. Spear on May 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Sam Snead was a legend in every sense of that much-overused word and veteran golf writer Al Barkow has fashioned a biography that anyone will enjoy. However, if you're a serious student of The Slammer's career (that is, if you've already read 1962's "The Education of a Golfer" and 1996's "The Game I Love"), you'll find "Sam - The One and Only Sam Snead" absolutely invaluable for filling in gaps that have existed for years. In this book, you'll learn about the family relationships that motivated (and sometimes hindered) Sam Snead, including several quite poignant passages concerning his disabled son. You'll also learn about the only golf lesson Sam Snead ever had, the reasons he was viewed with some disdain by the golfing "establishment", and the heretofore unmentioned reasons that he never won the U. S. Open (including a possible conspiracy by longtime USGA director Joe Dey). You'll also learn for the first time EXACTLY how many U. S. Opens Sam Snead would have won if he could have shot 69 in the final round every time. An amusing bonus consists of a short chapter that "reconstructs" what he was thinking as he made that fateful 8 on the 72nd hole to lose the 1939 U. S. Open. If you're looking for an exceptionally informative course of "graduate studies" concerning the career of Sam Snead, this is the book you've been waiting for!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lyle Slovick on March 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful photos of Sam, many I had never seen before. Barkow is a great writer and if you haven't already, read everything he has written about golf. You can't go wrong. This book offered insights into Sam's personal life - his marriage and the tragic circumstance of his developmentally disabled son Terrance - that were a revelation to me, and I have been reading golf biographies and histories for 30 years. A great book. You will learn more about Sam than you had known before, which is something you can't say about many books.
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