Sir Walter and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Sir Walter: Walter Hagen and the Invention of Professional Golf Hardcover – February 15, 2005


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$49.93 $0.17

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Choose Your Own Autobiography
Step right into Neil Patrick Harris's shoes in an exciting, interactive autobiography that places the reader squarely in the driver's seat. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; New Ed edition (February 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743204867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743204866
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although the claim that Hagen "invented professional golf" is a stretch, the five-time PGA Championship winner undoubtedly influenced the sport. Hagen (1892–1969) grew up poor in Rochester, N.Y., but got a 10-cents-an-hour job at a local golf course when he was eight. Watching the men he caddied for taught him how to play the game as well as how to read people and greens, skills he quickly mastered. Journalist Clavin deftly shows how Hagen's success (by the time he was 30, he'd won national championships in the U.S., Great Britain and France) and his showman's personality inspired the 1920s boom in American golf course building, revolutionized the public's perception of the game and even led to the creation of the PGA. Clavin infuses his narrative with impressive facts: Hagen was the first player to use a tee (previously, golfers had hit their ball off a tiny mound of sand), the first golfer to start his own line of clubs and balls and the first person to stand up against the inferior treatment of professional golfers in comparison with their amateur counterparts. Clavin also captivatingly portrays Hagen's personal life, depicting him as a fun-loving sharp dresser with a carefree personality who could paint the town red at night and rule the greens during the day.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Professional golfers often give credit to Arnold Palmer for turning the sport into the big-money spectacle it is today. That's all true, but Tiger Woods and company should also tip their logo-bedecked hats to Walter Hagen, who, as Clavin makes clear in this long-overdue biography, almost single-handedly created the idea of the golf pro as sports star. When Hagen, a working-class boy from Rochester, New York, decided to make his living winning golf tournaments, the sport was reserved for well-bred amateurs like Bobby Jones. Professionals weren't allowed in the clubhouses at the courses where tournaments were held. Clavin carefully sets that context and then shows how Hagen changed it all. It was the Roaring Twenties, and the Haig, as he came to be called, quickly established himself as the Babe Ruth of golf: partying all night, arriving at the course in his tux, and changing clothes in his limousine. The public loved it, and with on-course heroics to match off-course flamboyance, Hagen soon pried open the clubhouse doors. A fascinating slice of golf history that has the panache of a Preston Sturges movie. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
12
4 star
5
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 17 customer reviews
Tom Clavin does an excellent job bringing Walter Hagen to life.
nolo2124
Walter Hagen, almost single handedly, changed all that with a bravado and audacity that would rival today's reality shows!
Downeastgolf
This book on Walter Hagen is a must read if you love reading about some of golf's past exceptional golfers.
Mrs. Suzanne Sweeney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Allen F. Richardson on August 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book, and an important American chronicle as well. Noted editor, journalist and golf writer Tom Clavin has gone where few have in the past, finally providing us with a stylish and authoritative biography of the great Walter Hagen, and of that man's lasting impact on the sport, both domestically and on the international stage. In doing so, Clavin has restored "The Haig" to his rightful place in the pantheon of golfing greats and as the true pioneer of American professional golf.

For anyone even remotely interested in the royal and ancient game, this book is a must and a joy. But for anyone who simply loves a good read, and one about a compelling personality-in other words, the type of sportsman who transcends his sport-this is also a book certainly worth the time and entertainment value.

Clearly, Clavin has a certain affection for this subject, but he also brings the cool eye of the practiced reporter to the tale, separating the caricature of "Sir Walter" from the reality, telling the man's story less as the tale of myth and exaggeration (which Hagen fully contributed to himself) that grew up around him, and is still filtered down to the present day by less talented and thorough writers.

Indeed, Hagen was perhaps the most colorful character ever to play the game at such a high level, and was certainly friendly with the most dynamic personalities and revelers of his era, such as Al Jolson and Babe Ruth. But he was also a fierce competitor and the frequent winner against a host of future Hall of Fame golfers, such as Ted Ray, J.H. Taylor, George Duncan, Chick Evans, Jock Hutchison, "Long" Jim Barnes, and of course, Gene Sarazen and Bobby Jones.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on March 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
There are a handful of sports players who come into a game and leave it quite differently than they found it. I'm not sure that Hagen could be considered the intentor of professional golf, but I am sure that he is a major contender for the title. It seems like a lot of people in the time between the world wars lived life that was bigger than life.

Walter Hagen, like his friend Babe Ruth, seemed to live life the way he wanted. As he said, he didn't want to be rich, he just wanted to live that way. And it seems that he did. Hard parties, triumph on the golf course the next day. Travel was by limousine with a second one for his clothes.

There was a darker side of course, two failed marriages, the death of his son by an accidental gunshot wound, and his own death from cancer - a legacy of 45 years of cigarette smoking.

Mr. Clavin has done a supurb job of bringing this man and his life to us.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RFXD on February 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
More than a golf book for people who love golf. Seabiscuit, Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, and, especially, Sir Walter evoke a bygone era of both professional sports and American culture that will never be duplicated. Clavin captures the essence of that era like no other golf book, or sports book, for that matter, that I have ever read. More than anything, when I finished this delicious narrative, I wanted grab my clubs and run out to play a round with Hagen - and then hang out with him and his famous friends in the Nineteenth Hole.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ran Merritt on October 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a retired Naval Flyer, I thought I had lived a grand life thus far, but Walter is my new role model. Don't hurry, don't worry, we're only here for a short visit, so be sure to stop and smell the flowers along the way. While this book has some sad realities of just living life, he was so genuine, fun, and good at his craft that you can't help but put his flaws aside and join the ranks of innumerable professional golfers who have praised him for his vision, bravado, and realistically for expanding the ream of professional golfers and opening doors that previously were very closed. I bought a set of Walter Hagen clubs from Dicks Sporting goods and decided to delve a bit into this unknown fellow and what I got was a wonderful history lesson in golf, sportsmanship, business acumen, and how to enjoy life to the fullest.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Heather Buchanan on February 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Even if you are not a golfer, you will enjoy this biography which vividly portrays a man who pioneered the role of the celebrity sports star. The Tiger Woods of his time, Sir Walter Hagen brought attention to the sport of golf as well as himself. Clavin brings alive the era of the roaring twenties and breathes life into his subject with numerous anecdotes which make you feel like you were there on the green in the tie-breaker with Hagen himself. And for someone like me who doesn't know a lot about the history or specifics of the sport of golf, it proved educational on the fine points of the game. Hagen also emerges personally as a real dandy, and a larger than life social figure who always created excitment wherever he went. He sounds just like the type of guy you'd like to hang out with at the pub.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. G. Johnson on July 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you are fascinated by larger than life sporting characters and want a captivating read then I highly recommend this biography of Walter Hagen. Tom Clavin's thorough research is complemented by a writing style that will keep you interested from the first page to the last.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews