From Publishers Weekly
magazine editor Peper (Playing Partners: A Father, a Son, and Their Shared Passion for Golf
) bought a townhouse beside the 18th hole of the Old Course in the Scottish village of St. Andrews and spent a few years living there and penning this pleasant homage to "golf's version of the Vatican." Peper soaks up the traditions, vistas and aura of the storied Royal and Ancient Golf Club, pokes gentle fun at the horrors of Scottish cuisine, reminisces about encounters with such celebrities as Jack Nicklaus and Sean Connery, and gives shot-by-shot recaps of some of his many confrontations with the Old Course (his goal was to shoot an under-par round). Peper writes with jaunty, understated good humor, lit with occasional flashes of exhilaration and despair depending on the vicissitudes of his game. The narrative calms down in accounts of his wife's remodeling of their townhouse or dull thumbnails of neighbors; often the book really feels like a story about a couple who retire to a golf course. But golf fans—devotées of one of life's most pedestrian thrills—will savor this walking-speed appreciation of their greatest shrine. Photos not seen by PW
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Peper, former editor of Golf Magazine,
bought a flat on the eighteenth fairway at St. Andrews' Old Course in the 1980s, moved there with his wife in 2003, and remodeled the 150-year-old home. In this memoir of his first two years in Scotland, he lives every golfers' dream: hanging his hat alongside the most revered golf course in the world, playing it regularly, and gradually coming to feel at home in the charming village of St. Andrews. It's hard to read this beguiling account without a touch of envy, but Peper successfully adopts a self-deprecating tone, in terms of both his own, hardly shabby golf game and his extensive connections throughout the golf world (name-dropping runs rampant, from Nicklaus to Prince Andrew). Still, his love of the game--and his ability to describe the enduring pleasures of a properly executed shot--will win most golfers over, even as they hack their way around charmless municipal courses and contemplate buying new furnaces for their suburban tear-downs. It's Under the Tuscan Sun
for golfers, with all the bittersweet pleasures that implies. Bill OttCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved