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Two Years in St. Andrews: At Home on the 18th Hole Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 30, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former Golf 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. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743262824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743262828
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.7 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George Peper is one of America's most respected golf journalists. For 25 years he was Editor-in-Chief of GOLF Magazine, with a total readership of 7 million. He is currently Editor of LINKS Magazine where his column appears in each issue.

Peper is the author or editor of 20 books on golf, two of them New York Times best sellers. He has written scripts for two dozen videos and television shows. His script for The Story of Golf, a two-hour documentary for Public Broadcasting, won him an Emmy nomination.

Peper's commitment to golf and golf course architecture was recognized in 2008 when he was presented the Donald Ross Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Previous recipients include Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson, and Robert Trent Jones. In 2009 the Metropolitan Golf Writers presented him the Lincoln Werden Award for lifetime achivement to golf journalism.

Among his contributions to the game are "Pace Ratings" which establish playing times for golf courses and "The Need System" which was adopted by the USGA as the recommended method for allocating handicap strokes across 18 holes. Peper is also the originator of GOLF Magazine's biennial list of the Top 100 Courses in the World.

For 30 years Peper owned a home on the 18th hole of the Old Course in St Andrews. He and his wife lived there full time for a while and their experiences became the source of one of his most popular books, Two Years in St Andrews. He now lives in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and Vero Beach, Florida.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
George Peper had a wonderful experience in St. Andrews and, thanks to his low-key, affectionate book about the town and its people, we have one, too. He captures all things good about St. Andrews and Scotland - the friendliness and decency of the people, the feel of the air, the light on the hills and sea, the feeling of standing at the first tee of the Old Course, and the uncanny sense of being exactly where you want to be.
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Format: Hardcover
I've taken two trips to St. Andrews and can definitely relate to George's Peper's outstanding take on the place. I treasured every sentence of these 299 pages. He's really nailed the spirit of St. Andrews, both the setting and its people. I'm not a mad, keen golfer, and my wife - like Peper's - is disinterested in the sport itself. But - like me - she loves the atmosphere of the place. One of the greatest things in the world is to sit on the steps in front of the 18th green and watch group and group tumble home with big, goofy grins on their faces. It's a fabulous way to spend an early evening.

Peper's character really shows through here. When you read his bio on the backflap, it's only then that you get a sense of the depth of his accomplishments in golf and journalism. The book taken at face value gives you the impression that he sort of tumbled into some of these accomplishments (hello, R&A Competition Committee!) by being at the right place at the right time. While I'm sure luck played a small part, there's also the matter of talent and hard work. First, the guy can flat-out write. He's funny, engaging and perceptive. Second, the guy works hard. At one point, he lets on regarding the assignments he's juggling. He's definitely not slacking over there!

The two other characters worth mentioning:

- Mr. Peper's neighbor Gordon Murray. There's that expression "it's not what you know, it's who you know"...Gordon seems the living embodiment of that and of what Pepard calls "Gordon's three degrees of separation" (none of that six degrees stuff applies here).

- Millie Peper. This Westie charmer is surely the cutest thing on four legs to hit the Old Course in some time.
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Format: Hardcover
An experienced wordsmith, Peper memoirs his decision to spend two years in their invested real estate lining the sacred 18th at golf's home.

Reminiscent of Rubenstein's excellent book: A Season at Dornoch, former editor of Golf magazine Peper and his wife venture to live in their St. Andrews adventure home.

There is just one great memory after another recalled enjoyably and in adventerous fashion by this pro writer and avid golfer and full of life fellow who exhibits humility while brushing lifes and rounds of golf and drinks with golf elite and St. Andrews citizens.

The differences in culture and golfing are explored, with the Scottish life clearly providing what Peper terms: "a life mulligan." A more purer, innocent, slower, less marketed way of life.

The golf stories are worth the read, especially humorous tale of the H.W. Wind nameplate.
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Format: Hardcover
This has to be one of the "Gems" of Golf Travel books.

From start of finish I found this book well written, humorous, sophisticated and wonderfully self-effacing. I would like to meet George Peper; I'm sure we would get along very well. Maybe a game on the Old Course would do the trick.

This is a fabulously entertaining tale of George and his wife's move to St. Andrews from an important position in the U.S.A., namely editor of Golf Digest. The story begins with the acquisition of an apartment overlooking the hallowed turf of the 18th Green of the Old Course at St.Andrews, the home of Golf.

George has the extremely good fortune of being a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and sets about using this privilege to good effect. Not only does he become a popular and successful member, he also achieves a long held ambition; playing a round on the Old Course in Par.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have been inspired by his "two years of golf" and long to follow his example by playing the Old Course, at least once.

His fondness for the people of St. Andrews and Scotland in general comes through with a warmth and genuinely felt emotion.

I can not imagine anyone finding this book disappointing. To me it has been a wonderful windfall.
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Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It is well written and offers many insights into the world of golf.... which can be both good and bad. As for his writing style, humor, and penchant for witty observations, I give Mr. Peper 5 stars. However, by the end of the book I was annoyed by the author's thinly veiled anti-American tone. Given the opportunity our nation has afforded him (what golfer would not want to live overlooking The Old Course?), it was disappointing to read his dismissal of American life and of a polarized American society. Ironic, since Mr. Peper does offer us some background about why the Scots are polarized by golfing clubs, land-use issues, aristocracy, and their English counterparts. Perhaps he misses golf's biggest lesson: that mankind's nature is immutable and inevitable no matter which course we play. Otherwise, it is a fine book.
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