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The Caddie Who Played with Hickory Hardcover – April 29, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In Coyne's engrossing hole-in-one (after The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan), it's the summer of 1946 and Tommy O'Shea, a top caddie at Midlothian Country Club, gets a fantastic chance to challenge golfing legend Walter Hagen in the last important golf match of his life. To do so, Tommy must be proficient in the usage of hickory golf clubs, the kind Hagen used to win his first U.S. Open in 1914. At stake is a $1,000 prize that could finance farmer's-son Tommy's college dreams. In walks Harrison Cornell, a WWII vet and former POW, who wants to caddie for Hagen. As it turns out, Harrison has a secret score to settle with Hagen dating back to 1941. As Tommy prepares to compete against Hagen—one of golf's first superstars—he learns much about golf and life from Harrison (Carry your own clubs. Be your own man), flirts with a club waitress and falls for Val, a member's daughter. Coyne's neat plotting and firm grip on even the most obscure corners of the sport make this the perfect treat for hackers and pros alike. (May)
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"A highly entertaining must-read for anyone interested in hickory golf or the history of the game. I loved it!"
-- Randy Jensen, 7-time National Hickory Golf Champion
"John Coyne knows his golf history, its characters and the game. He spins a story that includes a mysterious character, a hero, a romance, a semi-villain, and a classic golf match into a believable tale."
-- Dr. Gary Wiren, noted golf teacher, and former Director of Research and Learning for the PGA of America
“The legendary Walter Hagen, Chicago’s greatest amateur golfer, Chick Evans, hickory clubs and Chicago’s Midlothian Country Club are all featured in this tense story of championship golf and summer romance. John Coyne spins a tale so involving, the reader is in enjoyable suspense about the outcome of every putt.”
-- Jerry Dudek, Director of Development, Evans Scholars Foundation/Western Golf Association
Top customer reviews
After reading "The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan" I was excited to read his next novel as I enjoyed this one so very much! Well, the waiting game is always tough when you know his next "Caddie" novel will probably be even better. And you know what? It was! I just finished his latest golf classic, "The Caddie Who Played with Hickory" and I just wasn't able to put it down. Mixed with accurate history of the game and its players and a great story line about a young man who has a lifetime ahead of him. His experiences with golf and class lines and love and friendship and honor and all the things that shape out lives into what we turn into as adults is believable. It is set in a time that was not so crowded with television and computers and telephones and media pounding our minds to accept a version of the truth that really isn't.
We can all let go for awhile and enjoy a good book by Mr. Coyne. I reluctantly finished his book with a tear of happiness from all the nostalgia and the culmination of the characters and how they all managed to live out their lives in a richer way from knowing each other.
The golf aspect of this story was well written and will keep even the most avid of golfers entertained and on the edge of their seats. I believe that those of you who do not play this wonderful game will enjoy this excellent story as well because of the human drama of the journey from the innocence of youth to adulthood that develops throughout this enjoyable read. Don't hesitate. Read it, and you will agree that it is indeed a classic in the making.
People who aren't necessarily interested in golf shouldn't overlook this book because the book is about a lot more than that. First and foremost, the book explores the class divide between the haves and the haves not in Post WWII Chicago in a way that offers a commentary on our own times. And Coyne also writes very well about first love and passion on those summer nights of our youth which we all remember, and yearn for still. Coyne's women are three dimensional and sexy, the caddies who long for them mysterious and haunted by what they saw in the war. And then there's a whole lot of golf. I knew nothing about the game pre-steel shafts, am thinking of taking a swing with a hickory stick myself. A minor footnote to all of this is how the book chronicles the ways in which environmental change shape our lives. When hickory became scarce in the earlier part of the century due to over-harvesting, golf clubs and a lot of other things besides (for example drumsticks...in fact many ballroom songs of 20's included references to "hickory sticks") became a thing of the past. Coyne takes us back there through this story about a caddie and his triumph over not only the notorious Walter Hagen on the links, but over the high wall of class division.
book. It was hard to put it down once I started reading, I really liked the bits of history that were included in the story, it makes
you wish you could have been there during that time period when clubs were hand made and still being used. Excellent book!!!
hackers like me and my friends and family. I found myself
in the gallery talking to myself about which club to pull
and how to play the shots! When the last page turned, I
wanted to play the course with O'Shea, Harrison and
Coyne! I don't want to spoil this story but I will say
that I was certain Harrison was faking it on match day!