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Let There Be Pebble: A Middle-Handicapper's Year in America's Garden of Golf Hardcover – June 1, 2011
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Jack deserves credit for having the chutzpah to shoulder his way into the community, like the gawky nerd who crashes the party thrown by his high school social superiors. He interviewed anyone who would stand still long enough, as he took in no less than four big-time golf tournaments at Pebble Beach in his year Out West, from the mayor of Carmel and the people responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, to golf luminaries such as Gary Player, Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus, and even other golf writers who were covering the tournaments. He haunted open houses in multi-million dollar homes on 17-Mile Drive while renting a room and sleeping on a yoga mat in a Carmel bungalow, and took a stab at the singles dating scene in the area. He ventured north, to San Francisco and Sausalito, where he spoke with Michael Murphy, founder of the Esalen Institute and the author of a book that is simultaneously (and sadly) the best-selling book ever written about golf, and the worst: "Golf in the Kingdom".
Despite the implication of the sub-title, "A Mid-Handicapper's Year in America's Garden of Golf", Jack appears to not have played much golf while he was on his journey. He refers to only two rounds played, one at Pebble Beach, and another at Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Links, just up the road. He spends more time describing (and dissing) the politics and social mores of the area than he does talking about golf.
Another reviewer noted that the author of this book seemed to be very fond of the sound of his own voice - and I most heartily second that opinion. His prose is verbose and overwrought, and he revels in inane wordplay and puns of the worst sort (not that there is a good sort...). What is worse, the book appears to have been proofread and edited by a blind, if not blind-drunk, dropout from sophomore English (and it was published by the University of Nebraska Press). For example, on no less than two occasions in the text, in a reference to a person seemingly suffering from Tourette's Syndrome (a condition in which a person spontaneously and uncontrollably spouts profanities and other utterances), the person is spoken of as having "Turret's"; Bushmill's Whiskey, one of the sponsors of 2010 US Open winner, Irishman Graeme McDowell, is referred to as "Bushnell's" (makers of precision optical instruments and laser rangefinders for golf and sportshooting); the name of a prominent Bay Area sportswriter is misspelled. The list of such inanities and malapropisms goes on and on, and they come more frequently the further along in the book, as if the proofreader was skipping along hurriedly in order to get it over with.
I have to admit, I only finished this book to see just how much worse it could get - and it just got worse and worse. This is the biggest train-wreck of a book I have read since I put down "Golf in the Kingdom". Pebble Beach and the Monterey Peninsula area deserve so much better, and if there were border guards controlling access to the region, they would have the author`s picture in their "Undesirables" file, to prevent his returning and perpetrating any more nonsense of this kind.
The book jacket describes the author as a former newspaper columnist and sportswriter, and his current bio has him writing poetry, and teaching English at a small Methodist college in Naperville, Illinois. Heaven help his students if they retain anything they learn from him about writing.
There's a vague build-up to the 2010 US Open but when the week finally arrives, the tourney is covered in a few scant pages.
Some nice details about the history and ambience of Carmel. But less would have been a lot more.