Saturday, 22 September 2007

Preferred Reading

I play golf, I read books, but I rarely read golf books, relying on MOH to read them for me and pass on nuggets of useful information and the occasional timely tip. But my latest read, Preferred Lies: A Journey to the Heart of Golf, by Andrew Greig, is not a conventional golf book, but more of a memoir in which golf happens to play a central part. Greig, a poet and novelist, wrote the book while recuperating from a life-saving brain operation, and this lends it an intensity that reflects his own state of mind but I think is ideal for conveying the essentially solitary nature of the game itself. The book reflects the inner dialogue we have with ourselves as we go round, although he also drops in observations on the history and development of the game as well as its addictive powers. Golfers won’t necessarily like this book, but he’s done us a favour in trying to elucidate what keeps us hooked, while reminding us of the pointlessness of anger in a game where your only opponent is the course, or (more likely) your own lack of patience. This is the only book I can imagine giving to a non-golfer, in the hope that the sheer quality of the writing might persuade them that golf is a life-affirming activity rather than a waste of time. In a week of poor rounds, it has also been therapy for me!

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