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Maybe it should have been a three iron': My Year as a Caddy for the 438th Best Golfer

by Lawrence Donegan

"The opening sentences of Donegan's delightful romp through the European golf world sets its tone: "The first thing to understand about caddying is it's not brain surgery. It's more complicated than that," and the next couple of hundred pages prove the point. Put a hapless golf fanatic like Donegan, a journalist by trade, on the bag of another hapless golf fanatic-- British pro Ross Drummond, who would probably be more successful in another line of work--and the results, no matter how hard they try to play it straight, are as wayward as a duck hook off the tee. Funnier than writer Michael Bamberger's trenchant recounting of his exploits carrying Peter Teravainen's bag in -To The Linksland, Donegan's chronicle is a self-effacing romp from beginning to end, though some hard-learned lessons manage to creep in along the way: "I was an amateur, crap at it..., just like millions of others. So what? It didn't mean I couldn't have a good time making a fool of myself... What was it A.A. Milne had said about golf? It was the best game in the world to be bad at. Let that be my motto." Of course, it was Milne who also happened to create Eeyore. -- Jeff Silverman"


British journalist Donegan spent a year caddying for Ross Drummond, an also-ran on the European Professional Golf Tour. Alternately complaining about the caddy's lot and rhapsodizing over the chance to rub elbows with such golfing greats as Faldo and Montgomerie, Donegan offers a revealing perspective on the daily grind for those in golf's underclass. As with all strata of society, however, substrata run deep, with caddies for the top players existing on a much higher plane than those, like  Donegan, who toil for the tour's hangers-on. The writer-turned-caddy gambit is not exactly new: Michael Bamberger's Green Road Home (1986) and To the Linksland (1992) both describe similar adventures and manage to do so with more style, grace, and good humor than Donegan is able to muster. Still, Donegan's perpetual grousing and recurring bouts of indifference, though not exactly endearing, capture the nagging reality of professional golf in a way that the more celebratory side of the game's literature necessarily ignores. Bill Ott"



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