Book Review
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To The Linksland


by Michael Bamberger

Amazon.com reviews:


"Many have written lyrically about the wonders of golf in Scotland and its inherent magic, which is the focus of the second half of Michael Bamberger's lovely ode to the game. But it's the book's first half that makes it as essential as a putter for anyone willing to go deeper into golf's heart. Here, Bamberger explores the eternal mystery of golf: "More than any other athlete, the professional golfer looks normal; his physical ordinariness is a ubiquitous reminder of our limitations. So what makes him so special?" He searches for his answers the hard way: he lugs a golf bag around for a season as a caddie on the European tour. Even if the golfing grail he sought remains elusive, his narrative drives straight into the game's psyche through a colorful, witty, and poignant portrait of his months on the fairways with Peter Teravainen, the practicing Buddhist, Yale-graduate journeyman grinder whose bag he toted."

From Kirkus Reviews:

"Bamberger, a Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter, spent 1991 caddying on the European professional golf tour and playing the ``linksland,'' Scotland's legendary array of courses. Here's his record of that time--a lovely book that will stand with the classics of the game. In search of ``the primal heart of golf'' and hoping ``to improve'' both his 13-handicap and his patience with the game, the 31-year-old author caddied for Peter Teravainen, a superstitious journeyman, practicing Buddhist, and Yale grad from Singapore. Teravainen's powerful, unorthodox swing had never brought a tour victory (his best year was 1984, when he won $55,000) or endorsement contracts, but he was good enough, usually, to make the cut in European play. Bamberger hit it off with the golfer (despite a few mishaps: losing a club; being yelled at to ``never talk to my golf ball'') and caddied his way through France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Belgium en route to Scotland. There, the author met John Stark, a teaching pro at Crieff Golf Club and ``a mystic'' who taught Bamberger that ``to feel the proper tempo of a swing, you have to hear the swing. You have to make the sounds that accompany a good shot.'' Inspired by this advice and filled with the legends and history of Scottish golf, the author played the time-honored shrines at St. Andrews, Cruden Bay, Prestwick, and Dornach--and, with Stark, ``secret,'' undiscovered courses deep in the Scottish hills. Bamberger learned to ``create the sounds of good golf'' and, at Machrihanish, capped off his trip by breaking 80 for the first time since his teens. Bamberger's course histories and profiles of legends from Old Tom Morris to today's Seve Ballesteros evoke a flavor and nostalgia that further deepen this lyrical and inspired work, a far better choice for golfing enthusiasts than Curt Sampson's The Eternal Summer (reviewed below). -- Copyright 1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved."

And an Independant Review:

"Many have written lyrically about the wonders of golf in Scotland and its inherent magic, which is the focus of the second half of Michael Bamberger's lovely ode to the game. But it's the book's first half that makes it as essential as a putter for anyone willing to go deeper into golf's heart. Here, Bamberger explores the eternal mystery of golf: "More than any other athlete, the professional golfer looks normal; his physical ordinariness is a ubiquitous reminder of our limitations. So what makes him so special?" He searches for his answers the hard way: he lugs a golf bag around for a season as a caddie on the European tour. Even if the golfing grail he sought remains elusive, his narrative drives straight into the game's psyche through a colorful, witty, and poignant portrait of his months on the fairways with Peter Teravainen, the practicing Buddhist, Yale-graduate journeyman grinder whose bag he toted."

  

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