Father’s Day and golf seem to go together — what, you thought the U.S. Open final round that day was a coincidence? — so when looking for that perfect gift for Dad, the fact an awful lot of dads love golf makes for a great starting point.
Golf books are a favorite gift, and since publishers are pretty sharp on what sells when, more than a few are released in June (and December, too). This year offers a lineup of golf reading as strong as an Open layout.
A new history of the Open chronicles America’s Championship and the players who made it special. Two first-person volumes cover impetuous youth and a thought-to-be-dead topic, caddies. And three instruction books promise to fix your short game, get you back to basics and have you shooting par in a month.
And because man does not golf by books alone, this review covers not only a player’s head, but also his/her feet — what covers feet, that is. Surely, you’ll find something here that works for Dad.
“Great Moments of the U.S. Open,” by Robert Williams and Michael Trostel. Firefly Books, 216 pages, $$27.95 (USGA members: $22.95).
And you thought all the USGA does is ban long putters? In this centennial year of Francis Ouimet’s history-changing 1913 victory, American golf’s governing body has produced a 10-inch-by-10-inch volume profiling Open champions and the stories behind their victories. The book also makes good use of USGA archived images and artifacts to “bring memorable U.S. Open Championships to life.”
“18 in America: A Young Golfer’s Epic Journey to Find the Essence of the Game,” by Dylan Dethier. Scribner, 272 pages, $25.
As Dylan Dethier prepared to head to college, something — he knows not what — led him to take a year off to attempt to play 18 holes in each of the U.S. “Lower 48.” Armed with less than $5,000 and a used car, he logged 35,000 miles and, eventually, a who’s-who of courses (and a few who’s-that ones) played.
Now a junior at Williams (Mass.) College, Dethier chronicles his journey in a coming-of-age story that, he says, helped him transition from boy to man.
“An American Caddie in St. Andrews: Growing Up, Girls and Looping on The Old Course,” by Oliver Horovitz. Gotham Books, 336 pages, $26.
Like Dethier, Horovitz deferred college (Harvard) to spend a “gap year” at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where the female-male ratio is 70-30 and an annual student golf pass ($200) got him unlimited play, including at the famed Old Course.
Horovitz’s story is even more enviable; now 27, he spends summers caddying at St. Andrews. The book is another coming-of-age trek — the author caddied (“looped”) for celebrities Huey Lewis and Larry David, met Rory McIlroy and Paula Creamer.
“Tour Tempo 2: The Short Game & Beyond,” by John Novosel with John Garrity. Tour Tempo LLC, 177 pages (paperback), $18.95.
Full disclosure: Garrity, a Sports Illustrated writer, is a friend. Pretty good author, too, as his books “Ancestral Links” and “Tiger 2.0” demonstrated. He teams with golf instructor Novosel, who says amateurs can “dramatically improve” their ball-striking by copying the swing rhythm, or tempo, of the pros — and cites a Yale study as evidence.
I’m not a big instruction-book fan, but if anyone can get me interested, it’s Garrity.
“Golf Magazine’s The Par Plan,” by Golf Magazine. Time Home Entertainment, 192 pages, $29.95.
“Golf Magazine’s Big Book of Basics,” By Golf Magazine. Time Home Entertainment, 224 pages, $32.95.
Golf Magazine has mastered the modern instruction book, using brief, punchy writing and colorful illustrations to explain nearly every conceivable part of the game. “The Par Plan” offers day-by-day instruction to help players reach their goals in 30 days; “The Big Book of Basics” is exactly that, seeking to build a game from the ground up.
Kentwool Socks, $19.95-$28 (www.kentwoolsocks.com). Napoleon said an army travels on its stomach, but golfers base their game on, well, a firm base. They want comfort and style, and a little glitz never hurts.
Greenville-based Kentwool Worldwide is headed by Mark Kent, a 1986 graduate of Clemson’s School of Textiles. The company’s ankle-length socks feature a blend of merino wool and performance fibers called “WINDspun” that wicks moisture and comes with a blister-free guarantee.
For this U.S. Open, Kentwool produced a red, white and blue sock to be worn during play by 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson. For the more sedate, socks come in non-glitz colors such as black and white.