This memoir “reveals the depth of [the author’s] love for golf, fatherhood, and his ancestral home—the Sandhills of North Carolina” (Curt Sampson).
Named Golf Book of the Year by the International Network of Golf, A Son of the Game is the story of how acclaimed golf writer James Dodson, feeling directionless at midlife, leaves his home in Maine to revisit Pinehurst, North Carolina—where his father taught him the game that would shape his life.
Once he arrives, the curative power of the Sandhills region not only helps him find a new career working for the local paper, but also reignites his flagging passion for golf. And, perhaps more significantly, it inspires him to try to pass along to his teenage son the same sense of joy and contentment he has found in the game, and to recall the many colorful and lifelong friends he has met on the links.
This wise memoir about finding new meaning through an old sport is filled with anecdotes about the history of the game and of Pinehurst, the home of American golf, where many larger-than-life legends played some of their greatest rounds. Dodson’s bestselling memoir Final Rounds began in Pinehurst, and now he follows his journey of discovery back to where his love of the game began—a love that he hopes to make a family legacy.
Given that it's written by one of the sport's premier chroniclers and is set mostly in and around the bucolic grounds of Southern Pines, N.C. a resort town based mostly on the pursuit of golfing there is surprisingly little golf in this homey memoir, though that's probably for the best. Dodson (Ben Hogan; Final Rounds) recounts how he was gripped by a midlife crisis after a shakeup at his magazine and the deaths of several close friends and family members. These events, plus a desire to give his son the same memories of golf that his father imparted to him, sent the Maine journalist scampering back to his Southern childhood home. Although Dodson knows perfectly well that possibly uprooting his whole family is little more than indulging a "chance to live out a boyhood fantasy" of being a smalltown newspaper man, he makes the idea as appealing as possible. There is not much forward momentum in this excessively ambling and self-satisfied work, and it suffers from Dodson's tendency to record conversations with a level of detail that sometimes strains credibility. However, it's all painted in a glossy, buttery hue of such fine vintage nostalgia that it's all the reader can do by the end to not immediately light out for the central North Carolina hill country.