Bill Pennington, author of the beloved and widely read “On Par” golf column for the New York Times, knows how to interpret the experts and pros for the rest of us. For years, he has traveled the globe in search of golf’s essentials—those basic principles, those elusive truths (and who are we kidding, any trick or quick fix he can pick up along the way) that will improve anyone’s game. He has consulted the world’s leading golf instructors as well as countless caddies, groundskeepers, parking lot attendants, and bartenders. He has played rounds with Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam, and Justin Timberlake. He has sought the advice of psychiatrists, physicists, economists, zen masters. And on a particularly bad golf outing, he has even discussed the fickleness of golf with a quite helpful raccoon.
On Par captures it all: From equipment and instruction, to the rules and language of golf, to camaraderie and psychology, to the short game/long game debate, Pennington informs and entertains as he gets to the essence of this mercurial game, including golf’s holy grail, the hole in one.
Part instruction, part education, part therapy, and shot through with Pennington’s trademark wit, this is a book for everyone who has ever felt the game’s distinct pull—and slice.
Called the voice of the everyday golfer, Pennington, the New York Times On Par columnist, writes a hilarious, informative primer on the essentials of golf, schooling novices or the professional bewitched by mastering the links. The author is sometimes long-winded about his passion for golfing, describing the noble sport of the fairways as an endeavor of hope, fear, disappointment, glee, perseverance, abandonment, unrelenting gratification and unexpected reward. He talks in glowing terms of the sport invented by a bunch of bored Scottish sheepherders, going over the necessary preparation of selecting tees, golf bags, clubs, or putting, and making recovery shots from the woods, stating that no other sport will test you in the same way. A chapter on golf-speak will tickle readers with a sampling of the colorful jargon of golf pros such as air mail (overshooting), cabbage (deep rough), or Saddam Hussein (going from bunker to bunker). Tongue-in-cheek, he writes the role of being a good golf partner means effective teamwork rather than attracting attention with mismatched socks or an unzipped fly. No golf guide would be complete without mention of Annika Sorenstam, Tiger Woods, or Lee Trevino, with lessons learned from these great players. With a few chuckles and basic instruction, Pennington s book effectively consolidates the wealth of knowledge from his beloved column, while delighting those who are perplexed by the puzzle that is the sport of golf.