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'A Disorderly Compendium of Golf' by Lorne Rubenstein & Jeff Neuman

By: Bob Spiwak


"This is the worst looking hat I ever saw. You buy a hat like this, I bet you get a free bowl of soup with it."

Sound familar? Rodney Dangerfield's character talking to Judge Smails in "Caddyshack," and found on page 107 of "A Disorderly Compendium of Golf," a 300-page romp through the world of golf, past and present.

There is no timeline, no chronology, and you never know from one page to the next what will be on it. There are 10 most-memorable lines from the movie in that half-page.

You might find a chart, like "PGA Tour Money-Leaders at 10-Year Intervals" that also includes a similar chart for the LPGA and European tours. For example, in 1955 Julius Boros was the PGA Tour's high-money man at $63,121.55; Nicklaus in '65 pulled in $140,752.14. In 2005, Tiger grossed $10,628,024. The other tours showed similar disparity in earnings as the decades progressed.

Another two pages provide a profile of Titanic Thompson, recently featured in greater detail in Golf magazine early in 2011, and scattered throughout the book are profiles of other golf notables.

Along with charts there are easy-to-read graphs here and there, including most-notable shots by club (implement, not venue) and major championship courses open to the public. To list any more here would be reciting probably 250 pages of this wonderful book.

I was drawn to it in a random search for golf titles on Amazon. Rubenstein happens to be one of my favorite writers and, again, he - along with cohort Neuman - did not disappoint. This is a terrific bedside book as well as one to keep next to the loo. It is literally a page-turner, because in the main every turn will offer another interesting and usually entertaining surprise.

"A Disorderly Compendium of Golf" by Lorne Rubenstein & Jeff Neuman, 2006, Workman Publishing Co., New York, ISBN 13-978-07611-4084-9

Bob Spiwak took up golf in 1953 as a respite from the rigors of selling bibles door-to-door in North Dakota. Though suffering a four-year lapse, he's back to being a fanatical golfer. Now a contributing editor for Cybergolf, Spiwak has written articles for almost every golf magazine in the Western world. Bob's most treasured golf antiquity is a nod he got from Gerald Ford at the 1990 Golf Summit. Spiwak lives in Mazama, Wash., with his wife and several pets next to his fabled ultra-private Whispering Rattlesnakes Golf & Flubbers Club.