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'Mr. Hogan: The Man I Knew' by Kris Tschetter with Steve Eubanks
Take a young lady golfer from South Dakota, plant her at a college in Texas, and you have the foundation for a truly great golf story.
Kris Tschetter earned a golf scholarship to TCU just as her brother Mike had done a year earlier. The university's golf team had limited practice facilities. Since Kris was addicted to hitting balls, she had to use a public course's driving range to practice as much as she wanted.
One day, she encountered a strange lady who asked Kris if she had a gun. To make a long story short, Kris ended up taking the woman home even though Tschetter had no idea who she was. Upon telling her brother the story, he saw an opportunity for the two of them. Mike called his dad and told him what had happened. Concerned over his daughter's safety, Dr. Tschetter arranged, through a friend, for his two kids to get junior memberships at Shady Oaks Golf Club in Fort Worth, whose first member was Ben Hogan and which remained his home club for the rest of his life.
Kris quickly learned that Hogan had a definite daily routine and was not to be disturbed. After avoiding him several times, she finally said "Hi" to him. Hogan smiled, said "Hello," and walked on. Kris went out to practice as she did every day for several hours. Later that day as Hogan was walking back to the clubhouse, he said to Kris, "You still here? Keep working on it."
This was the start of a wonderful relationship and the story that comes out is why this is such a great book. You get to know the warm and wonderful fun side of the "Wee Ice Mon" as Hogan dubbed by the Scots. We see from the stories Hogan told Tschetter, now 46 who garnered one win on the LPGA Tour in 1991 and won the JC Penney Classic with Billy Andrade the following year, how hard it was to make a living playing golf during the 1930s and '40s.
Staying in cheap hotels, practicing in his room and driving people in adjoining room crazy with the nightly noise from golf balls bouncing off the walls are just a few of the insights gathered from this book.
Also revealed are many humorous anecdotes about Hogan. As a side story, Kris and two of her TCU teammates were the last people to play nine holes with what many consider to be the greatest technician - and toughest competitor - golf has ever known.
This is one of the best biographies of Hogan's life and it is so well written, it is my pleasure to give the book two thumbs up. Tschetter and Eubanks did a great job with it.
Do yourself a favor and get this one. Better yet, buy a copy for your spouse for Christmas, but read it first.
"Mr. Hogan: The Man I Knew," by Kris Tschetter with Steve Eubanks, Gotham Books - published by Penguin Group, $22.50, ISBN 978-1-592-40545-9
Dr. John Wagner has been a Seattle dentist for 37 years. He's been published in several dental journals as well as had several articles appear in the turf magazine for Pacific Northwest golf course superintendents. John has served as a guest lecturer at the University of Washington Business School for several years and as a guest lecturer for several dental societies. Dr. Wagner is the co-designer (with Steve Shea of the Berger Partnership) of a golf course in Japan that cost over $120 million and was built by Wadsworth Golf Construction. He's a Past President of the Washington State Golf Association and a Trustee of the Pacific Coast Golf Association. A 7 handicap, John is currently a member of the USGA Green Section and a Director of the WSGA.