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'Two Good Rounds' by Elisa Gaudet
From the moment I saw the frontispiece of this book I knew I would like it. It's a reproduction of a Pabst beer ad and a photo of a smiling (!) Ben Hogan holding a glass of suds, one foot resting on a table next to a handsome friend. Obviously, this all took place at a 19th hole.
This is the entree to the 8-by-6 inch, 150-page book, whose aim is to interview famous golfers from around the world. The formula is simple, so easy to read and undeviating: Ask each subject the same question about their favorite drink, favorite 19th hole, holes-in-one they've made - and recollections of these and, on occasion, pose a bonus question, such as about "Arnie's Army" when the author interviewed "The King."
The book is on slick paper, which amplifies the quality of the photos of the subjects, whether it's a portrait, action shot and, oh yes, the author with each. This is not a bad thing, other than that she at times detracts from her subject in the shot. Elisa Gaudet is an ex-model and actress and in today's jargon, she's hot. She's also a very good writer and interviewer (and a long-time Cybergolf contributor).
There are two or more pages devoted to each of the 36 featured golfers, including both male and female tour players. My initial reaction was that this was a book that was needed, departing from the nuts-and-bolts golf books that are mainly instructional, biography or fiction. Herein we see the players as humans doing the things ordinary golfers do. Definitely not in the same places as almost every 19th hole they inhabit are places where we'll never even get close to the door, as in private clubhouses, players' lounges and the like.
Still, they're off the golf course and the discussions are a treasure trove of material for golf-trivia buffs.
What Irish golfer drinks Guinness stout at home and Coor's Light when in the U.S. (can that be for real?). Which golfer scored eagled two holes in the same round? How many holes-in-one did Chi Chi Rodriguez make in his career? Which male golfer danced with Arnold Palmer, wearing a woman's wig? (Believe it or not, that was Jack Nicklaus and there's a picture to prove it.) Which nation offers hole-in-one insurance to prevent big bills in the clubhouse afterward? Anyhow, you get the idea, there's a trivia acorn under each subject's tree.
Also apparent is the popularity of wineries as an investment for upper-strata golfers. Nicklaus, Mike Weir, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Cristie Kerr, David Frost and other players are all involved in wineries. Fuzzy Zoeller has taken a similar but different route, becoming part-owner in a vodka distillery in Bend, Ore. Juicy stuff like that permeates the book.
When it comes to aces, it was surprising that every person interviewed remembered his or her first. Not only the event, but the distance, the club used and, in some cases, the action of the ball after it hit the green. In discussing his aces, Rodriguez noted, "I only make holes-in-one on Mondays when nobody's around so I don't have to buy drinks."
All this and more in a relatively concise book that is more entertaining than any I've read in a long time. Being old and crotchety, I have only one complaint: too many players' pictures do not show them hatless. A bareheaded K.J. Choi was a revelation, having never seen him on the tube without it. The difference is quite amazing.
The end of the book has another old Pabst ad, this time featuring Bob Hope in the same pose as Hogan struck at the beginning, only not in the clubhouse, but ". . . at the Hollywood home of Mr. And Mrs. Bob Hope."
I lift a glass of Martell V.S.O.P. cognac to the conception and result of this book.
"Two Good Rounds - 19th Hole Stories from the World's Greatest Golfers," by Elisa Gaudet, 2011, 150 pages, Skyhorse Publishing, ISBN 978-1-61608-641-1.
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.