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Fairway to Hell

Carl Hiaasen: Fairway to Hell (UK 2009)

From the Publisher:
'Every weekend, thousands of otherwise rational men and women are cursing, kicking at divots and smashing expensively milled putters against the trunks of immovable hardwood trees. These players go home in a toxic funk to inflict gloom upon their loved ones until the following Saturday, when they rush back to the golf course and do it all over again.'

In the summer of 2005, Carl Hiaasen picked up a golf club again for the first time in 32 years. He was not the best of players in 1973, and had certainly not got any younger in the intervening period. Undeterred, and weighed down by an increasing quantity of golf equipment and game-enhancing products acquired from adverts on The Golf Channel, who can see a sucker coming, Carl was soon hacking and shanking his way around the courses of Florida, and his obsession with the sport was rekindled. Animals were harmed during the making of this book.

Over the course of the next 18 months, Carl's game got better, then worse, then slightly better, then much worse again, and he even managed to jinx Tiger Woods. On the way to finally summoning up the courage to compete in an actual tournament himself, Carl details the hilarious consequences of his misguided belief that he could actually play the game. We also learn that Justin Timberlake has a better golf handicap (6) than Bob Dylan (17), that Eagle Trace golf course contains not one trace of an eagle, and that Mind Drive capsules are not necessarily a good idea.

But through all the misery and frustration (save the odd glorious shot), golf took up residence in Carl's heart again. Fairway to Hell is the ultimate tale of the trials and tribulations of the amateur golfer, but also the heart-warming story of how the game brought together the generations of the Hiaasen family.

Carl Hiaasen: Fairway to Hell. How Golf Ruined My Life ... Again! Black Swan, ISBN: 9780552775090 (May, 2009), 256 p., £8.99

 

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The Downhill Lie

Carl Hiaasen: The Downhill Lie (USA 2009)

From the Publisher:
Bestselling author Carl Hiaasen wisely quit golfing in 1973. But some ambitions refuse to die, and as the years passed and the memories of slices and hooks faded, it dawned on Carl that there might be one thing in life he could do better in middle age than he could as a youth. So gradually he ventured back to the rolling, frustrating green hills of the golf course, where he ultimately -- and foolishly -- agreed to compete in a country-club tournament against players who can actually hit the ball. Filled with harrowing divots, deadly doglegs, and excruciating sandtraps, The Downhill Lie is a hilarious chronicle of mis-adventure that will have you rolling with laughter.

Carl Hiaasen: The Downhill Lie. A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. Knopf Publishing Group, ISBN: 9780307280459 (May, 2009), 224 p., $14.00.

 

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Fairway to Hell

Carl Hiaasen: Fairway to Hell (UK 2008)

From the Publisher:
'Every weekend, thousands of otherwise rational men and women are cursing, kicking at divots and smashing expensively milled putters against the trunks of immovable hardwood trees. These players go home in a toxic funk to inflict gloom upon their loved ones until the following Saturday, when they rush back to the golf course and do it all over again.'

In the summer of 2005, Carl Hiaasen picked up a golf club again for the first time in 32 years. He was not the best of players in 1973, and had certainly not got any younger in the intervening period. Undeterred, and weighed down by an increasing quantity of golf equipment and game-enhancing products acquired from adverts on The Golf Channel, who can see a sucker coming, Carl was soon hacking and shanking his way around the courses of Florida, and his obsession with the sport was rekindled. Animals were harmed during the making of this book.

Over the course of the next 18 months, Carl's game got better, then worse, then slightly better, then much worse again, and he even managed to jinx Tiger Woods. On the way to finally summoning up the courage to compete in an actual tournament himself, Carl details the hilarious consequences of his misguided belief that he could actually play the game. We also learn that Justin Timberlake has a better golf handicap (6) than Bob Dylan (17), that Eagle Trace golf course contains not one trace of an eagle, and that Mind Drive capsules are not necessarily a good idea.

But through all the misery and frustration (save the odd glorious shot), golf took up residence in Carl's heart again. Fairway to Hell is the ultimate tale of the trials and tribulations of the amateur golfer, but also the heart-warming story of how the game brought together the generations of the Hiaasen family.

Carl Hiaasen: Fairway to Hell. A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. Bantam Books, ISBN: 9780593060872 (August, 2008), 256 p., £14.99

 

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The Downhill Lie

Carl Hiaasen: The Downhill Lie (USA 2008)

From the Publisher:
Ever wonder how to retrieve a sunken golf cart from a snake-infested lake? Or which club in your bag is best suited for combat against a horde of rats? If these and other sporting questions are gnawing at you, The Downhill Lie, Carl Hiaasen's hilarious confessional about returning to the fairways after a thirty-two-year absence, is definitely the book for you.

Originally drawn to the game by his father, Carl wisely quit golfing in 1973, when "Richard Nixon was hunkered down like a meth-crazed badger in the White House, Hank Aaron was one dinger shy of Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, and The Who had just released Quadrophenia." But some ambitions refuse to die, and as the years -- and memories of shanked 7-irons -- faded, it dawned on Carl that there might be one thing in life he could do better in middle age than he could as a youth. So gradually he ventured back to the dreaded driving range, this time as the father of a five-year-old son -- and also as a grandfather.

"What possesses a man to return in midlife to a game at which he'd never excelled in his prime, and which in fact had dealt him mostly failure, angst and exasperation? Here's why I did it: I'm one sick bastard."

And thus we have Carl's foray into a world of baffling titanium technology, high-priced golf gurus, bizarre infomercial gimmicks and the mind-bending phenomenon of Tiger Woods; a maddening universe of hooks and slices where Carl ultimately -- and foolishly -- agrees to compete in a country-club tournament against players who can actually hit the ball. "That's the secret of the sport's infernal seduction," he writes. "It surrenders just enough good shots to let you talk yourself out of quitting."

Hiaasen's chronicle of his shaky return to this bedeviling pastime and the ensuing demolition of his self-esteem -- culminating with the savage 45-hole tournament -- will have you rolling with laughter. Yet the bittersweet memories of playing with his own father and the glow he feels when watching his own young son belt the ball down the fairway will also touch your heart. Forget Tiger, Phil and Ernie. If you want to understand the true lure of golf, turn to Carl Hiaasen, who has written an extraordinary book for the ordinary hacker.

Carl Hiaasen: The Downhill Lie. A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. Alfred A. Knopf; ISBN: 9780307266538 (May, 2008), 207 p., $22.00.

 

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