Two Years in St. Andrews: At Home on the 18th Hole

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The Old Course at St. Andrews is to golfers what St. Peter's is to Catholics or the Western Wall is to Jews: hallowed ground, the course every golfer longs to play -- and master. In 1983 George Peper was playing the Old Course when he hit a slice so hideous that he never found the ball. But in looking for it, he came across a For Sale sign on a stone town house alongside the famed eighteenth hole. Two months later he and his wife, Libby, became the proud owners of 9A Gibson Place.

In 2003 Peper retired after twenty-five years as the editor in chief of Golf magazine. With the younger of their two sons off to college, the Pepers decided to sell their house in the United States and relocate temporarily to the town house in St. Andrews. And so they left for the land of golf -- and single malt scotch, haggis, bagpipes, television licenses, and accents thicker than a North Sea fog. While Libby struggled with renovating an apartment that for years had been rented to students at the local university, George began his quest to break par on the Old Course.

Their new neighbors were friendly, helpful, charmingly eccentric, and always serious about golf. In no time George was welcomed into the local golf crowd, joining the likes of Gordon Murray, the man who knows everyone; Sir Michael Bonallack, Britain's premier amateur golfer of the last century; and Wee Raymond Gatherum, a magnificent shotmaker whose diminutive stature belies his skills.

For anyone who has ever dreamed of playing the Old Course -- and what golfer hasn't? -- this book is the next best thing. And for those who have had that privilege, Two Years in St. Andrews will revive old memories and confirm Bobby Jones's tribute, "If I were to set down to play on one golf course for the remainder of my life, I should choose the Old Course at St. Andrews."
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About the author

George Peper, currently editor at large for Links magazine, was editor in chief of Golf Magazine for twenty-five years and is the bestselling author of fifteen previous books. In 1999, his script for the documentary The Story of Golf was nominated for an Emmy Award. He lives in St. Andrews, Scotland.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jun 30, 2008
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781416534310
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Language
English
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Genres
Sports & Recreation / General
Sports & Recreation / Golf
Travel / Europe / Great Britain
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The town of Dornoch, Scotland, lies at nearly the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska. A bit too far removed for the taste of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, the Royal Dornoch Golf Club has never hosted a British Open, but that has hardly diminished its mystique or its renown. In an influential piece for The New Yorker in 1964, Herbert Warren Wind wrote, "It is the most natural course in the world. No golfer has completed his education until he has played and studied Royal Dornoch."
If any town in the world deserves to be described as "the village of golf," it's Dornoch. You can take the legendary links away from St. Andrews, and you'll still have a charming and beautiful university town with great historic significance; take the links away from Dornoch and it would be as little noted or known as its neighbors Golspie, Tain, and Brora. (The town is forty miles north of Inverness, generally thought of as the northernmost outpost of civilization in Scotland.) The game has been played in Dornoch for some four hundred years. Its native son Donald Ross brought the style of the Dornoch links to America, where his legendary, classic courses include Pinehurst #2, Seminole, and Oak Hill.
Lorne Rubenstein decided to spend a summer in Dornoch to clear the muddle from his golfing mind and to rediscover the natural charms of the game he loves. But in the Highlands he found far more than bracing air and challenging greens. He found a people shaped by the harshness of the land and the difficulty of drawing a living from it, and still haunted by a historic wrong inflicted on their ancestors nearly two centuries before. Rubenstein met many people of great thoughtfulness and spirit, eager to share their worldviews, their life stories, and a wee dram or two. And as he explored the empty, rugged landscape, he came to understand the ways in which the thorny, quarrelsome qualities of the game of golf reflect the values, character, and history of the people who brought it into the world.
A Season in Dornoch is both the story of one man's immersion in the game of golf and an exploration of the world from which it emerged. Part travelogue, part portraiture, part good old-fashioned tale of matches played and friendships made, it takes us on an unforgettable journey to a marvelous, moody, mystical place.
Every golfer alive knows that he or she has two ancestral homes: one's own, and Scotland. On her rolling shores the game of golf had its origins, and to walk the links of St. Andrews is to feel at one with the shepherd who decided one day to see how far he could whack a stone with his crook. Most serious golfers will make the pilgrimage to Scotland, to try to hit the Postage Stamp green at Troon, to trace the footsteps of Ben Hogan at Carnoustie, and to brave the challenge of the Road Hole at St. Andrews; all golfers dream of taking such a trip.

For the tourist or the dreamer, there can be no better guide than James W. Finegan. A passionate advocate of the game that's played on the links between land and sea, Finegan combines a writer's eye, a historian's knowledge, and a golfer's sense of wonder and apprehension to provide an impossibly ambitious grand tour of golf's native land.

In a loop of a thousand miles that begins in Edinburgh and ends across the Firth of Forth in St. Andrews, Finegan covers some sixty courses, visiting the true shrines of the game, the courses that are well known and respected, and the little-known gems you might otherwise pass right by. He shares the history of the courses, both of their creation and of the most famous matches played there; he also writes marvelously about the scenic and strategic charms to be found as you play them yourself. And he provides all the information you need to make your arrangements to do just that -- because, unlike most championship courses in the United States, the great courses of Scotland are available to the public.

In addition to his delightful descriptions of the golf to be found there, Finegan gives us his recommendations for places to stay, ranging from the most modest bed-and-breakfast to the most magnificent castle hotel. He describes the pleasures to be found off the beaten track: the spectacular views from a country road, or the ancient cathedral that's worth a stop on the way to the first tee. And because all the travel within the country is done by car, he spells out the actual routes from town to town and course to course.

Blasted Heaths and Blessed Greens is a book to be read, to be savored, and to be tucked away in your suitcase when you finally undertake the journey of your dreams.
The St Andrews Old Course Starter's Box was sold in a controversial international auction on 10 September 2001, the day before the infamy of the Twin Towers attack. 'Play Away Please' recounts the glory of the little building in St Andrews, 'the home of golf', and tells the tale of those who used its services for 77 continuous years.

Unlike many epics, the story does not centre on a rich dynasty or a heroic quest for the truth. Instead, it centres on the production of the perfect round of golf and the global marketing of the Box - one of the most celebrated buildings in the world of sport - as a brand and an icon. The book also chronicles the suspense and notoriety that greeted the Box after its voyage from Scotland to California, by way of the Panama Canal, and the role it assumed as an emotional balm for many in the aftermath of the 11 September atrocity.

Alas, nothing is as simple as it seems and miracles are rare. The businessman who bought the Box was imprisoned before it reached Los Angeles, accused of stealing millions from the real-estate development that was to be its home. Eight years later, a happy ending was finally brought about, but only after a healthy dose of gut-wrenching fear and suspense became a part of the story.

Supplemented with exclusive photographs, 'Play Away Please' is also a personal story of patronage and odyssey to assure the Box's preservation as the sporting world's consummate symbol of integrity and fair play. Along the way, the author brings to life the unforgettable local characters of Fife, celebrating their customs, lifestyle and unique command of the English language.

Filled with insightful stories about golf, Dr. Bob Rotella’s delightful book will improve the game of even the most casual weekend player.

Dr. Bob Rotella is one of the hottest performance consultants in America today. Among his many professional clients are Nick Price (last year's Player of the Year), Tom Kite, Davis Love III, Pat Bradley, Brad Faxon, John Daly, and many others. Rotella, or “Doc,” as most players refer to him, goes beyond just the usual mental aspects of the game and the reliance on specific techniques. What Rotella does here in this extraordinary book, and with his clients, is to create an attitude and a mindset about all aspects of a golfer's game, from mental preparation to competition. The most wonderful aspect of it all is that it is done in a conversational fashion, in a dynamic blend of anecdote and lesson. And, as some of the world's greatest golfers will attest, the results are spectacular. Golfers will improve their golf game and have more fun playing. Some of Rotella's maxims include:

-On the first tee, a golfer must expect only two things of himself: to have fun, and to focus his mind properly on every shot.

-Golfers must learn to love 'the challenge when they hit a ball into the rough, trees, or sand. The alternatives—anger, fear, whining, and cheating—do no good.

-Confidence is crucial to good golf. Confidence is simply the aggregate of the thoughts you have about yourself.

-It is more important to be decisive than to be correct when preparing to play any golf shot or putt.

Filled with delightful and insightful stories about golf and the golfers Rotella works with, Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect will improve the game of even the most casual weekend player.
Most golfers never improve irrespective of what they try.

You needn't be most golfers.

A Golf Swing You Can Trust is an original work by John Hoskison, a deep-thinking PGA player and teacher. Inside, John reveals how, after years of slicing, he went from the worst player on tour to the National PGA Professional Champion by using these simple techniques.

From the grip to the finish position, John coaches using humor and unique analogies to explain how the golf swing works, and how to build a swing you can trust.

REVIEWS:
"John taught himself a great technique and knows as much about the golf swing as anyone I've met." ~Nick Mitchell, Former European Tour PGA Player

"I went to John for the usual stuff; head in hands, not knowing what shot was coming next. John kept it simple… got me back enjoying my golf again." ~Mick Fitzgerald, TV Sports Presenter—Former National Hunt Jockey

"John has solid orthodox technique and is a great student of the game. He always told me 'simple is best'." ~Andrew Murray, European Tour—1989 European Open Champion

EXCERPT FROM A Golf Swing You Can Trust:
The correct stance is vital if you want to build a simple swing that repeats. But most golfers switch off and skip these chapters of a golf instruction book. I understand that. The grip and aim are not as alluring as advice on the theoretical advantages of pronation or supination through impact. And hey! You've been told you have a nice practice swing—you can't be that far off. Aiming correctly is for beginners!

So just to dispel any reservations you may have that this book is not for you, here's one last piece of motivational talk before we move on to check your stance. It's very often a golfer makes a great practice swing but when they come to hit the ball the swing's completely different. That's because the hands and body don't communicate on a practice swing—they let you get on with it on your own. They only bother to 'talk' to each other when you're about to hit a shot at a specific target.

When the crunch comes and you're ready to swing back, if the aim of the club doesn't match up to your intended swing path, they hit the panic button, take control and stick the swing on autopilot. They program in what they have to do and you can't override it. You might try to take the club back in one piece but it you're not aiming correctly—they quickly take over. And if you think you can kid them you'd have done it by now.

If you are aiming at a target 250 yards away and your clubface is only 3 degrees to the right, it will be pointing 13 yards right of target. If you try to replicate your nice square practice swing, but your hands pick up where the club is aiming the two angles are so conflicting your orthodox swing becomes impossible.

The only time you can override your natural alarm system is when you're standing in front of a pro and he's watching you like a hawk. Then the alarm system becomes dormant—it trusts the pro to watch over you. Soon as you walk out the teaching bay, it switches back on.

OTHER TITLES by John Hoskison
Shooting Lower Scores

MEET JOHN HOSKISON
John is a former European Tour member and two-time PGA Cup player v USA. He led England in the European Team Championships and was elected Surrey Professional Golf Association Captain.
In 1992, John completed the Club Professionals Grand Slam including the national title, and went on to earn a place on the European PGA Seniors Tour. In May 2008, he played in his first event in Poland.
After a year of injury, John placed third in the 2012 British Senior PGA Professional Championships.
The Big Miss is Hank Haney’s candid and surprisingly insightful account of his tumultuous six-year journey with Tiger Woods, during which the supremely gifted golfer collected six major championships and rewrote golf history. Hank was one of the very few people allowed behind the curtain. He was with Tiger 110 days a year, spoke to him over 200 days a year, and stayed at his home up to 30 days a year, observing him in nearly every circumstance: at tournaments, on the practice range, over meals, with his wife, Elin, and relaxing with friends.
 
The relationship between the two men began in March 2004 when Hank received a call from Tiger in which the golf champion asked him to be his coach. It was a call that would change both men’s lives.
 
Tiger—only 28 at the time—was by then already an icon, judged by the sporting press as not only one of the best golfers ever, but possibly the best athlete ever. Already he was among the world’s highest paid celebrities. There was an air of mystery surrounding him, an aura of invincibility. Unique among athletes, Tiger seemed to be able to shrug off any level of pressure and find a way to win.
 
But Tiger was always looking to improve, and he wanted Hank’s help.
 
What Hank soon came to appreciate was that Tiger was one of the most complicated individuals he’d ever met, let alone coached. Although Hank had worked with hundreds of elite golfers and was not easily impressed, there were days watching Tiger on the range when Hank couldn’t believe what he was witnessing. On those days, it was impossible to imagine another human playing golf so perfectly.
 
And yet Tiger is human—and Hank’s expert eye was adept at spotting where Tiger’s perfection ended and an opportunity for improvement existed. Always haunting Tiger was his fear of “the big miss”—the wildly inaccurate golf shot that can ruin an otherwise solid round—and it was because that type of blunder was sometimes part of Tiger’s game that Hank carefully redesigned his swing mechanics.
 
Hank’s most formidable coaching challenge, though, would be solving the riddle of Tiger’s personality. Wary of the emotional distractions that might diminish his game and put him further from his goals, Tiger had developed a variety of tactics to keep people from getting too close, and not even Hank—or Tiger’s family and friends, for that matter—was spared “the treatment.”
 
Toward the end of Tiger and Hank’s time together, the champion’s laser-like focus began to blur and he became less willing to put in punishing hours practicing—a disappointment to Hank, who saw in Tiger’s behavior signs that his pupil had developed a conflicted relationship with the game. Hints that Tiger hungered to reinvent himself were present in his bizarre infatuation with elite military training, and—in a development Hank didn’t see coming—in the scandal that would make headlines in late 2009. It all added up to a big miss that Hank, try as he might, couldn’t save Tiger from.
 
There’s never been a book about Tiger Woods that is as intimate and revealing—or one so wise about what it takes to coach a superstar athlete.
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