Last year Aurum published the definitive biography of one of the all-time greats of the game of golf: Ben Hogan. Now it has the authoritative life of perhaps the only man to rival Hogan apart from Jack Nicklaus: Walter Hagen. During the golden age of sport in the 1920s, Walter Hagen was to golf what Babe Ruth was to baseball. He was the first ...
Last year Aurum published the definitive biography of one of the all-time greats of the game of golf: Ben Hogan. Now it has the authoritative life of perhaps the only man to rival Hogan apart from Jack Nicklaus: Walter Hagen. During the golden age of sport in the 1920s, Walter Hagen was to golf what Babe Ruth was to baseball. He was the first professional golfer to make his living from playing the game rather than teaching it. He won eleven majors - a record surpassed only by Nicklaus. He was influential in founding the Ryder Cup, and was the first golfer to top $1 million in career earnings - equivalent to a massive $40 million today. But where Ben Hogan was impassive, austere, reticent, seen as something of a golf-machine, Hagen was a larger-than-life figure: energetic, witty, a man who travelled by limousine, loved to party - and sent a second limo just to transport his clothes, which were of course the finest. When he sailed the Atlantic to play in Europe he threw parties that lasted days. Both James Dodson's Hogan biography and Mark Frost's historical books on Harry Vardon and the making of golf have confirmed a market for serious, substantial works about the game. Sir Walter will tap into that same market, and should get widely reviewed.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-12-13 Although the claim that Hagen "invented professional golf" is a stretch, the five-time PGA Championship winner undoubtedly influenced the sport. Hagen (1892-1969) grew up poor in Rochester, N.Y., but got a 10-cents-an-hour job at a local golf course when he was eight. Watching the men he caddied for taught him how to play the game as well as how to read people and greens, skills he quickly mastered. Journalist Clavin deftly shows how Hagen's success (by the time he was 30, he'd won national championships in the U.S., Great Britain and France) and his showman's personality inspired the 1920s boom in American golf course building, revolutionized the public's perception of the game and even led to the creation of the PGA. Clavin infuses his narrative with impressive facts: Hagen was the first player to use a tee (previously, golfers had hit their ball off a tiny mound of sand), the first golfer to start his own line of clubs and balls and the first person to stand up against the inferior treatment of professional golfers in comparison with their amateur counterparts. Clavin also captivatingly portrays Hagen's personal life, depicting him as a fun-loving sharp dresser with a carefree personality who could paint the town red at night and rule the greens during the day. Agent, Nat Sobel. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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