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Publishers Weekly, 2002-07-08 Despite a clever title and compelling cover photos, this slender homage to unorthodox golf teachers, extraordinary courses and eccentrics of the sport is just under par. Wallach's vivid descriptions of obscure, famous and infamous golf courses of the world (and his occasionally unorthodox methods of traveling to them) are entertaining and would have sufficed for a good airplane read. However, he begins with a trip to California's esoteric Esalen Institute for a five-day seminar inspired by Michael Murphy's mystical golf novel, Golf in the Kingdom. Although golf psychology is fashionable and persuasive, reading about other golfers' search for their "inner swing" can be tedious. Phoenix guru Chuck Hogan has a theory that many golfers are stymied because "as children, we never felt safe enough to just play," and thus they never develop the ability to grow, explore and improve. He cites Tiger Woods's close relationship with his father as evidence of the high performance that can be achieved when the athlete is emotionally secure. Among the "Eccentric Personalities" Wallach profiles are course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr.; a golfer who holds the world record of 468 holes played in half a day; and a retired millionaire who tries to help a 41-year-old former U.S. Open qualifier make it to Qualifying School. Wallach (an adventurer who writes for numerous outdoors and travel magazines) is a clever wordsmith, but his effort to be humorous distracts from a sense of the book as a whole. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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