I confess to being an ultra-light amateur golfer. I first picked up clubs while living in outback Australia. In the town where I lived (and most Australian towns and cities are like this) the golf club is popular. It provides something to do, competition and drinks. I found out why golf could be addicting on the fourth hole. I hit a shot from the tee to the green and the feeling and sound were indescribable. I went under par and was hooked.
I don’t play often but I was curious about this book because when I travel, most often off the beaten path, there are some really crazy golf courses out there. This book does not discuss those but for anyone interested in golf, the author covers what he considers the top courses in various locations around the world.
The book is fascinating – even for non-golfers. The book is very accessible. Each chapter is about the length of a longer magazine article. Well written with enough detail to transport the reader to each location and sense the sights and smells as well as very descriptive paragraphs on each course. I read the book in one day.
What makes the book for great for non-golfers is that the author also discusses things to do beyond the links that are seminal for each area. For example, in Dublin, Steinbreder outlines the literary pub crawl and in New Zealand, he goes on a kiwi bird watching expedition. He also discusses the historical interests in each club which can be of equal interest to non-golfers or companion travelers of golfers.
I also loved the culinary journey that accompanied each section. Which clubs have good restaurants, wine cellars, whiskey or rum flights was just as interesting as the golf stories. The descriptions of the eateries and bars adds to the course ambience.
But ultimately, this book is about golf and is divided into sections: Old World (Europe). New World (United States) and Outposts (everywhere else). Each chapter under those headings covers a country or sometimes two countries – and what constitutes some of the best golf in each.
Courses, tracks and links are described in detail. Which holes are the most challenging or interesting, the best views, the designer of the course, what kind of championships or amateurs have been played there, the landscape designs that make the course unique, club houses, bars, locker rooms, pro shops. Every area of interest to the serious golfer is covered.
This is a strong book for serious golfers, duffers, companions of golfers and travelers alike. A sweet little treat at the end is the author’s lists of Top 5’s related to golf courses around the world. Some were written about in the book and some are teasers inviting the reader to go exploring further. I feel like grabbing a flight and hitting the links!