Why Golf?

Why Golf?

The Mystery of the Game Revisited

In the grand tradition of such classics as Golf in the Kingdom and Final Rounds comes a brilliant consideration of golf's inimitable and ever-growing popularity.
In 1908, Arnold Haultain wrote a delightful book with a deceptively simple title: The Mystery of Golf. It explores the love affair golfers have with their sport and has been a favorite ever since among connoisseurs and students of the game. Now, more than ninety years later, in a thematic continuation of Haultain's enduring treatise, Bob Cullen has crafted a literate and thoughtful book that chronicles his own quest to uncover the secrets to the spell that golf has cast on millions.
Why golf? Beginning with that essential question, Cullen's fascinating explorations lead readers to a range of exotic and unexpected places of mind, spirit, and geography. Cleverly establishing entirely credible links between seemingly unrelated items -- from the breathtaking prowess of Tiger Woods to the Iranian government's near banning of golf to how a baby's smile is related to our love of golf -- Cullen weaves a rich and amusing tapestry, discussing suck unexpected subjects as Platonic philosophy and the nature of faith. As whimsical and picaresque as it is earnest and intensely personal, Why Golf? does for America's favorite weekend pastime what Peter Mayle did for the south of France and what George Will did for baseball.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743242479 | 
  • April 2002
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Read an Excerpt

Why the Blind Baby Smiled

Probably ninety percent of human outdoor games consist in the propulsion of a spheroid or spheroidal object to a certain spot.

-- Haultain

The essence of golf is simple. The player has a ball. It lies at point A. Using a club, he tries to move it to point B.

It is an essentially useless endeavor. The ball does the player no more good at point B than it did at point A. There is no evident reason why moving it there should make him happy.

Yet there is no doubt that it does. Before there were courses and rules, scores and tournaments, before there was even a game called golf, there... see more

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