Edgeworth and de St. Jorre have caught the land and the water and the people of the golfing towns in all their variety. The famous places are here, of course: Newcastle (Royal County Down,) Ballybunion, Lahinch, Portmarnock, Portrush (although not such newer layouts as Old Head.) But I found myself returning to the chapters on links I barely know of, like Carne and Ballyliffin, and wondering if I will ever get there and finding unendurable the thought I may not ever participate in the kind of rhapsodic golfing happiness Edgeworth captures in the lilt of blown grasses, the seductive sulk of rainblown sky, the body language of golfers fighting the wind and loving every second of it. To be led, as one is by the authors, along a path that wends between the known and the unknown, between sweet recollection and exultant speculation, is a tremendous readerly experience. It is a gift. I think it's fair to say that there are few places on earth where life is livelier than Ireland. You can see that right through these pages, you can feel it and you sure as hell hear it. Edgeworth doesn't present us with a sort of pastoral with holes in it. There are people here, and houses and homes and villages and entire systems of life right next door to the golf course; this isn't about plutocrats in Gulfstreams jetting in to communities with gates; it's more likely about a butcher shucking his apron to get a quick nine holes in at twilight with his pup at his heels and a quiet glass afterward. That's the thing about golf: people say "golf is life" because golf includes so much of life: sky, sea, town, country, hubris, humility, wit, joy, agony, friendship, whiskey, oatmeal, garrulity, silence. It's all here.