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Golf in the Wild: A Journey Through Time and Place Paperback – 1 May 2014
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First edition golfing travelogue - a personal journey through time and place to the distant sound of racing engines
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This book is much more than about playing golf. It takes you on a journey through time, wonderful landscapes, the fascinating history of the places where the courses are located, the author's life and the various characters in his family, and his passion for fast cars and those who were lucky (or unlucky) enough to race them. The golfing journey begins at Allendale, Northumberland and ends at Durness, in Sutherland, having taken you on a route north via courses such as Selkirk, Bishopshire, Killin – to which a whole chapter is devoted, Craignure, Traigh and Gairloch. A great tour to undertake even without the golf clubs and the book will, hopefully, encourage new visitors to all the destinations that are mentioned.
It is a book you can dip in and out of and should inspire every reader to do a bit of exploring.
My favourite chapter is the one about Traigh Golf Course at Arisaig in the West Highlands, but that's because it's the only course that I know well. When I played there as a child there were four railway sleepers with fencing wire around each green to keep the cows off (worked perfectly 90% of the time, but occasionally a cow would get in - then the problem of cow pats was far worse than if the fence hadn't been there). The course has been transformed since then, but it still has a wonderful unique character and stunning views of the Inner Hebrides.
Definitely recommend the book (and Traigh Golf Course) even if you're not particularly interested in golf! For golf enthusiasts it's wonderful - and a perfect present too.
This book will appeal to readers who prefer quiet “hidden gems” to championship courses, particularly in Scotland and will evoke memories for those who were teenagers in the 60s and especially those that enjoyed motor racing. It is far from a hole-by-hole guide to a few very special courses – there are plenty of fascinating asides “out of bounds”.
I know and love a couple of the courses in the book and seem to have lots in common with the author. His passion for golf as it used to be shines through and will, I am sure, inspire readers to visit the courses featured. He creates some lovely visual images in the reader’s mind enhanced by some fascinating old photographs and a very useful map.
Although I enjoy travelling by train to play golf where possible, the descriptions of access using minor roads are also appealing, particularly the scarily-scenic road to Applecross! There are, however, several wistful nods to the days of steam where all golf courses were accessible by train.
I was amazed and fascinated to read that such a remote part of Scotland as Traigh was a major centre for training operatives of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War. What a fantastic location for that!
All too soon I was sad that the book was at an end but I am glad to learn that there will be a return journey – I’ll be in the queue for it!
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