What happens when a man leaves home for a year to pursue his dream?
One day, playing a particularly spectacular round of golf, husband and father John Paul Newport suddenly tastes what it?s like to be a pro. Deciding to take a year off and hit the road playing golf's mini-tour circuit, Newport embarks on a wild trip through America's fairways. Over the course of his journey inside the somewhat shady, often hilarious underbelly of professional golf, he uncovers a world of people so totally addicted to golf, to the delusion of achievable perfection, that they sacrifice everything else to the quest. He also discovers the nature of his own obsession with the game, and how this constant pursuit of perfection on the golf course reflects the same challenges and frustrations one encounters in life. What does it take to master such an intricate, unpredictable game? In golf, as in life, why is one so consistently incapable of acting up to one's clearly established potential?
As Newport struggles to cross that Fine Green Line--the infinitely subtle yet critical difference between the top golf professionals and those who never quite make it--he realizes that life, like golf, doesn't let you get away with anything. This is a story about letting go of fear, facing challenges, and embracing risks--a compelling personal journey that captures many of the frustrations and elations of midlife both on and off the course.
Reminiscent of Harry Hurt III's Chasing the Dream, journalist Newport's chronicle of a year of golf is the latest, but not the greatest, of the Q-School sagas. Newport's narrative is driven by two objectives: to see how much better he can get at golf in 12 months' time (he starts with a 2.7 handicap) and to test himself at the end of the year by entering the PGA Tour's qualifying school. He tackles the first objective by taking lessons from respected teacher Michael Hebron, who points out plenty of flaws in Newport's swing, as well as the fundamental flaw in his objective: there's just no way he's going to improve his game all that much inside a yearAno one could. But Newport won't be dissuaded, so he embarks on a long series of mini-Tour events to get a sense of playing under pressure. Many of the people the author meets at these tournaments are interesting, but it grows tiresome to read his nearly shot-by-shot accounts of dozens of butchered rounds and holes, all lashed together with doses of desperate wisdom, self-pity, disgust and anger. By the time he finally reaches Q-School, the reader knows Newport is going to self-destruct, which he does, denying the book a satisfying resolution. Newport's objectives are compelling. It's unfortunate that his experiences weren't commensurate. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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May 07, 2001
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