Alistair Cooke on Golf: The Marvellous Mania (hardback)
Foreword by Jack Nicklaus
Format: 153 x 234mm
Territory: UK & British Commonwealth (Penguin Press), North America (Arcade)
Over twenty essays, brought together for the first time in this outstanding anthology
With an introduction by Jerry Tarde, editor of Golf Digest
'Until a year or two ago,' Alistair Cooke wrote in 1968 (in a glorious essay published here for the first time) 'I shared H. L. Mencken's view of golfers. "If I had my way, any man guilty of golf would be ineligible for any public office or trust in these United States, and the females of the breed would be shipped off to the white-slave corrals of the Argentine." But my lifelong purity was defiled in a single afternoon in late June 1964 when, at the urging of a superficially decent Englishman, I was taken out with a bag of oddly-shaped sticks to fumble around Van Cortlandt Park, the oldest public course in or near New York, in 168 swipes. (I believe my record still stands.)'
From that fateful day in June 1964 until his death at ninety-five, forty years later, golf was Alistair Cooke's greatest sporting passion. He called it (in another of the essays in this book) 'a method of self-tortur e, disguised as a game' and that 'no man in his right mind would ever play golf': but he stuck at it for as long as he could swing a club, revelled in its companionship and loved (tortured as he was) every moment on a golf course.
And he wrote about it. This enjoyable book gathers together for the first time the best of Cooke's golf writings, which display all the incomparable wit, the unexpected insights, the mischievous charm, the elegance and enchantment which made him famous for over sixty years as a broadcaster. Whether it is Arnold Palmer playing in 102-degree heat in San Antonio, dapper Gary Player winning the U.S. Open at Creve Coeur, Missouri, or Jack Nicklaus playing (and winning) almost anywhere, Alistair Cooke on his favourite sport is a rare and constant pleasure. (The book also reveals a surprising but persistent tendresse for Rachel Welch.)