am 27. März 2000
When John Updike brings the depth and breadth of his intelligence to bear upon a subject, the light of his insight and wisdom radiates from his silky prose. One expects to be enlightened as he reviews contemporary novels or tackles current questions of theology. I didn't know what to expect from his essays on golf, but having read "Golf Dreams", I would say that Updike loves this enigmatic game every bit as much as he loves fiction, theology, and philosophy. If we find a writer's love in his attention to detail, then in these essays Updike shares his deep love not only in the details of the game itself, but in the details of playing of golf in New England and his love for his golfing companions. It is as if in a life of a writing discipline, book tours, speaking engagements, and other demands, Updike can rely upon the fidelity of his foursome and the bucolic mysticism of golf itself as a source of constant and dependable pleasure. Fortunately, because like most of us who play, Updike's pleasure does not depend upon his mastery of the game; but our reading pleasure does depend on Updike's mastery of lucid prose to express his golf dreams.
am 13. September 1998
A collection of pieces about golf, mostly bad golf. These essays and short stories have appeared in Golf Digest & The New Yorker, so some you may have already read, BUT you haven't heard them read by the author! There always seems to be a specialness given to any piece read by the author. Though any reader may be coached to the correct inflection, the author truly knows how his story is to be read; where the pauses are, how the intonation and pacing should be. The stories themselves are from the perspective of the player, the hacker who loves the game though his scorecards seldom show the game loving him. The piece on how the popularity of the game is endangering the sport, studies the subject from many angles and shows Updike a genuine lover of the game, no matter what the condition of the course or length of wait on the tee.