Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan

by John Coyne (publication date May 8, 2006)

From the publisher’s press release:

In The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan, bestselling writer John Coyne draws on his passion and knowledge of golf, and his life long fascination with Hall of Famer Ben Hogan, to write a suspenseful and nostalgic tale about how the game reflects and can change one’s life.
The book is filled with dazzling descriptions of hole-by-hole match play drama. Laced with stories from the golden age of the sport, and glimpses of a secret love affair in the bedrooms of the vast club house, The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan is also a novel of friendship, great golf, and lost love.
Returning as an honored guest to the exclusive country club where he caddied as a boy, Jack Handley remembers the summer of 1946 when he carried Ben Hogan’s bag in the last Chicago Open. Now a respected historian, he recounts, to the assembled sons and daughters of members he once knew, the dramatic match played between the mysterious
and charismatic Hogan and the young pro he idealized. He also describes the love affair between the young home pro and the daughter of the club’s president.
At the end of this magical summer, the club pro wins and loses at golf and love, while Coyne’s young caddy learns lessons for life taught to him by one of golf’s finest gentlemen and players of the game, Ben Hogan.
Geoff Shackelford, author of The Future of Golf, writes that Coyne so cleverly tells his original tale, “you will be shocked to learn that this is merely the product of his rich imagination.” And Norman Rush, National Book Award Winner for Mating, makes note that Coyne has used his story of this imagined encounter with Ben Hogan as a way of employing “golf as a lens through which aspects of Midwestern daily life in the 1940s, of thwarted love, social class, are revealed with stark and unsettling clarity.”
This evocative novel is for readers who love a dramatic story that blends fact with fiction, written by a novelist who loves language as much as he loves the game of golf. He was first introduced to the game as a twelve-year-old caddie at Midlothian Country Club in Illinois and made his last “loop” in the summer of 1959.
John Coyne has written and edited over twenty books of fiction and nonfiction, including three books on golf instruction, Better Golf, New Golf for Women, and Playing with the Pros. Born in Chicago and a teenage caddie at Midlothian Country Club, he graduated from St. Louis University and served with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia before careers as a college administrator and novelist. He lives in Pelham Manor, New York.

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