Two golf-lovers team up for a comic first novel. Our hero and narrator, Tom Cruickshank, is playing perhaps his worst round of golf ever at Pine Valley, and since his boss has a deal riding on Tom's performance, he may lose his job. Then Tom is whisked away by an elderly golfer named Harry Brady, magically transported to the greens of Mount Augustus, the most difficult course in the universe because it's ruled by Scottish gods every bit as capricious as those in the Greek pantheon. If Tom plays a great round, Harry assures him, he'll enjoy a reward from the Great God MacKenzie himself—and, since time doesn't exist on Mount Augustus, Tom can return to his earthly match only moments after leaving. In fact, Tom is, without his knowledge, being auditioned as Harry's replacement as the gopher for the gods: In exchange for certain favors, Harry long ago agreed to keep the immortals supplied with Cuban cigars, fancy perfumes, and vintage liquor from the mortal world. Smith and Holms have a lot of fun with this, using holes one through eighteen to portray the various lesser gods of golf such as Mulligan, god of excuses; Divot, god of bad lies; Twitch, god of putting; and Lorena, a foul-smelling harpy who presides over the wicked slice. Best of all are Wendell and Ruppert, hucksters who talk like siding salesmen, the gods of winter rules; and the hated MacTavish, the legalistic, entirely unreasonable god of all rules. Days pass, Harry disappears, and Tom even falls in love before he's brought to trial in the clubhouse, accused of cheating. Threatened with spending eternity in the celestial foundry, Tom negotiates a clever deal and marches back to the next hole at Pine Valley with every confidence he'll win the round. Aimed at the country club set, and very funny.
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