Novelist and memoirist Snyder (The Winter Travelers: A Christmas Fable, 2011, etc.) returns with the overwrought story of his training to be a caddie so he could help his son, who hopes for a PGA career.
Written in the form of a journal, the book proceeds from late 2006 to early 2012, when the author’s son, Jack, after a winter’s discontent with tournament golf, decided he would surrender his athletic dreams. Snyder begins by declaring he wants to stay close to his son because he never wanted “to lose him the way my father had lost me.” He describes his 2007 decision to go to Scotland, where he lived frugally, often out of contact with his wife, son and daughters, to learn caddying. Jack made the golf team at the University of Toledo but was dropped from the team (poor grades), greatly disappointing the author, who wrestles throughout with this turn of events. Snyder, a talkative father, rarely misses an opportunity to preach to his son. The clichés flow in an endless stream—keep trying, don’t give up, life is a struggle, “it’s the mistakes that really determine the shape of our lives.” Often more telling than the words are the silences. The author rarely mentions his daughters (what do they think of all this?) and writes little about his wife, even though she didn’t see him for months. The author is not shy about self-promotion—we hear continually about his writing and how often his true grit has paid off—and he delivers some anti–Tiger Woods rants, as well.
A golf-is-life allegory that fails to make the cut.