Dodson (Beautiful Madness: One Man's Journey Through Other People's Gardens, 2006, etc.) downsizes his working relationship to golf and upgrades the quality of his life when he returns to his North Carolina hometown.
By 2005, golf was giving the author a bad case of professional yips. Dodson felt (and convincingly expresses here) that the PGA Tour, which he covered for a glossy magazine, had been drained of color and personality and was moving perilously far from its fan base. “Slow death by corporate prosperity” was fulfilling the worry expressed in 1960 by the founder of the Augusta National Golf Club, that “you’d eventually get one big business rather than a game.” On a visit to Pinehurst, where his father had introduced him to golf, he was captivated by the town's easy rhythm, its scented air and the prospect of writing for a local paper about things that he loved and cared about—not to mention all that links time on Pinehurst's deservedly famous courses. The town's laid-back atmosphere is perfectly captured in Dodson's prose, whether describing a game of golf with his growing circle of friends, tendering nuggets of wisdom to his son (“golf and life are both games subject to change without notice”) or even pondering death. Dodson’s lack of pretense and his wealth of conviviality give readers a sense of investment in the man and his modest work, which is long on sentiment but not extravagantly so.
A humane, insightful memoir of elemental composure and meaning regained.