FINAL ROUNDS by James  Dodson


A Father, a Son, the Golf Journey of a Lifetime
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 A journalist's touching memoir of his father's dying months, during which the two men reflected at length on life, death, and golf. To golf writer Jim Dodson and his father, Brax, golf was more than a game or even a way of life: It was life. Indeed, the two celebrated every rite, commemorated every occasion, and measured the passage of time with club in hand, a fact Jim movingly explains: ``The golf course--any golf course, anywhere--became our playground and refuge, the place where we sorted things out or escaped them all together, debated without rancor, found common ground, discovered joy, suspended grief, competed like crazy and took each other's pocket change.'' When Jim learned that his father's cancer, a decade in remission, had returned with a vengeance, he and the old man pressed ahead on a planned tour of England and Scotland, home of the game's sacred links. As the pair visited Troon, the Old Course at St. Andrews (the celebrated ancestral ground of the game), the tatty links at Carnoustie (reckoned by many to be the ``sternest test in all of Britain''), and other golfing locales, they duffed a few rounds, downed some pints, and basked in the dying light of a great friendship. The easygoing Brax joked with the locals and spun amusing and harrowing war stories for his son over the long drives between courses. He survived the trip and kept death at bay for a few months, never losing the uncanny optimism that Jim claims could have ``taught the entire Hemlock Society the power of positive thinking.'' Among the lessons the younger Dodson took from the trip was the conviction that, ultimately, ``golf is mostly about who you choose to play with.'' One cannot help but be moved by this alternately funny and sad, beautifully written elegy to a man and a game.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-553-10003-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1996


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