In this debut middle-grade fantasy novella, a young girl plays through an adventurous golf course that teaches her as much about herself as it does about the sport.
When 9-year-old Skyler accidentally falls into a puddle in her backyard, it transports her to an engaging fantasy world called “the Puddle Club.” The first beings that she encounters are an eager golf ball named Ralphie and an astute gopher named Par. The latter explains that the only way for Skyler to return home is to complete the local golf course, and he equips her with the necessary equipment and wisdom to do so. But despite Par’s advice to go ahead and start playing, Skyler feels the need to first stop by Practiceopolis. She’s excited by the energy in this busy “paradise golf park,” but after the workers there pressure her into buying top-notch golf equipment and practicing an absurd amount of time, she decides to go ahead and start the course. She and Ralphie make their way from hole to hole, facing obstacles such as distracting “Yip” trolls, the sandy Pit of Doom that has a mind of its own, and the dreaded Gustina, “the wind goddess of golf.” Skyler makes plenty of mistakes along the way but also learns valuable lessons, the most important of which is this: “When you’re in the game and things start to look impossible…you gotta jump right in and play through.” McGruther and Russell’s book is, in equal parts, entertaining, educational, and inspiring. They describe the scenery of the Puddle Club with delightful detail and creative wit, and the clear plot gives readers a constant sense of direction despite all of its thrilling diversions. The book is also full of vital insights for new golfers, including three simple questions to ask oneself before every hole. Many of its lessons reach far beyond the realm of golf, however, highlighting the importance of purposeful focus, the dangers of perfectionism, and the joy that can come from seeking improvement.
A fine teaching tool that offers advice for getting through a golf game—and through life.