Kirkus Reviews QR Code


How Scotsman David McLay Kidd and His Ragtag Band Built the First New Course on Golf’s Holy Soil in Nearly a Century

by Scott Gummer

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-592-40322-6
Publisher: Gotham Books

Former Golf magazine senior writer Gummer details—and details and details—architect David McLay Kidd’s creation of the seventh golf course at Scotland’s legendary St. Andrews.

The decision by the St. Andrews Links Trust to create a new course on their grounds, the first such addition in nearly a century, was significant news in the golf world and would prove to be a feather in the cap of the designer who secured the job. Kidd, a golf-course architect with an impressive reputation, learned about the opportunity, put his name in the hat of possible designers, conducted a couple of interviews, solicited a bid and after being selected for the job created an 18-hole golf course in roughly the time he was allotted. There isn’t much excitement or surprise in this tale, as Gummer relates the importance of drainage to golf-course design and explains why not all types of sand are the same. He paints Kidd and his employees as a crew of badass pirates composed of volatile personalities that threatened to explode, but the biggest conflagration occurred when a staff member lost interest in his work and offered his resignation…which Kidd accepted. Other “crises,” such as the discovery of some archaeological artifacts that temporarily halted work and an employee who appeared to be in over his head, were dealt with quickly and without much drama—which allows many more pages to be devoted to budget examinations and schedule analyses. Rather than a dynamic and heroic figure, Kidd often seems small and insecure. Gummer’s many attempts to give his story Larger Significance are generally embarrassing.

A contender for Least Interesting Book of the Year.