As you might expect, a golf novel by Gault is much better than par for the course of most sports novels. In Don Shea, he has drawn a typical loner for the loner's game. At 13, Don got bounced from his bag snatching job at the local country club for belting a member's son. The twin devils of temper and inverted snobbery have already taken root in Don's character. His battle to conquer the game and invade professional ranks is also a battle to conquer these things in himself. Circumstance has a lot to do with it--the scene is Southern California, Don is of Mexican descent and his mother is a widow. As Don grows up and finishes high school and college, he works toward the day he can get started at the qualifying rounds of pro competitions and always at jobs connected with golf. The economics of the game, where the money is crowded at the top; the frustrations of the professionals (""Being unhappy is part of the game""); and their dedication, which is both selfless and guilt-provokingly selfish, are all well handled in one of the few novels around with special appeal for beginning divot diggers.