THE RUB OF THE GREEN by William Hallberg


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Ted Kendall grows up in Bowling Green, Ohio, across from a golf course, and first takes up the game after his mother's death from cancer. Arriving at Ohio State--Jack Nicklaus' alma mater--he wins a scholarship in a round of play-off matches and is on his way to becoming the top golfer in the school--with the exception of charismatic Dave ""Trayn"" Traynham. Trayn and Ted become fast friends, despite the cavalier way Trayn treats his gorgeous girlfriend, Janice Thompson, with whom Ted is mooningly in love. After many breakups and tumultuous reunions (and one brief fling with Ted), Janice marries Trayn, Trayn and Ted qualify for the PGA tour together, and the three travel around the country to various tournaments, staying at the same motels. Naturally, Janice and Ted fall into each other's arms while Trayn is out burning up the golf courses. When Trayn finds out, he hits Janice; Ted retaliates by running Trayn down with his car, breaking both of his legs. He pleads guilty to reduced assault charges, and is sent to a ""country club"" jail in Moss Point, Mississippi, where--with the help of a drunk driver and an embezzler--he builds the warden a beautiful two-hole golf course. In the end, he even becomes reconciled with Trayn, who is struggling to rejoin the pro tour. Marvelous--even rhapsodic--on the game of golf, and on playing on the professional level. But this first novel is less good on affairs of the heart--Ted and Janice together are never really believable. Still, quiet, gentle, wonderfully well-written sports fiction--reminiscent in tone and romantic aura to John Hough, Jr.'s, baseball book, The Conduct of the Game (1986).

Pub Date: June 17th, 1988
Publisher: Doubleday