After his father’s death, Turk Pipkin (a 15.9 handicap) played a round at storied Pebble Beach. He escaped with a rocky 89, but gained an epiphany: To honor his dad’s memory, he would spend the next year remaking his game, then return to Pebble on his 50th birthday determined to break 80.
Thus do two “old men” dominate The Old Man and the Tee: How I Took Ten Strokes Off My Game and Learned to Love Golf All Over Again (St. Martin’s Press). One is the author, a former stand-up comedian, occasional actor (The Sopranos, The Alamo), and lifelong golfer who learned the game from his own old man, “Pip” Pipkin.
On this sometimes poignant, sometimes hilarious “middle-aged vacation from reality,” Pipkin consults gurus including Ben Crenshaw, David Leadbetter, Dave Pelz, and Chuck Cook. Along the way, he pays homage to Harvey Penick, trades quips with Willie Nelson, and meets Gregorio Fuentes, the 100-year-old fisherman who inspired Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.
This bouncing, quixotic quest is hole-in-one reading for anyone who loves the game — or hates their own game and would love to love it more. — Chris Tucker
Grips And Grins
Those who don’t play golf may wonder if the new DVD from Razor & Tie, Golf For Dummies, is mainly a depiction of those who do. And knowing how frustrating the great game of golf can be, having a sense of humor is essential. CBS-TV golf commentator and former PGA Champions Tour winner Gary McCord aims to keep players sane in this spinoff from his book of the same name. In 75 minutes of fast-talking good spirits, the mustachioed McCord offers plenty of common-sense advice to beginners and the walking wounded alike. $20.
— Thomas Bedell