(Preface to Golf, In So Many Words, The 257
Most Essential Things To Know About the Game of Golf by
Thomas Finley - PublishAmerica, 2004)
is perhaps the greatest game on the face of the earth. Millions
worldwide think that it is. I’ve played and enjoyed football,
basketball, baseball and tennis but I have never been so enamored
with a sport as I have been with golf. It is difficult to explain
but it just gets in your blood. Golf is probably the most difficult
game I have ever played. It is very, very challenging to master.
Perhaps that is the allure, continually striving to improve your
golf swing, to lower your score; trying to figure it all out and
get better. It can become a never ending process. To many this sport
can become more than just a game. It can become a way of life.
The world of golf is enjoying another great explosion of interest
and popularity especially since Tiger Woods came on the scene and
attracted so many new fans to the game. Tiger has generated an interest
in golf just as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Sam Snead, Bobby Jones
and Francis Ouimet did in earlier generations. In today’s
business world playing golf has almost become necessary. There are
so many companies that hold golf outings for employees or customers
or both that many feel left out if they can’t play the game.
Also golf is a great way to entertain customers or get to know business
associates because you are together for at least four hours (probably
closer to five hours), often riding together in a cart or walking
the fairways together. It is harder to find a better place to take
a walk and enjoy someone else’s company than on a nicely manicured,
lush green golf course. Many business deals have been consummated
on the links. Many families are taking up the game and playing together.
Golf has become a universal sport and is being played on most continents.
It has probably become the most popular individual sport throughout
There have been so many new golf courses built in America in the
last 10 to15 years that there are a great many choices in most areas
as to the kind of courses available. One does not need to belong
to an exclusive country club in order to play. In most cities and
towns around America there are several public courses available
and at reasonable prices. So golf has become more available, affordable
and more and more people are taking up the game. That’s great,
the more the merrier. However, many experienced golfers have noticed
the number of people who are playing golf who seemingly know very
little about the game. After all, golf is the most complicated game
to play in the world. There is so much to know. The best way I can
define this for you is to simply say that there is a book entitled
“Decisions on the Rules of Golf” that describes decisions
and rulings that have been made by golf officials in American and
Great Britain on the rules of golf. It is 581 pages long. Now that
is not the rule book, but the book of rulings on the rules of golf.
It reads similarly to books you would find in a law library. Of
course the most complicated part of golf is the actual playing of
the game where you are faced with so many different types of shots
using up to 14 clubs in your bag playing in differing weather conditions
on many different challenging golf courses. It ain’t easy!
This book has been written for those occasional golfers, weekend
and beginning golfers and others such as spectators who want to
have a better understanding of the game they are playing or enjoy
watching without spending a lifetime trying to learn it. I like
to think of this as Golf Appreciation 101. It includes most of the
things one would need to know to comport himself or herself appropriately
on the course and around the clubhouse. It is intended to remove
the reader from a state of naiveté about the game. There
are a lot of things that a golf professional just doesn’t
teach. Most books on golf only cover history or the rudiments of
hitting a golf ball. We’ve gone a step further and have tried
to include most of what other books exclude plus a little bit of
the other stuff. I have endeavored to share the best of what I have
learned about the game of golf in almost 50 years of watching, playing,
learning, and reading that I consider essential to knowledge of
the game and total enjoyment. Let me add that you don’t have
to play golf to enjoy watching it as long as you understand the
Some might consider me a golf scholar but just maybe the words “golf
junkie” are more appropriate. Let me readily confess that
I am not a professional golfer as I was never pulled in that direction.
I am a businessman, golf writer and historian. On one occasion I
coached my daughter’s high school golf team which was made
up of mostly beginners. I have shot par on several occasions and
once had a single digit handicap but I am a weekend golfer so I
can easily relate to most of you. As mentioned for almost 50 years
I have hung out around the game of golf, the people who play it
and where it is played. I’ve learned a lot about this game
over these many years so let me share some of it with you. Hopefully
it will add to your appreciation and enjoyment of this great game.
By the way, let me just add that I most often make reference to
men and right-handed golfers in the writing of this book. I suppose
I just think masculine and right side. So ladies please don’t
be offended because almost everything in this book will apply to
you as well. When I write he, I am also thinking she. Lefties, just
reverse everything I say about playing golf. If I say left arm,
think right arm, etc. Fore!
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