Posts tagged ‘golf’

Book Review: THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE by Steven Pressfield

the correct one.

By Steven Pressfield
Published by Avon Books4
272 pages
ISBN: 2286116318

In the world of fictional sports novels, we have the mysterious Roy Hobbs in THE NATURAL. In SHOELESS JOE (better known in the movie world as FIELD OF DREAMS) we have the mysterious voice. Both titles, whether considering the book or the film, are entertaining in their ethereal approach to the inner game of baseball.

And in golf, we have THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE. Instead of the voice, we have Bagger Vance himself – an oracle of the skills and mindset of golf who has always been, and will always be. Bagger holds the key to the ‘authentic swing’, to the heart and soul of the true reality of not only golf, but the reality of life as a whole.

THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE is told to us through they eyes of a young caddy named Hardy, who through circumstances of the economy and societal practices of 1920s Georgia, finds himself aligned with local golf hero Rannulph Junuh in a huge exhibition golf match against super-golfers Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen. Junuh has been approached by the town of Savannah to take on Jones and Hagen – and what Savannah gets in the deal is Junuh’s inseparable coach and mentor by the name of Bagger Vance.

Junuh at first wants nothing to do with the match, but through the persistence of young Hardy and through the philosophical words of Bagger, Junuh joins in. Hagen and Jones, the world-famous golfers, bring their celebrity to the event in huge doses; one with glamour and wit, the other with an almost professorial approach to the game. Junuh brings his past with him, which entails military experiences that would shatter many a man, and with an impressive golf pedigree.

As the story unfolds, the three tee off against each other over 36 holes of golf and head through storms, wayward golf shots, amazing putts, and a show of golf skill that had never been seen in Savannah. Bagger, with young Hardy at his side, brings his knowledge and influence to both Rannulph Junuh and Hardy throughout the duration of the event. The conflicts come in the personalities of the three golfers, and even more so in the intermingling of the mindset of Bagger and Junuh.

The story sometimes gets a bit thick in its philosophies of the inner game in the human mind – it can be hard to follow the thoughts as presented by Bagger Vance as he trains Junuh in the ways of the ‘authentic swing’. There are truly exciting moments as the match crosses the golf course with shots of deft control – or maybe total lack of any control.

And like FIELD OF DREAMS and THE NATURAL, the movies and the books don’t always match up in their story lines, but they make a good feast for those who like to read novels or watch movies about sports. THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE is another to add to that class.


Week Nineteen

Golf… that magic time when I can be outside and allowed to hit things on purpose.  I got out for the second time of the year (Eagle’s Landing … my favorite course….) with a new friend – Craig of Pequot Lakes.  He and I performed in DIARY OF ANNE FRANK last fall at the community college in town, where we found we’re both fans of old TV shows and that we also know the same trivial stupid things.  Anyway, off to golf we went on a very nice morning.  It had started out all cloudy and rain-threatening, but most of our 18 holes were in a nice sunny day, enhanced by a nice breeze.  I did fairly poor the first nine, with a 62… improved a whole lot better on the back with a 51, including two pars.  I hope Craig and I get out more as the summer passes.


And speaking of plays, we started rehearsals for CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES: THE SECOND COMING.  Wilma and I are in the cast along with Kate, Janis, and a former student of mine, Dana…. We had really struggled to find the right person to play the daughter, and then after a conversation with a friend at my former school, we came up with Dana… and she’s a perfect fit!!!  I play the pastor, Wilma is Vivian Snustad, Kate is Karin Gilmerson, Janis plays Mavis the farmer’s wife, and Dana serves as Karin’s daughter Beverly.  The show will be running in the first two weekends of July … I’ll have more info here as time passes.


Lots of rain this weekend… and we need it.  I find myself nearly paranoid as the rain starts… not out of fear, but out of wanting to keep our basement dry.  It all started when Wilma and I moved in here in 1989 – and had water in the basement on our first day.  Since then, I have made a private vow to myself that water will not again show up in our basement… and I haven’t always been successful.  So, I spend almost every rainstorm looking out the front door, making sure the gutters are running – and then I find myself out on a step ladder clearly the down spouts…. There’s gotta be a better way.

some of the teachers in their medieval garb

some of the teachers in their medieval garb


Thursday was interesting.  One of the local elementary schools sent their third graders out to a local Boy Scout camp, where an actual castle has been built.  We spent the day walking the kids through the life of medieval days – sampling foods, trying on costumes, playing games, archery, catapults, the life of a Viking – and I played a trumpet call to announce the change of each session.  Pretty amazing stuff….


I had an emotional response to some of the stuff online about presidents and umbrellas… wrote a blog item for it, too.  You can read that later on in my blog….


So here comes the end of May … and Memorial Day.



Week Eighteen










As winter relinquishes its hold on our existence, Wilma and I are slowly getting the lake place in shape.  We own a small 100 by 50 foot lot in a lake association – and we have to rake (check) and put out yard stuff (check) clean the cabin (check) and put in the plants (not check – yet…..).  We have some new chairs for the yard that are quite comfortable, so that’s good.  The water is connected and in good shape, and I got the hot water heater to fire up right away, which is VERY good.  The only thing holding up the real summer is that due to the ice out there on the lake, we’ll be putting out the docks a month later than usual.  Oh well, you can’t have everything.

I got out golfing for the first time with my father-in-law’s clubs.  Down I went to my favorite course (You’re welcome, Eagle’s Landing) and joined good pals Jigs and his wife Maggie – we walked the first nine, and by the time we were done, I had to stop and head home for my evening events… I hope we’ll do more rounds as the summer elapses…. We’re set for this coming Friday as well.  My score for this time:  not bad, with a 54.

My evening event was our monthly Heartland Poets group.  We’re a small group, meeting Sept – May every year.  I’ve written some good stuff and some real trash, learning some good poetry stuff along the way.   I’ve met some good people through this group, and have even had a few things published – most recently, a poem about my mom showed up in the HOMETOWN FOCUS issue of May 9, just in time for Mothers’ Day.  If you click on the link, that page with the poem will come up.  Click on it to enlarge it, and to enlarge it further, click on the lower right corner.  Anyway, I sure have enjoyed my 3 years with the group and I look forward to growing as a writer and poet.

And speaking of Mothers’ Day, I have to say how much I appreciate the moms in my life.  My mother was wonderful – we shared a sense of humor and a love of music.  My two sisters are mothers – five kids between them – and are such good friends to me – I admire what they have done.  I have two sisters-in-law who enjoy their 4 kids – my mother-in-law is a paragon of motherhood… and then there’s my grandmothers, aunts, cousins …

But I can’t stop this part of this week’s blog without lauding my wife Wilma.  She has been a strong role model for our two kids – her commitment to them is phenomenal, her love for them is endless…..

I thank God for all the mothers in my life.