Category Archives: Kindle eBooks

Golf Poems-The Greatest Game in Rhythm & Rhyme-an Interview with author Bo Links

 Golf Poems: The Greatest Game in Rhythm and RhymeAuthor Bo Links, avid golfer and steward of the game has just released his newest book: GOLF POEMS – The Greatest Game in Rhythm and Rhyme. This well-written collection of poems provides a riveting reflection about the game, one that will resonate with any golfer who picks up this handy pocket-size book. As the title implies, the book conveys a meaningful image as to what makes the game so engaging, so special.

Here is Bo to tell us a little bit about the book.

1. What motivated you to write Golf Poems: The Greatest Game in Rhythm and Rhyme?
The game has always fascinated me. Every round is an adventure, no two shots alike. I wanted to capture the essence of all this in a little book that would be accessible to everyone. I also enjoy the game with my friends at the 19th hole and I wanted to provide stanzas for toasts that can be used any time, any place — but which will strike a responsive chord with golfers anywhere in the world.

2. You’ve described this book as an exploration of golf? Please explain how and why?
What is it like to be afraid on the green? Anyone who’s been there knows what I’m talking about. So go read “Desperate Thoughts of A Bad Putter.” It cuts to the bone with respect to a fear over a three-footer for all the marbles. The same is true when it comes to wind, which is the game’s most difficult (and fickle) challenge. So I wrote “The Wind By Any Name.” I’ve tried to touch on all aspects of the game in a very short, little space.

2. This is an impressive compilation of poems, which echo your thoughts and feelings about the game of golf. Within the collection you must have a favorite. If so, which poem and why?
These poems are like children. I love them all. And within them, there are stanzas that ring in my ears. Like this final one from “Home on the Range.” It speaks to the fact that optimism is a vital trait we should all cultivate:

For the true golfer knows
That dreams never die
As long as he swings
And continues to try.

There is a similar vein in that poem about the wind:

When, at last
The sun has set
And dusk begins to grow
With all our strokes recorded
We’ll reflect, and smile, and know
That though the wind was raging
And stole from us the score
We’ll rise at dawn tomorrow
To battle it once more.

3. You’ve given back to the game of golf for many years now, especially through your ongoing advocacy work in support of public golf. One of the projects you are most passionate about is “Saving Sharp Park“… a MacKenzie-designed golf course, in Pacifica, Calif. You’ve even written a poem about this course which appears in Golf Poems. Why such a connection to this modest, public course?
There’s an old saying: Still waters run deep. A corollary is that simple things touch us the deepest.SharpPark is a simple place, but the vibe there is so undeniably pure that it represents all that is good about the game. There is no class distinction there; no division. We’re all equals, fighting the same fight, struggling against the same demons. And when the battle is over, we retire to the same bar to drink together, laugh together and sometimes to cry together. And when you consider that all of this takes place in an incredibly beautiful place, where Alister MacKenzie worked his magic for public course golfers 80 year ago….well, how can you not save it? I can’t say it any better than that.

4. Golf Poems isn’t the only book you’ve penned. What other pieces of work have you written/published?
My first book, Follow the Wind, is the story of a young boy who meets up with Ben Hogan. Together they explore the richness of life itself and what makes golf such an important part of it. The story had touched golfers (and non-golfers) the world over. I once bumped into Deane Beman, former PGA TOUR commissioner, who told me he regularly read the story to his grandchildren when they were growing up. Quite a compliment.

My second book, Riverbank Tweed & Roadmap Jenkins: Tales from the Caddie Yard, is a series of related short stores, all told in a caddie’s laconic voice. I apply golf’s many lessons to life beyond the fairway. The characters are unforgettable, as are the events that take place. A game of “one ball” at Harding Park and a US Open qualifier during a lightning storm at Cypress Point.

I’ve also written several extended essays about golf in San Francisco, including Return to Glory (about the 2005 AmEx battle between Tiger Woods and John Daly at the restored Harding Park) and More Than A Game (about the 2009 Presidents Cup Match at Harding as well as the establishment of a First Tee facility at a troubled middle school in the middle of one of the City’s worst neighborhoods).

I try and strike a responsive chord with golfers the world over. Ben Crenshaw recently wrote to me after reading Golf Poems to say that the game is fortunate to have people like me out there writing about it with such passion. It was one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received.

5. If you had only one round of golf left to play, where would it be (name course) and who would accompany you in the foursome?
The Old Course atSt. Andrews with Ben Crenshaw, Bobby Jones and Old Tom Morris…playing with Old Tom’s equipment.

The book is available exclusively at Amazon, both in paperback and e-book form. Paperback is $12.99 and the Kindle version is $2.99.

About the Author

Bo LinksBO LINKS is a San Francisco attorney and an avid golfer and has spent a lifetime plumbing the depths of the ancient game. He has written two previous golf books: Follow the Wind and Riverbank Tweed and Roadmap Jenkins-Tales from the Caddie Yard. Links has dabbled in golf architecture (having twice won the Lido Design Contest sponsored by the Alister MacKenzie Society), and helped organize local golfers through the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance in an effort to preserve affordable golf. His latest effort in that regard has been the battle to Save Sharp Park, a treasured Alister MacKenzie course located in Pacifica, CA, just 10 miles south of San Francisco. He has served on the United States Golf Association’s Green Section Committee for more than 20 years and is frequently a keynote speaker at golf association meetings and conferences addressing issues of immense importance to golfers and the golf industry.If you are interested in Bo Links as a featured speaker for your organization or corporate golf outing, contact Patty Burness at (415) 564-3890 or via

An Interview with Al Barkow, Author of Sam: The One and Only Sam Snead

Al BarkowAl Barkow has been writing about golf for some 55 years including his tenure as former editor-in-chief of Golf and Golf Illustrated magazines. Al’s book Gettin’ to the Dance Floor: an Oral History of American Golf, won the first USGA International Golf Book of the Year award, in 1986.

1. What made you want to write about Sam Snead?

Sam was one of the greatest golfers in the game’s history, but had been ignored as a personality. He was taken to be just an uncommonly gifted athlete who didn’t know what he was doing but just did it, and otherwise, was a cranky, simple-minded rube from the Gettin' to the Dance Floorhills. From a long interview I had with Sam for my book, Gettin’ to the Dance Floor, an Oral History of American Golf, I found that there was much more to the man. For one thing, while he was given a marvelous athletic talent, he worked very hard to make it better and contrary to what Ben Hogan and others said, he knew exactly what he was doing with a golf club. For another, beneath the story-telling and profanity, and womanizing, there was a person with strong, even sentimental feelings about family and friends. I felt people should know more about Snead, and that there was a lot more to know.

2. What separated Snead from other prominent tour players during that era?

What separated Sam from the others, or most of the others of his era was his remarkable ability at the game, and the incredible grace of his action. Every time he swung a club we saw a bit of ballet. He was longer off the tee, had a wonderful touch for the short game, and was a better putter than he was given credit for.

Sam The One and Only Sam Snead3. When conducting research for the book what did you discover about this golf legend that was surprising or even shocking?

Discoveries? He had trouble clubbing himself. He needed a good caddie to put the right club in his hand. I don’t think it was his vision, it was some lack of confidence, which sounds odd but I think was the case. He would look in the bag of 20 handicap golfers to see what they were hitting for a shot from the same distance he had.

For another, he was far more generous with his money than the stories had it. He was always pictured as cheap, someone who hid his money in cans he buried in his backyard and so on. It was not at all the case. Many pros went to Sam for loans when they were down on their luck. However, if any of them did not remember the debt he would never lend them money again. Even if they never paid it back, as long as they acknowledge to Sam that he was owed everything was o.k.

He did have some chicanery about him. He played a lot of golf with amateur golfers – something Ben Hogan and others would never do – and for money. He would ask a golfer for his handicap, when there was time check it out with a phone call to his home course, or simply accept it and go from there. However, Sam always played as a scratch golfer, which meant he didn’t give as many strokes as he should have. He was really a plus six or so, but people didn’t know much about plus handicaps in those days. However, because so many amateurs he played were sandbagging their handicap it all came out about even.

4. If you had to describe Snead in three words (traits) what would they be?

Three words for Sam’s traits: Fun-loving, loyal, proud.

5. Might there be a favorite chapter?

The first chapter is one of my favorites, because it lays out the background from which he came and which shaped his personality.

6. Any plans for another golf-related book?

I am now working on a book on the Ben Hogan, Jack Fleck playoff (1955 US Open). I will also be publishing a book next Spring called Golf”s All-Time Firsts, Mosts, Leasts, and a Few Intriguing Nevers. It is a book of statistics and trivia, with a lot of golf history weaved into it.

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Author’s photo credit: Chris Felver

Golf Wisdom From the Legends (Sports Professor) by Matthew Adams, Released April 1, 2011 [Paperback and Kindle]

Sirius XM Radio host and New York Times best selling author Matt Adams has assembled a compendium of inspiring golf quotes–and there are many. One reason for their quotability might be because they apply so well to the game of life.

Here are a few:

“I think that to score in golf is a matter of confidence, if you think you cannot do it, then there is no chance that you will.” — Sir Henry Cotton, Open Champion 1934, 1937, 1948, Ryder Cup Captain 1947 and 1953.

“Don’t hurry, don’t worry. You are only here for a short visit, so don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.” –Walter Hagen, U.S. Open Champion 1914, 1919, Open Champion 1922, 1924, 1928, 1929, PGA Champion, 1921, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927.

“Golf reflects the cycle of life. No matter what you shoot, the next day you have to go back to the first tee and begin all over again and make yourself into something.” — Peter Jacobsen, U.S. Senior Open Champion 2004, Senior Players Champion 2005.

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Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias by Don Van Natta Jr., Released June 2, 2011 [Hardcover, Kindle, Audio]

Wonder Girl“It would be much better if she and her ilk stayed at home, got themselves prettied up and waited for the phone to ring.”

Fortunately for us Babe Didrikson Zaharias did not listen to sportswriter Joe Williams but the quote does capture the state of affairs for women athletes in the early 20th Century.

Named one of the Top 10 athletes of the 20th Century, Babe Didrikson Zaharias’s accomplishments are legendary.

-Two track and field Gold Medals and one Silver Medal (1932 Los Angeles Olympics)
-All-American status in basketball
-Expert diver, roller-skater, and bowler
-The first (and currently only) woman in history to make the cut in a regular PGA Tour event

(Oh, and she was an expert seamstress making many of the clothes she wore, including her golfing outfits.)

In this biography of Babe’s life, author Don Van Natta Jr. brings to life the extraordinary life and sporting career of golf’s first female superstar.

A founding member of the LPGA, Babe (named after Babe Ruth) won more consecutive tournaments than any golfer in history. But near the peak of her fame she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Never one to give up, a month after undergoing surgery Babe won her 10th and final major with a U.S. Women’s Open championship.

“Wonder Girl is a wonderful read about a woman who charged through life shattering stereotypes on the playing fields and off. As a boy I followed her amazing career in the sports pages as she changed the face of golf and the Olympics but now, thanks to Don Van Natta, I have the complete story of this authentically American trail blazer who was so much more than just a gifted athlete.” (Tom Brokaw )

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The Art of the Swing: Short Game Swing Sequencing Secrets That Will Improve Your Total Game in 30 Days by Stan Utley and Matthew Rudy, Released May 12, 2011 [Hardcover and Kindle]

The Art of the Swing“Utley is kind of an aw-shucks pro who doesn’t seem to offer much until you put a club in his hand, and then suddenly he becomes Stephen Hawking.”
-Golf Digest

If you’re looking for help with your short game (and whom amoung us should not be focused here?) you might want to tap into Utley’s latest thinking. It’s a 30-day program focused on grip, stance and posture.

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An Interview with Tony Rosa, Author of The Schoolboy and Two for Tee

Tony RosaOur guest interview today is with Tony Rosa, author of two books aimed squarely at today’s youth and written to address the kinds of moral challenges that many of us faced when we were young. The Schoolboy and Two for Tee will introduce a young person to good role models which is often as important as buying them a new driver. It’s also less expensive and the lessons last longer.

1. Who is your target audience?
I hope my stories are good enough to draw wide appeal beyond any specific, targeted group. With the concise and straight-forward writing, the books don’t ramble on for an unnecessary epic length. So far, the main characters have been teenage boys, and so some would say that’s the target audience. But I know golfers of all ages enjoy the books. I’ve even had teenage girls and grandmothers praising the stories. I try not to get too preachy, but I’m hopeful young readers will come away with something. Also, since the characters are all interrelated, I’m trying to convey the old motto of trying to understand others by looking at the world from their perspective.
2. Why junior golf?
Like most writers, I’d have to admit the subject became apparent to me through the creative process. I asked myself: What was the first time you ever felt like you were on your own? I immediately thought about my mother dropping me off at the municipal golf course to play in a junior golf tournament. I signed-up on my own and played with a group of strangers and could remember how alone, yet, how different things were going to be for me after I had proved I could do something on my own. That experience and many that followed provided the inspiration for my first golf story, The Schoolboy.
The Schoolboy3. How are your books different than other golf fiction?
I’ve read a number of junior golf books, some good, and some that made me wince. For me, most of the golf fiction out there follows a formulaic plot that would have an underdog character winning a tournament at the end of the story. For starters, having never won a golf tournament, I decided to stay away from that. My experience comes from being around the game and hopefully having an ability to identify those peripheral things that teach us lessons. Growing up, I was urged to play in a number of junior golf tournaments and I always came home empty-handed. I attempt to make my golf stories a testament that all of life’s victories are not on display in the trophy case.
4. Are you an advocate for junior golf?
Absolutely. As a kid, I benefited from the generosity of those in the golf community and benefited greatly from participating in tournaments and summers at golf camp. Like my characters in the books, you don’t realize it until you have a chance to look back. But, make no mistake, junior golf is not an easy sport nor is it something for the faint of heart. It is hours out in the hot summer sun carrying a bag over miles of terrain and hacking at piles of practice balls. It does come with a financial cost as well, although with the efforts of some absolutely wonderful junior golf programs, I am convinced that any kid that shows real initiative and drive for the game, that his or her financial situation would not hold them back.
5. What about the life lessons learned in golf. Would you mind explaining what that means?
You can’t watch a tournament on television without catching at least one commercial extolling the life lessons learned in golf; I think that’s true of most sports. In golf, there’s no where to hide from your mistakes. You can’t blame a teammate, you can’t blame the umpire or referee for making a bad call, and you generally can’t claim you were oversized. In golf, you can’t play defense and everyone matches up against the same layout and conditions using the same regulated equipment. There’s generally no home team crowd or cheering squads giving you a lift and the biggest challenges are both physical and mental. I could go on forever just laying the groundwork for what golf is all about, but it certainly provides an arena for you to learn about yourself and your approach to life. Some of these are celebrated in my golf stories.
Two for Tee6. I recollect two widely reported stories in 2010 involving young golfers and integrity. One guy purposely took a bad shot to help another player advance and the second fellow called a violation on himself.
Golf has a long history of teaching young folks. The two examples of integrity you mention are part of the multitude of good acts that happen everyday on the golf course. As a writer, I wanted to look at the other side of the coin. I thought it would be interesting to dig for the root causes and create characters that ponder and often decide to ignore the rules.

In my second novel, “Two for Tee”, Chad and Buzzy learn lessons and sometimes forget what they’ve been taught. They play together in a junior golf tournament where their foursome condones a lack of integrity and they react to the situation at polar opposites. Why would a character cheat in golf the first place? I realized their reasons would be the same as if they decided to cheat off the golf course. When it comes to young folks, ignorance, defiance, and a need to conform were at the top of my list. In “Two for Tee”, I also thought it was important to show how fruitless or how insignificant the result can be when someone decides to bend the rules.
7. Are we missing an opportunity to generate heightened interest with our youth and amateur players if we allow professional golfers to complete in the 2016 Olympics?
First off, I think it’s great for golf. But the way your question is framed, I can’t help but think about how the basketball “Dream Team” exploded onto the Olympic scene. I know it’s all about TV ratings, selling tickets, and endorsement deals, but the coverage of the NBA superstars at the Olympics overshadowed the truly “amateur” athletes at the games. The lesser-knowns worked their whole lives in their sport with the ultimate goal being the representation of their country at the Olympic Games. Meanwhile, the TV cameras were focused on every move made by the well-known members of the “Dream Team”. I’m not knocking the superstar professionals, but it appeared that their participation in the Olympics was little more than a friendly diversion from their regular season goals. As proof, I recall how the best players dropped off the team as the novelty wore off.

As for golf, there is an international competition called the World Cup of Golf. It appears to me that the best U.S. golfers haven’t been interested in competing at this event for a very long time. There are numerous team competitions for both professionals and amateurs with the most popular being the Ryder Cup and the President’s Cup. I recall some recently rumored rumblings about some professionals wanting a cut of the money to appear in these matches.

So, for the young and the amateur wanting to compete for their country in the Olympics, I offer two pieces of advice. Practice and work hard to become one of the best golfers in your country. Or, just wait about twenty years for the spotlight to fade and the professionals to decide the novelty of the Olympics is not part of their regular goals.

Deane Beman: Golf’s Driving Force by Adam Schupak, Released April 24, 2011 [Paperback and Kindle]

Deane Beman; Golf's Driving ForceIf golf is about business, then Beman is the “patron saint”. Once described as The Most Powerful Person in Golf, former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman’s contributions to today’s professional circuit are legendary: introduction of The Player’s Championship, the Tournament Players Club course network, Tour-logoed clothing and all the deal-making you would expect there to be to create today’s PGA Tour.

Deane Beman has had more influence on professional golf than any man in history. Among sports commissioners, he rates ahead of Landis and Rozelle. They built it; he invented it. If you care about the game, you’ll want to read this book. –Jerry Tarde, Editor-in-Chief of Golf Digest

Without Deane Beman, there wouldn’t be a PGA Tour, a Players Championship, or a TPC Sawgrass as we know it. This is an inside read on how it all came together where the bodies are buried, so to speak. This isn’t just Deane’s memoirs; the reporting and writing of Adam Schupak make it a history lesson about a pioneer and game changer. –Tim Rosaforte, Golf World/Golf Digest, Golf Channel and NBC Sports

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