Tag Archives: Travel

An Interview with David Wood, Author of Around the World in 80 Rounds: Chasing a Golf Ball from Tierra del Fuego to the Land of the Midnight Sun

David WoodDavid Wood did what many of us think about, but rarely do: quit life as we know it to pursue a dream. In his case it was to travel the world playing golf. It’s a great yarn and an education as well.

David’s book has been recently re-released in paperback and a Kindle version is forthcoming. If you love travel and golf, you’ll want to listen to David.

1. What’s the most dangerous animal you encountered?
I encountered two giant kangaroos on a tee-box at the Golf Club at Kennedy near Perth, Australia right on the Indian Ocean.  I walked about a hedge and they suddenly appeared. They were huge and were staring at me him they wanted to beat me up. These two specimens looked like a couple of longshoremen who had been weaned on doughnuts and beer since they left the pouch. I was surprised they didn’t have tattoos. Luckily, I escaped unharmed. Also, I saw a lion at a game reserve in Zimbabwe (after playing golf near Victoria Falls ) around 100 yards away that would have made quick work of me, but a giraffe had died and he was having his dinner.

2. As Americans begin traveling again, what are the top two destinations they should consider?

Argentina, and South American in general, is vastly underrated. The cultures are sophisticated and diverse. The people are most always polite. The natural wonders are off the charts good. Plus, the exchanges rates are probably the best in the world for Americans. And, New Zealand is the promised land. It might well be the single most beautiful country on Earth. It’s easy to get around (I recommend a campervan), the natives are friendly also, the climate is balmy and the seascapes are mesmerizing. Tough to beat New Zealand. I could live there easily.

3. If you were taking your trip today, how would you change it?

I wouldn’t change much except perhaps taking along better medicine for gastrological maladies. I got so desperately sick in India and Egypt, I almost had to cancel the rest of my journey both times. By the way, if you want to lose weight go to India, eat from one of the many street vendors and watch those extra pounds melt away.

Around the World in 80 Rounds4. We know Rio won the 2016 Olympic Games and golf will be on the program, what should we expect from Brazilian courses, and fans? A follow up/second question is: What’s going on with golf in South America?

Golf is still a rich person’s sport in South America, unfortunately. There are a few public courses popping up. One is the middle of Buenos Aires in the Palermo section that is like playing in Central Park. There are fashionable apartment buildings rising up on the perimeter of the course. It’s grand to play golf in the middle of a teeming locale like Buenos Aires. The green fee was $8. What’s also wonderful about South American golf is that they love the ritual of the game like “having the honor” on the tee if they had the best score on the previous hole. They always made a big deal out playing the visiting gringo – which I loved how proud they were and how much they enjoyed playing first.  I played golf in the Atacama Desert at the driest course on Earth – no grass and no rain in recorded history. You play on the dirt, yet the locals are as formal as if they are playing The Masters. Overall, South Americans love sport and will be excellent hosts for the Olympics. 

5. Is there a piece of golf equipment that we take for granted that is fundamentally different in another country?

Not so much equipment per se, but how expensive clubs and balls are, for example. Much more expensive than in the U.S. – probably double the price at least. Traveling around the world on a budget, I’d just buy used golf balls from the kids that pick them up out of the woods from bad shots.  I probably bought back my own golf balls several times. Also, most of the world uses caddies and that was great to learn more about how people live. You get to have a four hour conversation if they speak a bit of English. Plus, they don’t make much money and when you tip them well they are very appreciative. What’s not a lot of money to us, is huge to them.  I loved tipping and then seeing the big smile on their faces.

6. Similarly, is there a golf tradition or protocol that we follow here that is fundamentally different in another country?

My favorite is in South America. You don’t yell “Fore!” you yell “Mono” because you want the mono (monkey) to throw the ball back into the fairways. Also, enjoyed the female caddies in Asia as they only speak “Caddie English” – they know all the golf terms (yardages, par, birdies, bogey, “good shot,” “nice putt”)  but barely another word of English. In Thailand,  they revere the King. I was using a Thai coin for a ball mark with the King’s picture on one side of the coin. I marked my ball on a green with the King’s face on the ground and almost gave my female caddie a heart attack. Only mark the ball with the King’s head facing skyward in Thailand. Lesson learned. 
About David Wood
As a former stand-up comedian, I try to use humor in my writing. For years I read and reread the travel books of Paul Theroux and yearned to take adventurous trips as he seemed to continually be doing. Around the World in 80 Rounds is the result of finally acting on that dream of traveling the world and then writing a book on the adventure.

Golf Courses: Fairways of the World by Sir Michael Bonallack and Steve Smyers, photographs by David Cannon with foreward by Ernie Els, Released March 1, 2011 [Hardcover]

Golf Courses-Fairways of the WorldA treasure chest of more than 200 golf course photographs from around the world shot by legendary golf course photographer David Cannon captures rarely witnessed moments. Some of the courses include Leopard Creek in South Africa, Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand and of course St. Andrews. Full spreads and gatefolds measuring over five feet in length.

This deluxe limited edition collection is limited to 5,000 copies.

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Fairways to Heaven: The World’s Most Amazing Golf Courses, Released January 11, 2011 [5-pk DVD in Tin]

Fairways to Heaven: The World’s Most Amazing Golf CoursesWith a running time of 660 minutes, this is a tour of world-class golf destinations.

Episodes: Arizona, Cape Breton Island ,Cancun & The Riviera Maya, Anguilla, The Azores, Hawaii, Toronto, Cabo San Lucas, Aruba , Ireland: The Best of Parklands, Idaho, Kelowna , Puerto Vallarta, Bermuda, West Ireland, Las Vegas, The Laurentians, Costa Rica, Jamaica, New Mexico, Maine, Muskoka, Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos, Miami

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The American Golf Resort Guide by Daniel Wexler, Released February 2, 2011 [Paperback]

American Golf Resort GuideProfiles of nearly 900 golf resorts (over 1,200 courses) throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Contains descriptions, contact information, current national/state ranking(s). Author Daniel Wexler devised his own unique rating methodology.

Wexler was a former golf professional and a member of the USGA’s Architectural Archive committee

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Another Journey Through the Links, by David Worley, Forward by Peter Thomson-Hardcover released December 1 2010

Another Journey Through the LinksThis new release takes readers on a journey through almost every links course in the British Isles, more than 160 in total. Cliff tops, windswept dunes, ferocious winds and grazing animals are all part of the challenge.

More than 10 years in the making, this comprehensive book is a superb treat for any golf fan.

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True Links by George Peper and Malcolm Campbell

True Links by George Peper and Malcolm CampbellToday’s eco-friendly times are creating a bit of a revival for links-style courses.  Campbell and Peper (former Golf Magazine editor) take us on a tour of the world’s best 246 links accompanied by images by the esteemed golf photographer Iain Lowe.

“The two of them—the American who has played everywhere and the Scot who was weaned on links golf—conduct this grand guided tour. So pull up a hassock and hop aboard! It’s one thing that George Peper and Malcolm Campbell command the world of links golf, from ancient St Andrews to the newly minted Cabot Links. But they also write about their specialty with authority, insight, and passion. And when they say a course is a links, you can stake your favorite hybrid on it.”

– James W. Finegan, author of Where Golf Is Great

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