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on March 15, 2016
Great read. A little dated now, but it was interesting to read this book, then watch the Champions Tour.
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on September 1, 2017
1
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on December 31, 2013
Such a good book. Excellent condition and excellent reading. This book will stay in my book shelf for the next few generations to enjoy.
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on December 8, 2003
As I read this very enjoyable book, I felt more like I was listening to a conversation than reading a book. It almost feels like "Did I ever tell you about the time I was playing with Greg Norman, and he..." Feinstein has access to places and people that most golf fans never will, and as such, he has boatloads of great stories about the events and players of the PGA Tour (and the PGA wannabes). Feinstein is great at collecting and telling the stories, particularly the character-revealing ones. For that, the book is wonderful. Specifically, I felt I was in Davis Love's quaking shoes while he was "throwing up on himself" at the Ryder Cup. Feinstein tells the story so well, the reader feels part of the action.
At the same time, I couldn't help but think that the book was poorly organized. Feinstein makes some effort to put the contents into a unified semi-chronological tale, but he fails in that. Most of the events or people that he writes about require going back to cover background info on what set up that situation, or how that player got where he is now. The backgrounding leads to a lot of de-synchronization (? -- throwing off the timeline?) in the book. Many of the background information is also great and enjoyable storytelling, but given the chronological organization of the book, it was hard for me to keep the events straight -- which came first, which story had later impact on what, which ones overlap (two stories about two players at the same event, for example).
There's also a lot of jumping from discussions of one player to another. This works fine for the well known players, but not so well when the reader is trying to remember which of the Q-school players is which. Still, in thinking about it, I couldn't think of a better way to organize it.
Having felt self-imposed "pressure" on the golf course -- if I make par here, this will be my best round ever! -- reading anecdotes about the *real* pressure of Q-school was fascinating. Feinstein gives the reader the feel of needing to make a shot to be able to eke out a living by playing golf, and made me appreciate the difference between that than the pressure of making a shot to take pocket change from my foursome.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. What's not to enjoy, really -- it's good stories about an interesting (to any golfer or golf fan) subject. I give only four stars because I just can't help feeling that the book could be much better organized for a more consistent read.
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on February 14, 2003
There is no disputing author John Feinstein's proficiency and skill and writing compelling stories about a variety of sports. As with any great author, he has his hits and misses. Though, he more often hits than misses. "A Good Walk Spoiled" is a book firmly in the former category. The title, itself, is very clever because anyone who has ever played a round of golf in their life knows full well its meaning.

"A Good Walk Spoiled" is a fascinating 'fly on the wall' perspective about the ups and downs of life on the PGA Tour. Everyone has a story to tell and Feinstein seeks to tell as many of those stories as possible. There seems to be three separate types of players that Feinstein focuses on. There are the low-level and brand new players to the tour for whom just making it through Qualifying (Q) School and gaining a fully exempt spot on the 'big tour' is their primary goal. The second group he discusses are those middle of the road PGA veterans who are good enough to win a tournament here and there, perhaps even contend in a major, but will never be confused with the top stars in the sport. Obviously, the final group he tells tale of is the superstars, whether it be stars who have passed their prime, are currently at the top of their game, or trying hard to shed the title of 'best player never to have won a major'.

The stories of the Q-School survivors are among the most compelling. The Mike Donald's and Paul Goydos' of the world play the game for the sheer love of it, but also have just enough talent to make a living with it. The dream of the 'big tour' requires lots of time and sacrifice. Q-School is possibly one of the most demanding events in any sport. For players brand new to the professional ranks, they must fight through three separate stages of qualifying with the final stage be a six-round battle royale for the precious 40 slots available on the PGA Tour. Failing to make 'big tour' can relegate a professional golfer the minor leagues of the Nike Tour, a respectable tour were finishing in the Top 10 on the money list guarantees a PGA slot next season, or to any number of mini tours or overseas tours (like the Asian Tour and South African Tour). Having invested so much in the dream of qualifying, anything short of a partially exempt slot on the PGA tour (which would lead to splitting the season between Nike and PGA Tours) has to be considered a disappointment. It's much harder to make back the expenses of playing on the lesser tours and, frequently, these pros come to the conclusion that they might be better off doing something else for a living. For those who do make it, though, it's a dream of a lifetime.

The stories of the middle-range and top-flight PGA players don't carry nearly the same amount of drama (unless you're talking about John Daly), but they still are interesting to read about. In "A Good Walk Spoiled", you get a chance to watch South Africans Nick Price and Ernie Els shed his title of "best player to never win a major" by grabbing both the British Open and PGA Championship. Jose Maria Olazabal finally steps out of his mentor, Seve Ballestero's, shadow to win the Masters and become the pride of Spain. Other stories show legend Tom Watson's quest to add one more major to his already full trophy cabinet. It includes Greg Norman's continuing journey to get the Masters' monkey of his back. There is also the inspirational comeback of Paul Azinger, who was diagnosed with cancer just 2 months after winning the previous season's PGA Championship.

Of course, with any season in any sport, there is controversy to be covered. The very exacting 'Men of the Masters' (and Tom Watson) got CBS golf analyst, Gary McCord, booted from the Masters' telecast for committing the terrible crime of referring to the fast greens as having been 'bikini-waxed' among his other witty comments. John Daly, the surprise 1991 winner of the PGA Championship, and subsequent fan favorite because of his everyman demeanor and Paul Bunyan-esque drives, stirred up plenty of trouble with his continued tendency to bolt tournaments after a bad first round and by making a very ill-advised statement that much of the PGA Tour was using performance-enhancing drugs. The saga of 'Big John' seemed to perpetuate throughout the season. The other big drama covered by Feinstein was the resignation of PGA Commissioner, Deane Beman, after nearly 20 years on the job, ostensibly, just to get back to playing golf. Yet, there was clearly more to it, including an ugly public relations battle with actor Bill Murray from the previous season's Pebble Beach Pro-Am (where celebrities often team up with pro golfers prior to the final round). Beman wanted Murray to tone down his act and Murray didn't take kindly to it. Beman had done many great things for golfers during his tenure as commissioner, but he had also made his fair share of enemies. In the end, Beman just felt it was time to move on.

Feinstein covers so much ground with his narrative, and covers it well. The only criticism to be offered (and what costs the book a 5-star rating) is that Feinstein seems to be too ambitious when it comes to telling all the stories of the tour. There are so many different players to follow that it frequently becomes difficult to keep track of who's doing what and where. That being said, it does pick up a strong momentum that powers it the rest of the way. "A Good Walk Spoiled" is definitely a "A Good Book Read".
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on July 10, 2000
In this book, John Feinstein takes the reader inside the PGA tour over the course of a year. From tournament to tournament, including all four majors, he presents the players and both their torments and glories on tour. Some of best writing is about the specific players; players like Nicklaus and Palmer, who have been the stars of golf for so long. But Feinstein also features the stories of players such as Jeff Sluman and Mike Donald, who haven't had as easy a time in pro golf. What I truly didn't know anything about was the Nike Tour and Q-School, golf's "minor leagues", and the golfers' yearning to make it back on tour. A very well-written and exhaustive look at a most difficult game.
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on July 19, 2002
If you like the writing of John Feinstein, you will appreciate this book. John does a commendable job of letting the reader know what it is like to experience life on the PGA tour. This includes players who were stars, to players who are just trying to make it. I read through this book twice, and enjoyed it as much the second time through.
Some of the memorable moments from the book are just seeing how hard it is to be a top-rated golfer, and even make it on the tour. These golfers are the top 1% of 1% of all golfers in the world and it shows. Feinstein does not spare-anyone from his writers knife, this is a good book.
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on December 9, 2002
This book was simply a joy to read - I couldn't put it down. Granted, those who enjoy golf are going to love this book more than those who don't, but for an intimate look at the PGA tour and some of its most interseting players, this book is simply the best. There is no question Feinstein knows what he is talking about and that he got really close to a lot of these players, knowing as much as you do about these guys makes watching them play all the more enjoyable as well. It also helps that Feinstein is such a talented writer - certainly in a league all his own when it comes to covering the PGA Tour.
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on August 21, 2001
Having been a lifelong golfer, I found this a very interesting read. Mr. Feinstein did a masterful job with the golfers he choose to highlight. The terms and ways of the tour as explained early on, continued as the book went on, until, I as a reader had them down pat. The tales ranging from Q school to superstar money makers gave all a fair shot. I found it almost Carnac-like his take on Bruce Fleisher looking forward to the Senior Tour. Who would have ever thought an average pro would out do the Watsons, Kites, Millers and Nelsons. Overall a must for the golfing golf fan of the sport.
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on December 4, 2002
Feinstein basically ignores the golf tournaments themselves in favor of an endless series of anecdotes. I mean, when the U.S. Open playoff is worth one page in the whole book, it's telling.
I don't know. The book's pretty good for a bathroom or a dinner read, but it's repetitive and sheer reportage.
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