18 in America: A Young Golfer's Epic Journey to Find the Essence of the Game

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Overview

An exhilarating account of one remarkable teenager?s solo trek to play golf in each of the lower forty-eight states?a compelling coming-of-age story and a surprising look at the equalizing power of the sport in America.

At seventeen, Dylan Dethier couldn?t help but think he?d never really done anything with his life. So, two months before his freshman year was set to begin, he deferred admission to Williams College. With the reluctant blessing of his parents, Dylan set out on ...

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18 in America: A Young Golfer's Epic Journey to Find the Essence of the Game

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Overview

An exhilarating account of one remarkable teenager’s solo trek to play golf in each of the lower forty-eight states—a compelling coming-of-age story and a surprising look at the equalizing power of the sport in America.

At seventeen, Dylan Dethier couldn’t help but think he’d never really done anything with his life. So, two months before his freshman year was set to begin, he deferred admission to Williams College. With the reluctant blessing of his parents, Dylan set out on his idea of the Great American Road Trip: play a round of golf in each of the forty-eight contiguous states. What began as the teenage wanderlust of a sheltered New England kid soon became a journey to find America’s heart and soul, “to figure out where—and why—golf fit in,” and to explore what it means to be a young man today.

From a three-dollar nine-holer in rural West Virginia to a municipal course amid the failing factories of Flint, Michigan, and to the manicured greens of Pebble Beach, Dylan explored the variety of the nation’s golf courses, the multiplicity of its towns and cities, and, most strikingly of all, the diversity of its people. Hoping to shatter golf’s elitist reputation, he would play with war veterans, autoworkers, and a livestock auctioneer and discovered golf’s unique capacity to serve as an equalizer. In Wyoming, he decided the state’s courses matched his own style of play: “unbridled, rough and tumble in a T-shirt and jeans sort of way.” Over one year, 35,000 miles, and countless nights alone in his dusty Subaru, Dylan would shower at truck stops, sleep with an axe beside him, lose his virginity, and meet legends like Phil Mickelson and Michael Jordan.

Dylan’s eighteenth year was one of many firsts—venturing into the world alone, exploring serious questions about his future, and fulfilling an ambitious quest. In crisp prose and with a wry, engaging voice, this precocious writer takes us beyond his own reflections to weave a poignant portrait of America and its golfers, making 18 in America the perfect gift for the golf enthusiast in your family.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“I loved 18 in America and the connection I share with Dylan Dethier to both the game of golf and our country. Anybody who has swung a golf club can tell you that it’s more than a game — it becomes a personal challenge that helps you discover yourself. Dylan writes about his adventures with wisdom beyond his years.”

"This is a superb book about golf — but it's also a superb book about growing up, fitting in, friendship, food and the great American road. I barely know a birdie from a bogie, but it didn't matter: I still devoured Dylan Dethier's memorable tale of innocence lost and wisdom won."

18 in America is a golf adventure that will appeal to anyone who has ever played the great game. At its heart, though, it is the story of a young man growing into adulthood, taking chances, making mistakes, finding out what feels right and what feels wrong. I salute Dylan Dethier for stepping off the good school-good college-good job treadmill and taking a year to find out who he really is, for writing about his amazing trip with such honesty and insight, and for being willing to reveal his flaws as openly as he revels in his triumphs. It is rare to find a book—especially a golf book, especially a debut written by someone so young—that smoothly blends pure fun and astute life lessons. 18 in America will inspire golfers and adventurers both young and old. I enjoyed every page.”

“An enterprising and inspirational golf journey unlike any other.”

Shelf Awareness - Tom Lavoie
“Whether showering in truck stops, meeting Phil Mickelson and Michael Jordan, or playing at Sawgrass and Pebble Beach, the simple story of 18 in America is filled with youthful enthusiasm, honest and sincere. It's a lovely road story well told. Discover a young golf Kerouac on the road, teeing off all across America and loving it."
USA Today - Bob Minzesheimer
“His trip was not just about par, birdies and bogeys…. Dethier is not from the country club world of golf.”
Berkshire Eagle
“Much more of a coming-of-age experience… In addition to opening up a Berkshires boy to a bigger world, teaching him how to cope with new and sometimes difficult situations and giving him perspective on golf’s place in American life, the 35,000-mile journey in his dusty Subaru definitely helped Dethier grow up fast… this guy can really write.”
Golfweek magazine - Martin Kaufmann
“Two parts coming-of-age story, one part golf travel adventure and one part survival test. The result, 18 in America, is the work of a young man who not only is unusually insightful and self-aware, but has the writerly gifts and clear voice to tell his story. In a year that is shaping up to be an unusually good one for golf literature, it’s unlikely that the genre is going to produce anything as compelling as Dethier’s tale.”
The Itinerant Golfer
"A great coming of age tale based around the most epic of golf trips. A quick and easy read that does not disappoint."
Berkshire Eagle - Richard Lord
‘I couldn't put it down… The writing is vivid. You can see the people, imagine the places and understand a young man's moments of loneliness and fear then on the next page laugh at his sense of humor. You'd think this was his 20th book, not his initial effort. I seldom read a book in two days, but I devoured Dethier's superb 256-page effort.”
New York Times - Bill Pennington
"It is not every year that a well-conceived golf book is written by a recent high school graduate... Sleeping in his car, showering at truck stops and raiding free motel breakfast buffets, Dethier played wherever the road took him, with golf as a vehicle for understanding America. He played with autoworkers and livestock auctioneers, and his 32,000-mile trek became a tale about everything you can learn about your country 18 holes at a time. It was a journey that was much more than a golf trip."
Salt Lake Tribune
"Intriguing... more than his share of unpredictable episodes that make for good reading."
Sportschump.net
“Two things will piss you off about this book. First of all, Dethier is a better golfer than you or me. Second of all, he is a better writer than you or me…. A heartfelt, introspective, coming-of-age story, Jack Kerouac meets Jack Nicklaus."
The Maine Edge
"This would be considered fine work by any writer, let alone one so young."
ABC News/Yahoo
"Like Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey and a host of others before him, Dethier packed his used car and his meager life savings, and set off to see and write about America.... Encounters with hustlers and thieves aside, what resonates in “18 in America” is Dethier’s optimism, and his talent for perceiving and telling of the good in things, be they golf or people."
Parade magazine
"[A] winning memoir, which transcends golf’s elitist image, exposing the generous, diverse, and contradictory soul of the game—and of America itself."
Tim Layden
"A terrific read."
In Play magazine
"It's not the brushes with greatness (including caddying in a pro-am with Phil Mickelson) but the goodness of ordinary people that make his journey so memorable—for him and for us."
A.J. Jacobs
"This is a superb book about golf — but it's also a superb book about growing up, fitting in, friendship, food and the great American road. I barely know a birdie from a bogie, but it didn't matter: I still devoured Dylan Dethier's memorable tale of innocence lost and wisdom won."
Jason Dufner
“I loved 18 in America and the connection I share with Dylan Dethier to both the game of golf and our country. Anybody who has swung a golf club can tell you that it’s more than a game — it becomes a personal challenge that helps you discover yourself. Dylan writes about his adventures with wisdom beyond his years.”
Roland Merullo
18 in America is a golf adventure that will appeal to anyone who has ever played the great game. At its heart, though, it is the story of a young man growing into adulthood, taking chances, making mistakes, finding out what feels right and what feels wrong. I salute Dylan Dethier for stepping off the good school-good college-good job treadmill and taking a year to find out who he really is, for writing about his amazing trip with such honesty and insight, and for being willing to reveal his flaws as openly as he revels in his triumphs. It is rare to find a book—especially a golf book, especially a debut written by someone so young—that smoothly blends pure fun and astute life lessons. 18 in America will inspire golfers and adventurers both young and old. I enjoyed every page.”
Jim Nantz
“An enterprising and inspirational golf journey unlike any other.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451693638
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 5/21/2013
  • Pages: 258
  • Sales rank: 427,037
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Dylan Dethier (pronounced deh-CHAIR) is a native of small-town western Massachusetts. He learned to golf on a shoes-optional par-30 course near his grandparents’ house on the Maine coast. Dethier is now an English major at Williams College, where he plays on the golf team and writes for various publications.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 9, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    This book is a positive addition to golf travel log accounts with the addition of a good coming of age component. Dethier"s descriptions of several of the golf courses he played during his trip (plus the photos from the course web sites, for those curious enough to check them out) should make those who travel to the states mentioned want to seek them out for a round. Dylan's adventures off the golf courses inspires trepidation, excitement, jealously (he did hangout with Holly Sonders after all) and positive feelings toward those individuals one might encounter on a solo cross-country trip on a very limited budget. The only complaint is that the book does not contain a map of his route with a location of the golf courses played, or at least of those mentioned in the text. However, Google, handles that omission nicely.

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