The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport

( 57 )


Bestselling author Carl Hiaasen wisely quit golfing in 1973. But some ambitions refuse to die, and as the years passed and the memories of slices and hooks faded, it dawned on Carl that there might be one thing in life he could do better in middle age than he could as a youth. So gradually he ventured back to the rolling, frustrating green hills of the golf course, where he ultimately—and foolishly—agreed to compete in a country-club tournament against players who can actually hit the ball. Filled with harrowing ...

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Bestselling author Carl Hiaasen wisely quit golfing in 1973. But some ambitions refuse to die, and as the years passed and the memories of slices and hooks faded, it dawned on Carl that there might be one thing in life he could do better in middle age than he could as a youth. So gradually he ventured back to the rolling, frustrating green hills of the golf course, where he ultimately—and foolishly—agreed to compete in a country-club tournament against players who can actually hit the ball. Filled with harrowing divots, deadly doglegs, and excruciating sandtraps, The Downhill Lie is a hilarious chronicle of mis-adventure that will have you rolling with laughter.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Novelist Carl Hiaasen's golf recollections don't include any fond memories of hard-won tournament victories or 18th-hole eagles. Instead, he is forced to look back on the strategic problems of retrieving a sunken golf cart from a snake-infest lake or the ignominy of spending shot after shot in the same sand trap. Yet despite these persistent setbacks, the Florida writer actually returned to the sport decades after wisely abandoning it. Was it sheer masochism or perhaps visionary self-deception? Hiaasen's The Downhill Lie might not answer the question, but it does keep you laughing. An uproarious treat for every duffer who wishes he could be Tiger Woods.
From the Publisher
“An extraordinary book for the ordinary hacker.”—The New York Times “With biting humor and painfully honest self-humiliation, Hiaasen describes his 1-1/2-year journey into one of Dante's inner circles of hell.”—The Christian Science Monitor“A cleverly written, witty and sometimes wistful look at golf, marriage, human nature and life.”—The Tampa Tribune“Hiaasen's hilarious misadventures on the golf course are all too familiar to anyone who has ever flailed at the ball in futile attempts to conquer a sport that mercilessly strips us of our dignity.”—The New York Times Book Review“The foibles and embarrassments, as well as the joys, of casual and tournament golf ring true....Golfers should love this book.”—Rocky Mountain News“Memoir is new territory for him, but Hiaasen is Hiaasen. Fans of his bizarro novels will find his irony and sense of humor remain unaffected on the links.” —The Florida Times-Union“A return by Hiaasen to his best with the sport of golf providing the venue for his unique wit and biting humor.... You’ll have many laugh-out-loud moments.... If you’ve never read Carl Hiaasen... if you have read him before, this is a wonderful return to the magic (albeit voodoo) that is Carl Hiaasen.” —Decatur Daily“…[Hiaasen’s] insights into the insane lengths a golfer will go to in hopes of a lower score are always entertaining. If you’ve been bitten by the golf bug, you’ll appreciate every moment of Hiaasen’s magnificent obsession. If you haven’t, read The Downhill Lie and laugh at those of us who have.”—Howard Shirley, Bookpage“Golfers in general tend to be self-critical, but Mr. Hiaasen is a self-lacerator. He doesn’t curse or throw his clubs, but he sighs a lot and asks existential questions like, “Why do we do this?” and “Why are we out here?” He plays the way you imagine Samuel Beckett might have played. He can’t go on, but he goes on.”—Charles McGrath, New York Times“His analysis of his lessons, hapless rounds and gimmicky golf equipment is hilarious, and his vivid descriptions are vintage Hiaasen . . . With the satirically skilled Hiaasen, who rarely breaks 90 on the links, this narrative is an enjoyable ride.” —Publishers Weekly “It has taken Carl Hiaasen to capture the essence of a game that, like the bagpipes and the kilt, was invented by the Irish and given to the Scots as a joke. Carl's dementia is kind of exquisite. He lampoons the most banal aspects of stodgy blue-blooded American country-club life. The simple act of buying a set of clubs gets the full Hiaasen treatment, and the guilt-ridden angst of the triangular love-hate relationship between himself, his drop-dead beautiful Greek wife, and the drop-dead-you-rotten-bastard Scotty Cameron putter she bought him, is alone worth the price of one for yourself and another for Father's Day.”—David Feherty
Publishers Weekly

Hiaasen (Skinny Dip ), an admittedly woeful golfer, recounts his clumsy resumption of the game after a 32-year layoff. Why did he take up golf so long after quitting at the age of 20? "I'm one sick bastard," he writes. Hiaasen interweaves passages about his return to the game with diary entries covering more than a year and a half on the links. He mixes childhood memories of playing with his father, who died prematurely, with anecdotes, including the time he and a friend ejected an invasion of poisonous toads from his friend's patio with short irons. His analysis of his lessons, hapless rounds and gimmicky golf equipment is hilarious, and his vivid descriptions are vintage Hiaasen, such as golf balls that are designed to "run like a scalded gerbil." Hiaasen also touches on topics he writes about in his novels and newspaper columns, lamenting the overdevelopment of Florida and skewering crooked politicians and lobbyists prone to lavish golf junkets. He finishes his journey with a detailed round-by-round account of his pitiful play in a member-guest tournament on his home course (his discouragement is cheered, however, when his wife and young son joyfully take up the game). With the satirically skilled Hiaasen, who rarely breaks 90 on the links, this narrative is an enjoyable ride. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

Hiaasen, the Miami Heraldcolumnist and author of some hilarious fiction (e.g., Striptease, Skinny Dip), shares his renewed interest in golf in this departure onto the green. He recounts how easy it is to get sucked into the sport, even when trying not to. Better than most, he points out how golfers tend to hope for the quick fix, be it via an instructional tip, new equipment, or even a talisman. What really comes through is how Hiaasen thoroughly and rationally studies an issue such as dimples on a golf ball, realizes that after a certain point the discussion is largely irrelevant, and then buys into the hype anyway. In this, he speaks volumes for all golfers. Written as a diary, Hiaasen's effort can be compared with Turk Pipkin's The Old Man and the Teeand Tom Coyne's Paper Tiger. For sheer entertainment, The Downhill Lieis a very good read. The author's fame and fans may drive demand. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/08.]
—Steven Silkunas

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307280459
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/5/2009
  • Series: Vintage Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 207,260
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida. He is the author of 11 previous novels and two children's books. He also writes a metropolitan column for The Miami Herald.


When one thinks of the classics of pulp fiction, certain things -- gruff, amoral antiheroes, unflinching nihilism, and a certain melodramatic self-seriousness -- inevitably come to mind. However, the novels of Carl Hiaasen completely challenge these pulpy conventions. While the pulp of yesteryear seems forever chiseled in an almost quaint black and white world, Hiaasen's books vibrate with vivid color. They are veritable playgrounds for wild characters that flout clichés: a roadkill-eating ex-governor, a bouncer/assassin who takes care of business with a Weed Wacker, a failed alligator wrestler named Sammy Tigertail. Furthermore, Hiaasen infuses his absurdist stories with a powerful dose of social and political awareness, focusing on his home turf of South Florida with an unflinching keenness.

Hiaasen was born and raised in South Florida. During the 1970s, he got his start as a writer working for Cocoa Today as a public interest columnist. However, it was his gig as an investigative reporter for The Miami Herald that provided him with the fundamentals necessary for a career in fiction. "I'd always wanted to write books ever since I was a kid," Hiaasen told Barnes & "To me, the newspaper business was a way to learn about life and how things worked in the real world and how people spoke. You learn all the skills -- you learn to listen, you learn to take notes -- everything you use later as a novelist was valuable training in the newspaper world. But I always wanted to write novels."

Hiaasen made the transition from journalism to fiction in 1981 with the help of fellow reporter Bill Montalbano. Hiaasen and Montalbano drew upon all they had learned while covering the Miami beat in their debut novel Powder Burn, a sharp thriller about the legendary Miami cocaine trade, which the New York Times declared an "expertly plotted novel." The team followed up their debut with two more collaborative works before Hiaasen ventured out on his own with Tourist Season, an offbeat murder mystery that showcased the author's idiosyncratic sense of humor.

From then on, Hiaasen's sensibility has grown only more comically absurd and more socially pointed, with a particular emphasis on the environmental exploitation of his beloved home state. In addition to his irreverent and howlingly funny thrillers (Double Whammy, Sick Puppy, Nature Girl, etc), he has released collections of his newspaper columns (Kick Ass, Paradise Screwed) and penned children's books (Hoot, Flush). With his unique blend of comedy and righteousness ("I can't be funny without being angry."), the writer continues to view hallowed Florida institutions -- from tourism to real estate development -- with a decidedly jaundiced eye. As Kirkus Reviews has wryly observed, Hiassen depicts "...the Sunshine State as the weirdest place this side of Oz."

Good To Know

Perhaps in keeping with his South Floridian mindset, Hiaasen keeps snakes as housepets. He says on his web site, "They're clean and quiet. You give them rodents and they give you pure, unconditional indifference."

Hiaasen is also a songwriter: He's co-written two songs, "Seminole Bingo" and "Rottweiler Blues", with Warren Zevon for the album Mutineer. In turn, Zevon recorded a song based on the lyrics Hiaasen had written for a dead rock star character in Basket Case.

In Hiaasen's novel Nature Girl, he gets the opportunity to deal with a long-held fantasy. "I'd always fantasized about tracking down one of these telemarketing creeps and turning the tables -- phoning his house every night at dinner, the way they hassle everybody else," he explains on his web site. "In the novel, my heroine takes it a whole step farther. She actually tricks the guy into signing up for a bogus ‘ecotour' in Florida, and then proceeds to teach him some manners. Or tries."

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    1. Hometown:
      Tavernier, Florida
    1. Education:
      Emory University; B.A., University of Florida, 1974

Read an Excerpt

In the summer of 2005, I returned to golf after a much needed layoff of thirty-two years.

Attempting a comeback in my fifties wouldn’t have been so absurd if I’d been a decent player when I was young, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. At my best, I’d shown occasional flashes of competence. At my worst, I’d been a menace to all carbon-based life-forms on the golf course.

On the day I gave up golfing, I stood six-feet even, weighed a stringy 145 pounds and was in relatively sound physical shape. When I returned to the game, I was half an inch taller, twenty-one pounds heavier and nagged by the following age-related ailments:

• elevated cholesterol;
• a bone spur deep in the right rotator cuff;
• an aching right hip;
• a permanently weakened right knee, due to a badly torn medial meniscus that was scraped and repaired in February 2003 by the same orthopedic surgeon who’d once worked on a young professional quarterback named Dan Marino. (The doctor had assured me that my injury was no worse than Marino’s, then he’d added with a hearty chuckle, “But you’re also not twenty-two years old.”)

Other factors besides my knee joint and HDL had changed during my long absence. When I’d abandoned golf in 1973, I had been a happily married father of a two-year-old son. When I returned to the sport in 2005, I was a happily remarried father of a five-year-old son, a fourteen-year-old stepson and a thirty-four-year-old son with three kids of his own. In other words, I was a grandpa.

Over those three busy and productive decades, a normal, well-centered person would have mellowed in the loving glow of the family hearth. Not me. I was just as restless, consumed, unreflective, fatalistic and emotionally unequipped to play golf in my fifties as I was in my teens.

What possesses a man to return in midlife to a game at which he’d never excelled in his prime, and which in fact had dealt him mostly failure, angst and exasperation?

Here’s why I did it: I’m one sick bastard.

The Last Waltz

My first taste of golf was as a shag caddy for my father. He often practiced hitting wedges in our front yard, and I’d put on my baseball glove and play outfield.

Dad seemed genuinely happy when I finally asked to take golf lessons. I was perhaps eleven or twelve, too young to realize that my disposition was ill-suited to a recreation that requires infinite patience and eternal optimism.

The club pro was Harold Perry, a pleasant fellow and a solid teacher. He said I had a natural swing, which, I’ve since learned, is what pros always say at your first lesson. It’s more merciful than: “You’d have a brighter future chopping cane.”

The early sessions did seem to go well, and Harold was en- couraging. As time passed, however, he began chain-smoking heavily during our lessons, which suggested to me the existence of a chronic problem for which Harold had no solution. The problem was largely in my head, and fell under the clinical heading of Wildly Unrealistic Expectations.

My first major mistake was prematurely asking to join my father for nine holes, a brisk Sunday outing during which I unraveled like a crackhead at a Billy Graham crusade. This was because I’d foolishly expected to advance the golf ball down the fairway in a linear path. The experience was marred by angry tears, muffled profanities and long, brittle periods of silence. Worse, a pattern was established that would continue throughout the years that Dad and I played together.

Golfers like maxims, and here’s a good one: Beginners should never be paired with good players, especially if the good player is one’s own father.

The harder I tried, the uglier it got. To say that I didn’t bear my pain stoically is an understatement. Dad suffered along with me and so did his golf game, which added to my sullen mood an oppressive layer of guilt.

There were rare sunbursts of hope when I managed to hit a decent shot or sink a putt, but usually a pall of Nordic gloom followed us around the links. My father was a saint for tolerating my tantrums and sulking. He never once ditched me; whenever I asked to tag along on his regular weekend game, he’d say yes despite knowing what histrionics lay ahead. As I grew taller he generously bought me a set of Ben Hogans, which were so gorgeous that at first I was reluctant to throw them.

Interestingly, I have no recollection of my father and me completing a round of golf, with the exception of a father-son charity event (and the only reason I didn’t flee on the back nine was that I wasn’t sure how to get back to the clubhouse). I can’t recall our final score, probably for the same reason that victims of serious traffic accidents often cannot remember getting in the car. Trauma wipes clean the memory banks.

In high school some of my friends took up golf, and occasionally I joined them on weekends. Surrounded by retirement developments, the Lauderdale Lakes course was a scraggly, unkempt layout that was chosen by us for its dirt-cheap, all-day green fees. Despite the trampled fairways and corrugated greens, I actually started enjoying myself—the mood was loose and raunchy, and it was uplifting to discover that my friends stroked the ball as erratically as I did. We were the youngest players on that course by half a century, a disparity that every round precipitated one or two prickly confrontations with foursomes who were less agile and alert. That, of course, only added to the sportive atmosphere.

Occasionally we also played a chaotic par-3 layout, upon which I once bladed a 9-iron dead into the cup for an ace. It was a feat that I never replicated. My name (misspelled, naturally) was etched into a hokey hole-in-one plaque that was hung among literally hundreds of others in the funky little clubhouse.

My father was undoubtedly relieved that I’d found other golfing companions, freeing him to resume his regular Sunday rounds in peace. Unfortunately, bursitis was making it increasingly difficult for him to swing a club, and by the time I left for college he was playing infrequently, and in pain.

During my first semester at Emory University I got married and soon thereafter became a father, so for a time I was too preoccupied—and too broke—for golf.

In the summer of 1972 I entered the journalism college at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where I reconnected with my high school buddies. The university maintains a top-notch par-72 that was in those days open to students for $2.50. It was there I broke 90 for the first and only time before giving up the game.

I was walking eighteen in a group that included a good friend, Al Simmens. He was hitting the ball well but I was all over the map, scrambling for bogeys and doubles. In the midst of butchering a long par-4, I improbably holed out a full 7-iron for a birdie. Exclamations of amused wonder arose from Big Al and the others. Then, supernaturally, two holes later I knocked in a 9-iron from about 110 yards.

This time Al keeled over as if felled by a sniper. Once before I’d seen him collapse like that on a golf course. It had happened when he was kneecapped by a drive struck by Larry Robinson, a member of our own foursome—the most astoundingly bad tee shot that I’ve ever witnessed, to this day. Al had been next up, standing dead even with Larry and seemingly safe, when Larry’s abominably mishit ball shot off the tee at a 90 degree angle and smashed into Al’s right leg. The impact sounded like a Willie McCovey home run. Incredibly, Al was upright within minutes, and resumed playing with only a slight limp.

But after my second hole-out on that morning in Gainesville, he lay lifeless in the fairway with a glassy expression that called to mind Queequeg, the Pacific Island cannibal in Moby-Dick, who’d lapsed into a grave trance upon seeing his fate in a throw of the bones. Eventually Al arose and rejoined our group, but he was rocky.

I completed the round with no further heroics yet I walked off the 18th green with an 88, my best score ever. That was in the summer of 1973, and by the end of the year I was done. The Hogans sat in a closet, gathering dust.

Richard Nixon was hunkered like a meth-crazed badger in the White House, Hank Aaron was one dinger shy of Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and The Who had just released Quadrophenia.

At age twenty, I was more or less at peace.

Toad Golf

My divorce from golf was uncomplicated and amic- able. When I came home from college on visits, my father and I would spend Sunday afternoons watching the PGA on television. Dad had always asserted that Sam Snead was the greatest player of all time, but he was gradually coming around to the possibility that Jack Nicklaus was something special.

Then, in February 1976, my father died suddenly at the outrageously unfair age of fifty, a tragedy that extinguished any lingering whim I might have had to tackle golf again with serious intent. Apparently I played a round later that year with a friend, although my memory of it is fogged.

Possibly I've blocked out other rounds, too. My brother, Rob, says that he and I golfed together one time not long after Dad passed away. "It wasn't good," he tells me.

The next time I recall swinging a club wasn't in any conventional, or socially acceptable, format.

It occurred one night that same year, when my best friend and fishing companion, Bob Branham, called to report a disturbing infestation. The culprit was Bufo marinus, a large and brazen type of toad that had invaded South Florida from Central America and proliferated rapidly, all but exterminating the more docile native species. The Bufo grows to two pounds and eats anything that fits in its maw, including small birds and mice. When threatened, it excretes from two glands behind its eyes a milky toxin extremely dangerous to mammals. Adventuresome human substance abusers have claimed that licking Bufo toads produces psychedelic visions, but the practice is often fatal for dogs and cats.

Which is why Bob had called. Every evening a brigade of Bufos had been appearing outside his back door and gobbling all the food he'd put out for Dixie, his young Labrador retriever. It's probably unnecessary to point out that while Labradors possess a cheery and endearing temperament, they are not Mensa candidates in the kingdom of canines. In fact, Labs will eagerly eat, lick or gnaw objects far more disgusting than a sweaty toad. For that reason, Bob expressed what I felt was a well-founded fear that his beloved pet was in peril during these nightly Bufo encounters.

When I arrived at his house, the onslaught was in progress. A herd of medium-sized toads hungrily patrolled the perimeter of his patio, while one exceptionally rotund specimen had vaulted into Dixie's dish and engulfed so much dog chow that it was unable to climb out. It looked like a mud quiche with eyeballs.

As kids, Bob and I had roamed the Everglades collecting wild critters, so neither of us wanted to harm the Bufos. Yet there seemed no choice but to remove them quickly and by force, before his dopey dog slurped one like a Popsicle.

Ballasted with Alpo, the toads would have been easy to capture by hand. That, however, would have presented two serious problems. One was the poison; the other was pee. Toads are prodigious pissers, and Bufos in particular own hair-trigger bladders. The instant you pick one up, the hosing commences and does not cease until you drop it.

Bob and I were discussing our limited and unsavory options when I noticed a golf bag in a corner near the back door. We had a brief conversation about which of his neighbors was the most obnoxious, and then I reached for a 9-iron. Bob chose a 7.

Before the PETA rally begins, let me point out that an adult Bufo toad is one of God's sturdiest creatures. Bob swears he once saw one get run over by a compact car and then hop away. I have my doubts, but in any case we purposely picked lofted clubs to effect a kinder, gentler relocation.

Aerodynamically, your average toad travels through the air with substantially more drag than a golf ball. This is because golf balls are usually round, and legless. A toad won't carry as far, or roll more than once or twice when it lands. Nonetheless, I soon found the range with Bob's 9-iron, chipping several beefy Bufos onto a window awning two houses away. Even at that distance we could hear the feisty invaders clomping across the flimsy aluminum before free-falling into the backyard of their new, unsuspecting hosts.

Purists probably wouldn't consider clandestine toad launching as true golf, but for accuracy's sake it must be reported that I took five or six swings with an iron that night. The next time I touched a club was in August 1977, while vacationing in Asheville, North Carolina. The trip stands out for two reasons: Elvis Presley died that week, and I got my first (and last) taste of genuine mountain moonshine. However, I was neither grief-stricken nor bombed when I accompanied a friend to a municipal driving range, which—using borrowed clubs—I chopped into wet clots of flying sod.

During self-imposed retirement I continued to follow the professional tour as a fan, and in 1978 I even attended what was then called the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic in Lauderhill. On the afternoon that I was in the gallery, Nicklaus ran off five consecutive birdies on his way to dusting the field. His performance was so otherwordly that it validated my decision to abandon the game; the only way I belonged on a golf course was as a spectator.

Then, in November 2002, another slip occurred, and it ultimately set me on the cart path to perdition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 57 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Very Funny Book!

    Even if you are not an avid golfer, Hiaasen writes a very amusing book that makes you laugh out loud about his golf antics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2008

    A reviewer

    It's been said that golf is a good walk, ruined. That pretty much sums it up for a lot of us who have tried and failed at playing golf. Hiassen's account of having failed and THEN taking it up in mid-life is at once funny and sad. Sad mostly for me because it hit a nerve. As with all Hiaasen books, you don't have to be interested in the subject to appreciate his writing. He can take anything and make it readable. Don't be afraid to buy this book if you don't like golf--as a matter of fact, you might enjoy it all the more!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2008

    I didn't want to like this book

    I consider myself a golf purist and feel that golf doesn't lend itself to humorous writing. I picked up LIE more bcause I enjoy Hiaasen's writing. I am glad I did. The author takes us along for the year he comes back to the game we all love and the result is a realistic look at why we do love the game of golf. It's the challenge more discouraging than encouraging and that's the bottom line. I expected success to triumph over failure but that's not the case. I am also glad to see Hiaasen is still playing and wasn't in it just for the sake of the book. ALL golfers and would be golfers will enjoy LIE as well as those who wonder why we knock that little white ball around.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    My wife gave me this book as a gift and I made it through about

    My wife gave me this book as a gift and I made it through about 340 days of the author's "journal" of golf hacking.  While I respect his right to inject his left leaning politics into his writing I really think it took a lot from the book.  It was at that point that I closed it up and relegated it to the goodwill box.  That said this book starts out being sort of numerous if you're a golfer but, it quickly became mundane and repetitious and The political bent gave me the excuse I needed to put it down and move on to something worth my precious time.

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  • Posted June 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Quick, easy, funny read.

    Carl Hiaasen's THE DOWNHILL LIE is a quick-moving, witty book about one man's attempted re-emergence into the sport of golf. As a hacker myself, much of what Hiassen wrote about rang true, and I found myself laughing out loud more than once at the author's blunderings about the links.

    Not only is the book funny, but there is an underlying theme about the importance of spending time together, whether it be between friends or between father and son. It's also very easy to read, with plenty of chapter breaks and a mix between longer essays and quick journal entries.

    Not an award winner per say, but a great gift for someone who doesn't take golf too seriously!

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  • Posted March 16, 2011

    i like potatoes

    poop on a stick

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    Full of Laughs and Missed Three Footers

    A great read for any golfer - you will identify and laugh out loud.

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    Mildly entertaining

    A somewhat cynical view of golf from someone who plays somewhere in the 90's and considers that disastrous. I can see all the average golfers scratching their heads thinking...."hhmm...that's not that bad. To each their own I guess. But the viewpoint can be very humorous at times, on and off the course.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009


    I read this at a time that my golf game was suffering and I had read one to many golf self help books trying to fix things. This book was good for a laugh and it helped put everything in perspective. No more golf swing help books after this!Love Carl Hiaasens writing and voice.

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  • Posted August 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Golf is a funny game, especially Mr. Hiaasen's game.

    This is a fun read, no more no less. If you are a golfer you will understand how frustrating the game is weather you are trying to break 60 or 90. Luckly for us we get to hear how tough it is from someone who can wax comedic.

    I really enjoyed the book, but then again I enjoy Carl Hiaasen books and golf. For me it was a winning combination.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great gift for the golfer in your life

    If you've ever played golf you can relate the many funny passages in this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2008

    Highly Recommended

    The ups and downs of arguably the most difficult sport in the world are detailed in Carl Hiaasen¿s latest novel, The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return To A Ruinous Sport. This personal diary of Hiaasen¿s accounts gives a first hand perspective on the physically and mentally grueling sport of golf, but stays true to Hiaasen¿s light style of writing. After putting down his clubs for more than 30 years, Hiaasen foolishly stumbles back into the sport that left him deeply frustrated in his early 20¿s. Luckily for us, his new work brilliantly enlightens us about his success, or lack thereof, in this exceedingly deceptive sport. Hiaasen gives a stunningly detailed account of his voyage through nearly two years of his life, filled with bogeys, double bogeys, and the occasional triple bogey. Through his comedic writing and ridiculous tales, Hiaasen is able to grasp the attention of readers of all ages, regardless of their golfing experience. Whether a golfer or not, readers are able to relate to Hiaasen¿s frustration and have a genuine concern for him. Hiaasen¿s journey from course to course sure is a pleasant read and an equally pleasant ride, as he makes an attempt to detail his accomplishments, but always arrives back at his repeated failures. These failures range from his myriad of horrible outings to actually sinking a golf cart in a lake. Throughout the novel, we watch as Hiaasen spends thousands of dollars on new equipment, lessons, and even ¿mind focusing¿ pills, and he continuously returns to the same conclusion: golf is not the sport for him and he should just quit. Remarkably, he found a way to stick it out. Eventually we witness the sport of golf become a family activity. As Hiaasen watches his son tee off, he remembers the Sundays long ago when he played with his own father. It is as if golf has become a right of passage in the Hiaasen family. The book also is extremely environmentally conscious, as is typical of the native Floridian Hiaasen¿s body of work. While in a joking tone, Hiaasen does not fail to mention the absurd amount of wild land that is being cleared for these golf courses and their surrounding communities. I am extremely impressed by his writing and find it very enjoyable to read. I am surely going to explore his other works, and recommend this book strongly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2008

    A reviewer

    To be honest, when I find out that Carl Hiaasen is releasing a new book soon, I am ecstatic. If you've read every book that Carl Hiaasen has written like I have, you just come to expect loads of humor in his writing. Paradise Screwed and Kick Ass, the books that were compilations of his columns in the Miami Herald weren't a laugh a minute, but at least they were educational. If you have lived in Florida for any length of time, you know that a lot of residents are avid golfers. There are many gated communities, like the LPGA in Daytona Beach on LPGA Boulevard. The name is self-explanatory, I think. Hiaasen has railed against all things Disney many times. Hiaasen is reminiscent of the way Florida used to be before it was pummeled. Golf courses are not native to Florida either, the same as Disney, Universal, etc. Maybe if the novel were a 'laugh a minute,' as Stormy Weather and Double Whammy were, I might have overlooked this 'selling out.' In this case I just couldn't.

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    Posted July 16, 2011

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