John Updike has been writing about golf since he took the game up at the age of twenty-five. In the nearly forty years of pleasurable bafflement that have followed, he has composed essays for Golf Digest and short stories for The New Yorker concerning the sport; he has contributed to tournament programs and walked such fictional characters as Rabbit Angstrom and Tom Marshfield (of A Month of Sundays) through the details of a round. Golf is neither work nor play, he asserts: "Golf is a trip." Golf has been the subject of many books and the province of many experts, but few have written as sympathetically, as knowingly, about the peculiar charms of bad golf, and the satisfactions of an essentially losing struggle. The camaraderie of golf, the perils of its present boom, how to relate to caddies, and how to manage short putts are among the many topics covered. These thirty pieces of pure gold have been dug up from a great variety of sources. Some have been published in one or another of Mr. Updike's other collections; most have not.