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The Seventh at St. Andrews: How Scotsman David McLay Kidd and His Ragtag Band Built theFirst New Course onGo lf's Holy Soil in Nearly a Century
     

The Seventh at St. Andrews: How Scotsman David McLay Kidd and His Ragtag Band Built theFirst New Course onGo lf's Holy Soil in Nearly a Century

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by Scott Gummer
 

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An acclaimed Scottish golf course architect who had to go to America to make his name lands the most coveted commission in all of golf: to design the first new course in almost a century for the town of St. Andrews, the game’s ancestral home.

David McLay Kidd became a wunderkind golf course architect before he was thirty years old, thanks to his

Overview

An acclaimed Scottish golf course architect who had to go to America to make his name lands the most coveted commission in all of golf: to design the first new course in almost a century for the town of St. Andrews, the game’s ancestral home.

David McLay Kidd became a wunderkind golf course architect before he was thirty years old, thanks to his universally lauded design at Bandon Dunes on the Oregon coast. When the town of St. Andrews announced in 2001 that a new championship course was in the works—the town’s first since 1914—Kidd fought off all comers and earned the right to make golf history. Author Scott Gummer was there to chronicle the days in the dirt and the nights in the pubs, the politics and histrionics, all with exclusive access to David Kidd, his team, and the St. Andrews Links Trust.

Unfolding in arresting you-are-there scenes, The Seventh at St. Andrews follows the young master at work as Kidd, with his sharp tongue, leads his accomplices in transforming a plot of flat, uninspiring farmland—smack in the middle of which sits the town’s sewage plant—into a rollicking golfing adventure and the most anticipated golf course opening in a generation.

Murphy’s Law seems to govern the process, however, as everything that can go wrong seemingly does: from epic wooly weather, to cattle grazing on the site, to vociferous opposition among the townsfolk, to bureaucrats so stuck in their ways they cannot be budged even with one of Kidd’s bulldozers.

The story chronicles the decade-long journey from the first notion of a seventh course to its official opening. Kidd&Co. exceed everyone’s expectations by building a magnificent throwback course that looks to have been shaped by the wind and rain and nature rather than modern machinery. The Seventh at St. Andrews brings the underappreciated art of golf course design to life, and along the way profiles an unforgettable cast of characters that includes Kidd’s jovial father, a golf legend in his own right; Kidd’s taciturn right-hand man; and the roustabout Scottish shaper, the Da Vinci in a ’dozer who is the heart of Kidd’s crew.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
David Kidd is certainly the only contemporary golf-course architect whose work has been the subject of two books: first came Dream Golf (2006), about the construction of Bandon Dunes, a links-style public course on the Oregon coast, and now this nearly shovel-by-shovel re-creation of the building of the seventh course at St. Andrews (to open in 2008), the first new construction in nearly a century on the hallowed ground where golf was born. Veteran journalist Gummer was there throughout the process, and he succeeds in making a kind of high drama out of bulldozers, dirt-moving, shaping greens, and the near-mystical mix of art and science that goes into routing a golf course. Unlike in Stephen Goodwin's account of Bandon Dunes, however, there is a little too much of an "authorized history" tone here, too much selling of Kidd's management style. But the story itself will enthrall those with an interest in golf history and architecture: digging in the dirt of St. Andrews can never be done casually, and Gummer makes us feel the weight of the past on every turn of the soil.

Kirkus Reviews
Former Golf magazine senior writer Gummer details-and details and details-architect David McLay Kidd's creation of the seventh golf course at Scotland's legendary St. Andrews. The decision by the St. Andrews Links Trust to create a new course on their grounds, the first such addition in nearly a century, was significant news in the golf world and would prove to be a feather in the cap of the designer who secured the job. Kidd, a golf-course architect with an impressive reputation, learned about the opportunity, put his name in the hat of possible designers, conducted a couple of interviews, solicited a bid and after being selected for the job created an 18-hole golf course in roughly the time he was allotted. There isn't much excitement or surprise in this tale, as Gummer relates the importance of drainage to golf-course design and explains why not all types of sand are the same. He paints Kidd and his employees as a crew of badass pirates composed of volatile personalities that threatened to explode, but the biggest conflagration occurred when a staff member lost interest in his work and offered his resignation . . . which Kidd accepted. Other "crises," such as the discovery of some archaeological artifacts that temporarily halted work and an employee who appeared to be in over his head, were dealt with quickly and without much drama-which allows many more pages to be devoted to budget examinations and schedule analyses. Rather than a dynamic and heroic figure, Kidd often seems small and insecure. Gummer's many attempts to give his story Larger Significance are generally embarrassing. A contender for Least Interesting Book of the Year. Agent: Scott Waxman/Waxman Literary Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440623325
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/04/2007
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
1,101,695
File size:
527 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Scott Gummer's debut novel, PARENTS BEHAVING BADLY, is a suburban satire about overzealous adults and youth sports. The author of two previous books and contributor to over 40 magazines, including Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, Golf, Travel + Leisure and more, his first assignment was for LIFE magazine about an Alabama woman who had been a bridesmaid twelve times. His most memorable assignment was bush skills ranger training in Africa for Fortune. He lives with his wife and four children in the California wine country. www.ScottGummer.com

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The Seventh at St. Andrews: How Scotsman David McLay Kidd and His Ragtag Band Built the First New Course on Golf's Holy Soil in Nearly a Century 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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