Horovitz, a wunderkind of sorts, chronicles his glorious times as a caddie trainee at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland, a prestigious golf landmark. With the energy and joy of youth, he describes his “gap year,” when he took time off before entering Harvard, to which he was accepted at age 17. During that year, he joined the caddie squad at the historic site, with its challenging fairways. A caddie since age 12, Horovitz enjoys the competition of the caddies, the oft-repeated golf tales, the stern discipline of his by-the-book caddie master in the shack, and the pressure to excel at his duties of looping on the links. His interaction with the group of “pretty” university girls, deemed “Model Caddies,” is wondrous, as he learns several life lessons from them and the other caddies buzzing around them. Taking a full course load at Harvard while juggling caddie summers at St. Andrews, Horovitz shares his deeply felt memories of golf, girls, and the academy boldly, never taking himself too seriously or being irreverent about the caddie tradition on the time-honored Old Course links. Agent: Ryan Harbage. (Mar.)
"Horovitz shares his deeply felt memories of golf, girls, and the academy boldly, never taking himself too seriously or being irreverent about the caddie tradition on the time-honored Old Course links." ---Publishers Weekly
The experiences of an American caddie at golf's most sacred locale. In the middle of his high school graduation ceremony, Horovitz received a phone call from Harvard telling him that he was accepted from the waiting list but would have to wait a year before he could enroll. The author chose to spend a year at the University of St. Andrews, which is located in the town that stands at the epicenter of golf's history. A devoted golfer, Horovitz decided to caddy at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and especially, at the most famous loop of all, the Old Course. It is this experience--his attempts to fit in, to please a dour and exacting old guard, and the ongoing allure that St. Andrews held even as he wound his way through Harvard and beyond--that is at the heart of this intermittently affecting book. Horovitz is at his most effective conveying the atmosphere in the caddie shack and the difficulties, insecurities and triumphs that he confronted. But his attempts to interweave the rest of his life can be self-indulgent. His returns to Harvard after each summer make for lackluster reading, as do most of the sections on his dating life. But an exception to this off-course banality comes with Horovitz's relationship with his octogenarian great uncle, who has long lived in St. Andrews and who, over the years, became one of his best friends. These scenes provide the story's most powerful and poignant moments. Had the author alternated between his experiences carrying the bag and his visits with Uncle Ken and cut out the extraneous fluff, this would be an even better book. Not everyone can get to St. Andrews, but with Horovitz's memoir, they can get somewhat of an insider's view.