Donald Gibson had it all. And then he screwed the pooch.
Donald and his fabulous blond hair found fame and success too easy and too early. He starred as a football player for the University of Maryland and brought his alma mater its first national championship. Out of college, he prospered as a celebrity salesman. But he took his good fortune for granted and his life went to hell. By his mid-forties, he's deep in debt, drunk, lumpy around the middle and sucking for air.
Donald makes a life-changing choice when the aunt who raised him dies and leaves him a unique bequest: he can have her fortune and her house on Lanai, a tiny and unheard-of Hawaiian island, but only if he remains on the island for three years. He moves into what looks like a community of religious kooks and discovers that golf, his passion, is the village religion. For Donald, the way back looks like a tap-in putt. It turns out to be a slippery, downhill four-footer that runs thirty yards past the hole.
Donald resigns himself to years of involuntary quietude and is befriended by villagers from all along the spectrum of oddity. David Kalakaua, a descendant of Hawaiian royalty, insists upon being called 'King' and goose steps about the village golf course, demanding that he be worshipped. Wendy Walker, who lives in fear of fire and brimstone, preaches that God gave his only son so that Christians could chip and putt like champions. Ramona is a naive teen who can drive a ball two-hundred and sixty yards and, unlike most of the villagers, plays with competitive heat. Tina is Ramona's mother and turns Donald in to her boy toy. And there is Bobby Joe Fu, a Chinese-North Carolinian-Baptist, former seminarian and failed touring pro - the village's spiritual leader - who makes Donald's rehabilitation his personal mission.
Church of Golf touches on themes every golfer will recognize: failure, hope, struggle and redemption. It also affirms what every golfer knows to be true: Learning to golf well is learning to live humbly.
|Publisher:||Saint Pete Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)|
About the Author
Spencer Stephens is an author, golfer and attorney who lives in Rockville, Maryland and Belfast, Maine. Before law school, Spencer worked for several years as a daily newspaper reporter, first in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and later in his hometown of Annapolis, Maryland. He earned an English degree at East Carolina University and law degree at the Catholic University of America.
Spencer and his wife have two daughters. He is a devoted golfer, and on a good day, he can break ninety.
Church of Golf: A Novel About Second Chances is his debut book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a terrific and well-composed book. I was amazed to learn it was the author's first effort. The book tells the story of a unique anti-hero, Donald Gibson. He is narcissistic, funny, eloquently profane, soft in the head and knows he needs redirection. Most of the book follows his development after he moves into a religious commune and discovers that the predominant religion is golf. Worship is done on the village golf course, considered sacred ground. Through misadventures and stupidity, Donald is forced to reconsider himself. I can't say more without being a spoiler but the episodes during his first months in the village/commune had me laughing out loud and, at the same time, recognizing the significance of failing and trying again. Well written. Well paced. Characters and relationships well developed and well described. I'll be thinking about this book for weeks to come.