So many works of golfing history focus on the greats: the best players, the most prestigious championships, the hardest courses, and the like. But most avid golfers are average players, relishing in the joy of the sport itself. In Golf’s Iron Horse, celebrated golf writer John Sabino chronicles the previously untold story of Ralph Kennedy, a golf amateur whose love of the game set him on par to play more courses than anyone before.
A founding member of Mamaroneck, New York’s prestigious Winged Foot Golf Club, Kennedy had long been an avid golfer when he met Charles Leonard Fletcher in 1919. When the Englishman told Kennedy that he had played more than 240 courses in his lifetime, Kennedy took it as a challenge and became determined to play more.
In a feat that caused the New York Sun to declare him “golf’s Lou Gehrig” in 1935, Kennedy succeeded in beating Fletcher’s record, and then some. He played golf on more than 3,165 different courses in all forty-eight states, nine Canadian provinces, and more than a dozen different countries during his forty-three year love affair with the game. In addition to the 3,165 unique courses he played, the unrelenting Ralph also played golf a total of 8,500 times over his lifetime, the equivalent of teeing it up every day for twenty-three straight years. Lou Gehrig’s seventeen years in professional baseball pales in comparison.
This intriguing story includes details of the special conditions under which he was able to play the Augusta National Golf Club and the unique circumstances of his visits to Pebble Beach and the Old Course at St. Andrews. Perfect for golf aficionados, Golf’s Iron Horse will inspire every reader to tee off at a new course.
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|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
John Sabino is among a small group of golfers who have achieved the feat of playing the top one hundred ranked golf courses in the world. John chronicled his journey in his popular blog "Playing the Top 100 Golf Courses in The World" and in his book How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs. In addition, he has been featured in Links Magazine, Australian Golf Digest, the Star Ledger, the Wall Street Journal, and Golf Digest Index. An avid golfer and student of golf history, John brings an unparalleled enthusiasm and an insider’s insight to the task. John lives in the golf-rich state of New Jersey.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Beginnings 1
Chapter 2 The Van Cortlandt Park Golf Course ("Vannie") 9
Chapter 3 Bitten by the Golf Bug 21
Chapter 4 The Quest Begins 35
Chapter 5 The Media Discover Red Kennedy 51
Chapter 6 The Winged Foot Golf Club 73
Chapter 7 El Gran Jugador de Golf 86
Chapter 8 Golf Nomad King 103
Chapter 9 Down Magnolia Lane 126
Chapter 10 Kindly Cancel My Subscription 142
Chapter 11 Old Man River 153
Chapter 12 Golf in the Great Metropolis 171
Chapter 13 Golf in the War Years 191
Chapter 14 Motoring out West 201
Chapter 15 The Next 500 Courses 221
Chapter 16 The Glamorous Traveler 230
Chapter 17 The Final Leg 245
Chapter 18 The Legacy 259
Appendix-The Golf Courses of New York City, Past and Present 284
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Most golf lovers, whether they play the game, watch it or both, would be hard pressed to remember the name Ralph Kennedy. Golf historians may remember he was one of the founding members of the Winged Foot course, where many major tournaments have been played including the famous 1974 U.S. Open in which Hale Irwin won at seven over par and has been dubbed “The Massacre at Winged Foot.” However, Kennedy has a much more impressive feat – he has played golf on 3,165 courses covering the 48 contiguous states, 9 of the 10 Canadian provinces and more than a dozen other countries. The story of golf’s “Iron Horse” is captured in this book by John Sabio. Because Kennedy was often compared to baseball’s Lou Gehrig, he was given the same moniker as the all-time Yankee great because of Kennedy’s endurance to play golf so often and at so many course. This was done in the early twentieth century and through the Great Depression. He obtained special permission to play at some prestigious courses such Augusta National. While the story is interesting, especially when one considers that Kennedy’s handicap was at 17 most of the time, which is a bogey golfer, the book seems to go off course several times. If there isn’t a long passage about a particular course Kennedy played, there are many references to the history of the time or information on other athletes such as Lou Gehrig and Bobby Jones. This additional information shows that the author did extensive research but it made the book a much longer and slow-paced one to read for me. The passages about the actual golf played by Kennedy and his wife, who accompanied him on many of his rounds, were quite good and I enjoyed reading about them and the equipment used by the couple. The reader will learn about the changes in the clubs and balls for the time as well. As interesting as these parts were, they too resulted in slow-paced reading. Overall this book is one that is recommended for golf fans, players and especially historians. It does require careful reading to absorb all of the information but what the reader will learn about this amazing accomplishment will be worth the time it took.