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Loopers: A Caddie's Twenty-Year Golf Odyssey

Loopers: A Caddie's Twenty-Year Golf Odyssey

4.4 5
by John Dunn

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Destined to become a classic of golf writing, Loopers is a treasure of a memoir about the uncommon world of the  club caddy and the improbable journey it resulted in for one man.  It is a perennial account that touches on the animating force of the game itself, reminding us of the reason we continue to tee the ball up, year in and year out.

John Dunn


Destined to become a classic of golf writing, Loopers is a treasure of a memoir about the uncommon world of the  club caddy and the improbable journey it resulted in for one man.  It is a perennial account that touches on the animating force of the game itself, reminding us of the reason we continue to tee the ball up, year in and year out.

John Dunn never expected that his summer job as a caddy at the local course in Connecticut might turn into something more. The lifers - as in "caddies for life" - that plied the loops were an ensemble of misfits and degenerates that made the caddy yard look more like an OTB parlor than anything near a country club.  But Dunn came of age in those yards and on those courses, and after an eye-opening experience caddying in Aspen during college the magnetism of the game and the lifestyle proved irresistible. One adventure after another kept him coming back summer after summer, until - out of college - he found himself migrating with the seasons, looping at some of the most exquisite and exclusive golf locations in the world; Sherwood, Augusta, Bandon Dunes, Shinnecock, and St. Andrews to name a few. Dunn criss-crossed the country on his own big loop; working inside the privet hedges while camping on the mountains; following the back roads and stumbling across unexpected moments of profound natural beauty; embracing the freedom of what he calls the last vagabond existence in America, all while trying to decide whether to quit the loop and get a real job. Maybe next season...

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Colman McCarthy
In well-crafted and often conversational prose, Dunn is part sociologist, part storyteller and part adventurer as he observes the ways of his fellow caddies…and the rich, big-tipping members who often paid hundreds of dollars per round and the occasional stiffers who paid the minimum $90.
Kirkus Reviews
A freelance golf writer rehearses his decades of caddying and carousing at some of the toniest venues in the world--from Augusta to St. Andrews. Dunn comes across in much of this mostly frivolous text as one of those perpetual adolescents who populate Judd Apatow films. As he recounts his exploits on the links, in bars and campgrounds and rooming houses, he displays a surprisingly obtuse attitude about women. He repeats crude sexist stories (sans irony), rails against the "aggressive older women on the prowl" in Aspen, describes the endowments of women he sees on the course and, of course, "cougars." At various points, he waxes philosophical about the meaning of it all--e.g., golf and life are both journeys. Dunn occasionally alludes to a book (Siddhartha) and to his efforts to become a writer, but this does not occur often. The most significant relationship he relates is with his father, who, unsurprisingly, was not thrilled with his son's decision to spend his youth carrying other people's golf bags. His father's disapprobation pops up continually, but near the end, things grow more serious: His father became grievously ill, and for the first time in their lives, father and son had to come to terms with each other. In these passages, the author emerges as something more than the self-absorbed adolescent he appears elsewhere to be. Also of interest are his descriptions of some of the great courses he "looped" (caddied), some of the notables for whom he caddied (Bill Gates, Arnold Palmer), some of the amusing experiences he had when he didn't really know what he was doing (his early rounds in Scotland), and encounters with golfers and caddies who were less than amiable. Will appeal to fans of the Caddyshack films and to those who revere the wisdom of the locker room.
From the Publisher
Praise for John Dunn’s Loopers
“Author John Dunn could have made his memoir of life on the links the literary equivalent of nine holes: Drop some A-list names, recall some Caddyshack-worthy shenanigans, then head to the clubhouse. Instead, he made a full round of his peripatetic tale, elegantly capturing not only the breathtaking views along the world’s top courses but the inner landscape of the players irresistibly drawn to the game.”
—American Way

“An engaging and surprisingly gritty approach to the sport's literature.”

“Will appeal to fans of the Caddyshack films and to those who revere the wisdom of the locker room.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Dunn found a vigorous and vital way of life which comes through clearly in his words. He caddies with no anticipation of wealth but at the same time it’s clear he knows of the job’s compensating values—walking through nature and playing golf courses, some of which are as beautiful as any place in the world.”

Loopers is a wildly original journey through the golf world, and a fascinating glimpse into the secret lives of caddies. John Dunn is the perfect tour guide—by turns droll and introspective, imbued with a reverence for the game and a heroic wanderlust that takes him to many of golf's sacred spots. Reading this wonderful book made me want to fall in love with golf again...and to hit the road, in search of the adventure and self-discovery that Dunn found.” 
Alan Shipnuck, author of Bud, Sweat & Tees and co-author of The Swinger

“John Dunn turns toting the golf bags of the rich into an evocative and often very funny meditation on class and purpose. The serendipity he prizes about caddying turns out, as he slides into middle age, to be doubtful compensation for a more conventional career. The mixed blessings of vagabondage, and Dunn's slow-motion struggle with his disapproving father, give his memoir its tense and mournful gravity.”
Tad Friend, author of Cheerful Money
“Is caddying a vocation or a permanent vacation? John Dunn has an amazing talent to get the reader to ‘enter the writer’s tent’ and imagine you’re right there with him in St. Andrews, at Bandon Dunes, at Shinnecock, at Olympic. It’s a trip work taking.”
Mike Keiser, Owner, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

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Meet the Author

John Dunn is a writer whose work has appeared in number magazines including The Golfer and Travel and Leisure Golf.   For twenty years he worked as a caddy at golf courses around the world.  His "research" for this book was collected over the years on courses and beaches and in bars all across the country and abroad.

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Loopers: A Caddie's Twenty-Year Golf Odyssey 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
PaxLA More than 1 year ago
You don't have to fight your way to page 50 to get involved in John Dunn's engrossingly, well-written book. Start on page 1 and you will find yourself captivated by his experiences as a caddy nationally and internationally, as well as those of his fellow caddies. I won't put money on it, but will promise even if you are not a golfer you will enjoy his book. Here's hoping he continues writing for publication.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Page turner from start to finish. Just a tinge of Jealousy, hope he finds the test of what he is looking for. Would love to play the Double Helix.
play4fun More than 1 year ago
This is a book more about lifestyle choices than golf, but it is an engaging read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it's need more golf less about your life styles