…the most humble and humane golf book I have ever read. Relying on insight instead of striving to incite, Pennington reduces golf to its most basic charms and makes the game remarkably accessible…Pennington…is the most noble of guides, encouraging and realistic, light and enlightening…On Par spares us the wiseguy tweaking with wisdom and earnest good humor. It should be handed to every first-time golfer as part of a welcome packet. Better yet, it should be in the zippered compartment of every new golf bag, like an in-flight magazine. Or a Bible.
The New York Times Book Review
Called “the voice of the everyday golfer,” Pennington, the New York Times “On Par” columnist, writes a hilarious, informative primer on the essentials of golf, schooling novices or the professional bewitched by mastering the links. The author is sometimes long-winded about his passion for golfing, describing the noble sport of the fairways as “an endeavor of hope, fear, disappointment, glee, perseverance, abandonment, unrelenting gratification and unexpected reward.” He talks in glowing terms of the sport “invented by a bunch of bored Scottish sheepherders,” going over the necessary preparation of selecting tees, golf bags, clubs, or putting, and making recovery shots from the woods, stating that no other sport will test you in the same way. A chapter on golf-speak will tickle readers with a sampling of the colorful jargon of golf pros such as air mail (overshooting), cabbage (deep rough), or Saddam Hussein (going from bunker to bunker). Tongue-in-cheek, he writes the role of being a good golf partner means effective teamwork rather than attracting attention with “mismatched socks or an unzipped fly.” No golf guide would be complete without mention of Annika Sorenstam, Tiger Woods, or Lee Trevino, with lessons learned from these great players. With a few chuckles and basic instruction, Pennington’s book effectively consolidates the wealth of knowledge from his beloved column, while delighting those who are perplexed by the puzzle that is the sport of golf. (May)
"No one can completely cover the game of golf like Bill Pennington and no book can comprehensively tell the story of the sport with the same wit, wisdom and knowledge like On Par: The Everyday Golfer's Survival Guide."
-- Jim Nantz, CBS Sports
"As a regular reader of Bill's On Par column in The New York Times, I was wondering what fertile golf terrain could possibly be left for him to farm? I soon found out his surplus was even better. And I know he can dig with the best of them. I played a round of golf with him!"
-- Dan Hicks, NBC Sports Golf Host
"Bill Pennington takes his first-hand experience as a golfer, as well as his years of getting to know professionals, and delivers a phenomenal guide to the sport I love so much. He does a great job of breaking down the fundamentals of golf to something everybody can enjoy and understand. As all golfers know, the sport is about more than being able to hit a good shot and this book takes you through the journey, arming you with everything you need to know."
"Put a copy of Bill Pennington's On Par on your shelf and another copy in your golf bag. Often funny, always smart, Pennington zeroes in on the essence of a royally crazy old game."
--Kevin Cook, author of Titanic Thompson and Tommy's Honor
"One of the great joys during the golf season is reading Bill Pennington’s golf page, 'On Par,' in The New York Times each Monday morning. Imagine that – a whole page devoted to all things golf! My heart be still. And now we have this wonderful book that’s much more than my Monday morning read. Trust me, if you’re an avid golfer, you’ll devour each and every word."
-- Martin Davis, golf historian and author, The American Golfer"On Par is the ideal guide for golfers who don’t hit their pitching wedge 160 yards, get paid for wearing white belts, or hang out with Las Vegas cocktail waitresses. And it wouldn’t do those other guys any harm, either."
– David Owen, author of My Usual Game
New York Times golf columnist Pennington (The Heisman: Great American Stories of the Men Who Won, 2005) provides a comprehensive guide on how to get the most out of a pastime that frustrates and bewitches its devotees. The game--or sport, a distinction explored here by the author--of golf inspires a range of emotions in those who play. It can also seem confounding to the uninitiated, with its plethora of rules, arcane etiquette and emphasis on its long history and traditions. Pennington provides the perfect entry point for beginners taking up the game, offering practical advice on all of golf's many facets, from the basics of equipment, rules and lingo to the things you didn't even know you needed to know. The author includes advice from teachers, professionals (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Annika Sorenstam and others) caddies and everyday golfers on a myriad of topics related to the game, including psychology, technique and how to not become overwhelmed by the massive amount of other advice golfers encounter in person, print and broadcast. Golf writing may be unique among sportswriting for the way it often manages to convey the deadly seriousness those passionate about it feel toward the game, while simultaneously joking at their expense. Pennington's tone shares this trait and will be familiar to those who have read any of the many golf books out there. None of those books, however, offer nearly as much real-world advice to golfers on how to improve their experience. A must for beginning golfers or players looking to get more enjoyment out of their time on the course.