Tiger Woods called his book HOW I PLAY GOLF. Great for him but what has that got to do with the rest of us mortals. Even Jack Nicklaus said of Mr. Woods 'He plays a game with which I am not familiar.' David Owen plays a game with which we are all familiar. He plays in a weekly foursome, takes mulligans off the first tee, practises intermittently at best, marks his ball on the green with his lucky coin (until the luck wears out, and he switches to something newer/hotter/fresher), wore a copper wristband because Seve Ballesteros said so, and struggles for consistency even though his swing IS consistent - and mediocre. He bets, he wins, he loses, he agonizes, he dreams. HIT AND HOPE is as pure a definition of the game of golf as anyone has ever devised. Through the annecdotes in this book, Owen takes the mundane aspects of the game and how we approach it and stands them on their head, turns them inside out, and lays our follies bare for all the world to see. He does for contemporary golfers what P.G. Wodehouse did for golfers in the 1920s, or Jacques Tati did for humanity at large: he finds humour and nobility in our essential silliness, as expressed in our pursuit of a little white ball over a vast greensward.
David Owen is a staff writer for THE NEW YORKER, a contributing editor of GOLF DIGEST, and the author of MY USUAL GAME and THE CHOSEN ONE.