'Ancestral Links' by John Garrity

By: Dr. John Wagner

Every now and then I go to a restaurant where the menu is preset (prix fixe to the French). I look at the day's list, evaluate what's for dinner and wonder how it will turn out. More often than not, it turns about better than expected. Indeed, I've visited many fine restaurants and consumed special dishes I might not have otherwise ordered.

The best news is when the menu looks terrific and, after eating the first course, I can hardly wait for the second dish. Well, this book is like that.

After I perused the first chapter, author John Garrity had me. I couldn't wait for the second chapter, yet still wanted to digest and enjoy the first.

Like a wonderful dining experience, what a pleasant book this is turning out to be. Yes, I'm only one-third of the way through it, yet I know the rest will be just as sumptuous. Though I'm far from being done, this book will suit my "palate" just like the times I've eaten at the French Laundry in California's Napa Valley.

Garrity takes readers along for a rewarding ride as he explores relationships with his father, brother, and above all, golf - a game we all love. He conveys his thoughts in a way I almost feel. I hope my own sons get the same sense of how much I love golf, what it stands for and its rich history.

Each chapter is a snippet of his life and experiences on a golf course in Ireland called Carne. You can really feel Garrity's love for this place, and how it relates to his love of family and his father. Once asked about his best-ever score, Garrity answered, "An 87 at Carne."

You must read this book to grasp how wonderful a statement that is. On one occasion at Carne, the wind was blowing 30 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50; a native told him that a storm was coming - as if 30 mph was the norm at Carne.

Much like a great dinner, I know I want to savor this book, take my time and not rush it. I know the dessert will come, and by then I will probably be satiated.

Get this book and read it slowly, enjoying the full flavors of Garrity's relationships with his family, past and present. Sip a glass of good red wine while you nibble on each chapter and finish it with fullness and delight.

What a great read.

"Ancestral Links - A Golf Obsession Spanning Generations," by John Garrity; New American Library Trade Paperback; ISBN 978-0-451-22907-6; 304 pages; $15.

Dr. John Wagner has been a Seattle dentist for 37 years. He's been published in several dental journals as well as had several articles appear in the turf magazine for Pacific Northwest golf course superintendents. John served as a guest lecturer at the University of Washington Business School for several years and as a guest lecturer for several dental societies. Dr. Wagner is the co-designer (with Steve Shea of the Berger Partnership) of a golf course in Japan that cost over $120 million and was built by Wadsworth Golf Construction. He's a Past President of the Washington State Golf Association and a Trustee of the Pacific Coast Golf Association. A 7 handicap, John is currently a member of the USGA Green Section and a Director of the WSGA.