'Golf, Naked' by Greg Rowley

By: Dr. John Wagner

This is supposed to be a book about everything about golf for beginners and, apparently, others I'm not completely certain of. While reading it I really got the feeling that author Greg Rowley spent a lot of time putting the book together, but he sure overdid things.

It takes him 270 pages, well over twice as many pages as it took Tony Dear's excellent "The Golfer's Handbook" (for Dr. Wagner's review, visit http://www.cybergolf.com/golf_news/the_golfers_handbook_by_tony_dear) to say pretty much the same messages. I truly believe that brevity is more informative than excessive verbiage.

Rowley's book includes such trite sayings as: "Let a smile be your umbrella and you end up with a face full of rain"; "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work"; and "Do not be afraid to go out on a limb because that's where the food is." None of these make any sense to me as to their relationship to golf, yet they're still sprinkled throughout the book. Some correlate to what he's writing about, but to me, these appear very amateurish and don't fit within its context.

Another trick he uses is "story time," short vignettes intended to prove points. Unfortunately, I'm not sure which ones he's trying to prove. For example, he writes about a lady teeing off for the first time who lets out a fart and, then later, after chipping a shot into the hole, laughs so much she pees her pants. To me, this story reeks of third-grade humor and doesn't do anyone any good.

Another is about a person who loses a ball on a par-3 in some rocks, says he found it in a clear area, and then a fellow player finds the ball in the cup. This long story about cheating comes during an invitational tournament. All Rowley had to say is, "Don't cheat." When I read this story I thought that the person he was describing had cheated many times before and his partner should have known it.

Rowley's discussion of how to act on a men's golf trip is also a waste of time. When men go on a golf trip they only pick the people they know they'll get along with. They sure don't ask a total stranger. But that's how the author makes it sound.

The book also has some quality issues. The pictures are very grainy and poor, especially those of golf holes (Editor's Note: The book read by the reviewer was a galley review copy; the finished book will be available April 2009.) You don't see the beauty of a hole by looking at a small and grainy, black-and-white photo, especially when it contains a water hazard. The pictures' lack of contrast and color makes them not worth including; they look like they're just filling space. This is not a book I can recommend to my golfing friends.

"Golf, Naked" by Greg Rowley, PGA, 300 pages, $24.95, Pick It Up Publishing, LLC, Coeur d'Alene, ID, ISBN 987-0-9815319-5-3.

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 has 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. John is currently a Member of the USGA Green Section and a Director of the WSGA.