Jimmy Demaret: The Swing's the Thing, by John Companiotte & The PGA Championship: The Season's Final Major, by Companiotte & Catherine Lewis

By: Dr. John Wagner

These two books showed up last week from the author; I thought he may be trying to bribe me into good reviews. But loving golf history as I do, I first sneaked a peak at the PGA book. After the first few pages, it was clear I was going to really like this one.

So I thought I'd take a look at the other title, hoping not to like it as much as I'm too young to know much about Demaret. Big mistake. Again, in five pages I was hooked. That's why I am doing this review in a non-traditional manner. I now have these books to serve as references for how to help understand what a good author is: someone with the ability to capture me in a few pages and make me want to read more.

The print in both books is wonderfully easy-to-read and the use of pictures are exceptional (except for the photo of Companiotte on the inside cover of the Demaret book - you could smile a little more, John).

Did you know that the Wanamaker trophy is named after a man who considered golf a silly game and did not play, but belonged to several clubs because he considered them good for business? Demaret won his first professional tournament in 1934 at the Texas PGA in Dallas. He and his caddie got there from Houston by hopping a freight train. Now players travel by private jet. He won $25 for the victory. My, how times have changed!

These fun facts, as I call them, are entertaining as this was how the early pro tournaments were. Companiotte does this so well in both books that each is really enjoyable.

Like eating a really good meal at a nice slow pace, I savored these. They're not meant to be speed-read as they represent golf history and are well-presented. So this reviewer says, go get 'em golf readers.

"Jimmy Demaret: The Swing's the Thing" by John Companiotte, Clock Tower Press (www.clocktowerpress.com); ISBN 1-932202-10-2.

"The PGA Championship: The Season's Final Major," by John Companiotte and Catherine Lewis, Clock Tower Press, ISBN 1-932202-08-0

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.