'The Golfer's Handbook' by Tony Dear

By: Dr. John Wagner

When I first read this book I didn't think it had much to offer to someone like me, who's been around the game for many years and read many golf books. But I really liked the format and how it laid out. Even the paper has a high quality and is enjoyable to feel.

Such attributes helps make this 126-page book very attractive to me. Additionally, it has many accessible chapters, which are really just short installments of a page or two. Titles include: The Perfect Putter; Loft; Gripping Advice; The Swing; A Round with Dad; The Golf Trip. Such organization allows readers to open the book and quickly note whether to read a section or move on to another one.

The writing of the author (a regular contributor to Cybergolf) is also sound and concise. Dear's descriptions are brief and, refreshingly, lack excessive verbosity. His advice on golf-giving is especially excellent. We all have drawers of useless stuff, so Dear's solution is simple: buy your friend this book and a sleeve of balls. We never have enough new golf balls.

Dear also included excellent pages on tees, noting there are over 800 patents on golf tees in the U.S. alone. He covers the irritating golfer in a half page and hits it right on the screws.

The book seems like throwback to books written a century ago, although I wish he'd included more on the history of golf.

So, who would benefit most from buying this book? New golfers certainly, and many older ones as well. I belong to a private club and it should give this book out to all new members - men and women. I know a lot of male golfers who could use it to learn some important points they don't know.

I'd have liked to have learned more about the author; his bio is too short. A lot of times, it's helpful and interesting to know a writer's background. In sum, this little book is nicely done, with good, solid information for many golfers.

"The Golfer's Handbook" by Tony Dear, Pub Sellers Publishing, 126 pages, $16.95, P.O. Box 818, Portland, ME, 04104, ISBN 13-978-1-56906-998-1

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.