'Tommy's Honor,' by Kevin Cook

By: Dr. John Wagner

This is a great biography and exceedingly well written. The characters are so alive in the story about Old Tom Morris and his son, Tommy Morris, that you think you could go over to Scotland and still find these two important figures in golf.

Kevin Cook has done a marvelous job of telling us the real history of these people down to most minute, but wonderful, details. Did you know that old Tom took a dip in the ocean every morning of his life and then went to work? That he often went to bed and woke up with snow on his bed?

This is Old Tom's story, detailing both the great things that happened to him and his son and the sorrowful things that befell the two. While reading the book, there were times I really enjoyed learning about the history of golf, while at other junctures tears came as I learned about his life.

Old Tom did not start his fabled career at the Old Course at St. Andrews. His first job was at Prestwick, a 12-hole layout that he modified and turned into a fine 18-hole course that hosted the first-ever British Open.

Kevin Cook's book belongs in everyone's library. It's not only a great golf book, but one of the best all-round books I have ever read. That viewpoint stems from Cook's writing ability, and his knack for really making people come alive. "Tommy's Honor" is golf history at its finest.

"Tommy's Honor," by Kevin Cook, $27.50, 2007, Gotham Books (published by the Penguin Group), ISBN 9781592402977

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.