'You're Still Away'

By: Scott Perrault

"You're Still Away" by Robert Sullivan is a collection of short stories for golfers who seek, however briefly, to go inside the ropes and look beyond the mundane. You know: the "Tiger shot such and such" reports that populate our sports pages.

Having been around golf for 45 years and growing up looping at the local country club, I was immediately brought back to my youth by Sullivan's Chapter V, "Requiem for the Bag Toter." Sad to say, he rightly observes that the days of a young lad lugging a golf bag with the occasional word of advice from an older, wiser golfer are going the way of the dodo bird. That is, the caddie is pretty much becoming extinct.

As a young caddie, the most important lesson I learned was to have integrity and honor through golf. In the chapter written about former President Clinton, "Mulligans and Ms. Lewinsky: Why President Clinton's Golf Game Shouted Beware!" Sullivan propounds that golf is nothing without its sense of honor. He writes, "At the end of the long day, as you trudge to the 19th hole for requisite relief from the trials and travails of golf, there is reality to be confronted. And - sorry - that reality says a golf shot is not a 'mulligan,' it's a golf shot. Count it, count 'em all. Similarly, an act that might cause the spouse to shy some crockery at your head: count that, too."

The subjects in other chapters flow nicely from celebrities - Clint Eastwood, Ernie Els and Emeril Lagasse - to more obscure topics like speed golf, blind golf and golf course architecture. Each of the 25 chapters is infused with a personal touch that allows us to get to know the principals involved. In sum, Sullivan's book of essays is an informative and fun read for any golfer.

Through Sullivan's golf journal you will be brought inside the ropes and perhaps back to your youth, like I was. You can't beat that.

"You're Still Away," by Robert Sullivan, Maple Street Press, $19.95 (hardback), 240 pages, ISBN 978-934186-04-6.

Scott Perrault was born and raised in Seattle and is a graduate of the Seattle Golf Club caddie program. A mid-handicapper who loves the game and expects too much of his mediocre swing, actually likes playing golf with Kathy, his high school sweetheart and wife of 32 years.

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