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The Downhill Lie : A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport
by Carl Hiaasen


Overview - Ever wonder how to retrieve a sunken golf cart from a snake-infested lake? Or which club in your bag is best suited for combat against a horde of rats? If these and other sporting questions are gnawing at you, The Downhill Lie, Carl Hiaasen’s hilarious confessional about returning to the fairways after a thirty-two-year absence, is definitely the book for you.  Read more...

 
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More About The Downhill Lie by Carl Hiaasen
 
 
 
Overview
Ever wonder how to retrieve a sunken golf cart from a snake-infested lake? Or which club in your bag is best suited for combat against a horde of rats? If these and other sporting questions are gnawing at you, The Downhill Lie, Carl Hiaasen’s hilarious confessional about returning to the fairways after a thirty-two-year absence, is definitely the book for you.

Originally drawn to the game by his father, Carl wisely quit golfing in 1973, when “Richard Nixon was hunkered down like a meth-crazed badger in the White House, Hank Aaron was one dinger shy of Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and The Who had just released Quadrophenia.” But some ambitions refuse to die, and as the years—and memories of shanked 7-irons—faded, it dawned on Carl that there might be one thing in life he could do better in middle age than he could as a youth. So gradually he ventured back to the dreaded driving range, this time as the father of a five-year-old son—and also as a grandfather.

“What possesses a man to return in midlife to a game at which he’d never excelled in his prime, and which in fact had dealt him mostly failure, angst and exasperation? Here’s why I did it: I’m one sick bastard.”

And thus we have Carl’s foray into a world of baffling titanium technology, high-priced golf gurus, bizarre infomercial gimmicks and the mind-bending phenomenon of Tiger Woods; a maddening universe of hooks and slices where Carl ultimately—and foolishly—agrees to compete in a country-club tournament against players who can actually hit the ball. “That’s the secret of the sport’s infernal seduction,” he writes. “It surrenders just enough good shots to let you talk yourself out of quitting.”

Hiaasen’s chronicle of his shaky return to this bedeviling pastime and the ensuing demolition of his self-esteem—culminating with the savage 45-hole tournament—will have you rolling with laughter. Yet the bittersweet memories of playing with his own father and the glow he feels when watching his own young son belt the ball down the fairway will also touch your heart. Forget Tiger, Phil and Ernie. If you want to understand the true lure of golf, turn to Carl Hiaasen, who has written an extraordinary book for the ordinary hacker.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780307266538
  • ISBN-10: 0307266532
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publish Date: May 2008
  • Page Count: 207
  • Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.24 x 0.89 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.67 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Sports & Recreation > Golf - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 41.
  • Review Date: 2008-03-03
  • Reviewer: Staff

Hiaasen (Skinny Dip), an admittedly woeful golfer, recounts his clumsy resumption of the game after a 32-year layoff. Why did he take up golf so long after quitting at the age of 20? “I'm one sick bastard,” he writes. Hiaasen interweaves passages about his return to the game with diary entries covering more than a year and a half on the links. He mixes childhood memories of playing with his father, who died prematurely, with anecdotes, including the time he and a friend ejected an invasion of poisonous toads from his friend's patio with short irons. His analysis of his lessons, hapless rounds and gimmicky golf equipment is hilarious, and his vivid descriptions are vintage Hiaasen, such as golf balls that are designed to “run like a scalded gerbil.” Hiaasen also touches on topics he writes about in his novels and newspaper columns, lamenting the overdevelopment of Florida and skewering crooked politicians and lobbyists prone to lavish golf junkets. He finishes his journey with a detailed round-by-round account of his pitiful play in a member-guest tournament on his home course (his discouragement is cheered, however, when his wife and young son joyfully take up the game). With the satirically skilled Hiaasen, who rarely breaks 90 on the links, this narrative is an enjoyable ride. (May)

 
BookPage Reviews

Sports nuts

Even if your father isn't out to relive the glory days of college athletics, chances are there's at least one sport he believes he can master—golf. The fancy that getting a little white ball into a small round cup can't really be that hard has a surprising hold on the human psyche, as Carl Hiaasen admits in The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. With biting humor, Hiaasen shares his personal quest for the weekend golfer's Holy Grail—breaking 80 (well, 90)—amid challenges like alligators, hostile eagles (the feathered kind), monkeys, wayward golf carts and seductive, treacherous golf clubs (the kind that fit in a bag, not the kind you join). Hiaasen has a tendency to veer off-course in his narrative (usually into leftist politics), but he punches back on quickly enough, and his insights into the insane lengths a golfer will go to in hopes of a lower score are always entertaining. If you've been bitten by the golf bug, you'll appreciate every moment of Hiaasen's magnificent obsession. If you haven't, read The Downhill Lie and laugh at those of us who have.

 
BAM Customer Reviews