As part of an effort to broaden my reading, and to have more to write about here, I’ve started to do reviews of books from other authors. I’m mostly looking for other independently published authors, like myself. To this end, I’ve read a memoir from a girl who details her life after a procedure changed her life (seriously, go read that one). A fantasy novel about a girl being kidnapped and pulled into the realm of the faeries. And now I’ve read a book about a gentleman taking a trip to Scotland to play golf.
Ok, a little more explanation is required.
In Over the Ocean and to the Links, Jeff Foulk decides to take a trip to Scotland, the birth place of Golf, so that he can experience the links golf where it was made. His book is the documentation of his trip, how he planned it, and some of what he learned while over there.
Before I continue I should mention I am not a golfer. The only golf I have ever played is of the miniature variety. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. For me, my general perception of golf has been “hit the ball, get in the cart. Hit the ball, get in the cart.” I tried not to allow my general thoughts of the game get in the way of reading this, and to not allow it to influence my thoughts on the book. So having said that this book has a few issues and they are not related to golf.
At times the author has a tendency to relate things out of order. Early in the book for example, when he first arrives in Scotland he tells us he didn’t understand how to call back to the United States to let his wife know that he made it there ok. He then goes on to talk about the first game of golf and the first course he plays at. Afterwards he relates his troubles finding the bed and breakfast he is staying at, and then lets us know that they had been able to help him to call back home. This however had taken place before his game of golf but isn’t told until after he tells us about that first game.
I’d also of liked if the author had been a little more descriptive about things happening off of the Golf course. He mentions throughout the book that he has a traditional Scottish breakfast. I had no idea what that was before reading this, and now after reading it I still don’t know what it is since he never explains it. He often talks about the pubs and clubhouses he finds and wanders through the Scottish towns. But these areas are light on description. He also lets us know that the food there is actually very good, and not at all like the reputation they have. I’ll take his word for this, but his story doesn’t really relate this to us at all.
And the final gripe I have is at the end of this book he has a list of final thoughts and some definitions of words. The definitions would have been more useful at the start of the book. For instance the word Gorse appears 24 times in the book, as a non-golfer I had thought that this was some type of hazard I had simply not heard of. Apparently it’s some kind of flowering plant that grows all over in Scotland. It is a hazard, but that little bit of information would have been much more useful to me earlier.
And lastly Jeff includes photos from his trip in the book. These are a nice touch and were mostly of the golf courses, though some are of other areas in Scotland he vistis. The pictures are always presented at the end of his chapters, typically after talking about his games. I think they would have been better used during the descriptions of the game to give better impact to his descriptions.
I’ll also note that in the version I was provided for review the photos were very small, and I could not enlarge them. This might be a limitation of the Kindle app on my phone so I’m not holding it against him. For me however it made the impact of the photos generally useless which is too bad, I really would have liked to of seen those pictures.
Gripes aside, the book is written well and I enjoyed reading about Jeff’s adventures. I suspect a Golf player/enthusiast would have enjoyed the book more than I did however, and would probably have seen past these issues more than I did.
My final score? 3/5. I suspect anyone who is really into golf would rate it higher.