Around the world in 80 rounds

Around the world in 80 rounds by David Wood. Go ahead. I dare you to follow in David Wood’s footsteps. Sell your condo and your car. Put everything else in storage except a travel bag, a laptop and your trusty (well, sometimes trusty) set of golf clubs. Then head out on a round-the-world adventure to play the most remote golf courses on the planet. Not quite ready to take on that much risk, or maybe the spouse and kids, not to mention the boss, would like your presence nearby during the next twelve months, then take a couple days to read about this fantastic journey of Wood’s instead.

Wood was uniquely qualified for this trip as a Seattle-based professional writer and bachelor with vast travel experience and a seven handicap. He spent two months researching courses, itineraries, U.S. State Department travel warnings and getting a slew of inoculations before boarding a plane for South America. Sixty thousand miles and twenty-two countries later, he returned with a collection of humorous and inspiring stories from Argentina to Norway, Australia to Zimbabwe.

Each chapter is a part travel log adventure with tales of luxurious train rides, cramped buses, and bouts of altitude sickness; part sociological essay on the fascinating people he meets from caddies and golfers of all ages and skill levels to fellow travelers and bureaucrats who helped or hindered his journey; and part golf exaltation with descriptions of specific rounds and holes and the wonderful views that presented themselves from the tee boxes and greens. On occasion, Wood repeats the same phrases a wee bit too often and seems preoccupied describing the physical beauty of the female population of some countries rather than the natural landmarks, but he doesn’t revel in self-promotion at any point and in general, there’s a realism to each adventure that puts readers in the story.

Wood heaps continuous praise on the members of the world-wide golfing brotherhood, though not necessarily on all the courses. Almost everyone, when learning of his quest, has a suggestion for another course to play or a person to meet and would frequently call ahead to ease his entry. As a result, Wood, though repeatedly proclaiming his love of public golf, seems to spend most of his time on the finest courses each country could provide, many of which had armed guards at the gates.

The book does include a global map showing most of the stops along the way, but an appendix with a more detailed itinerary including dates and information on each course would have been helpful.

If the book inspires you to attempt your own golf travel expedition, you might try watching either the syndicated Good Time Golf or The Wandering Golfer on the Fine Living network for suggestions. And remember, at the Elephant Hills Golf Club divots caused by a warthog’s tusks allow for a free drop, but if it’s just a hoofprint, then you have to play it as it lies.


1 Response to “Around the world in 80 rounds”

  1. 1 The Downhill Lie « The unset alarm clock Trackback on July 1, 2008 at 10:14 am

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