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The Education of a Golfer

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If you thought an autobiography was about going through uninteresting circumstances in someone’s boring life or if you thought you could not learn a thing about golf by reading a book, it’s time you read this. From the pen of the late Sam Snead, this is the incredible true story of how a poor kid who, while eking out a living in the backwoods of the state of Virginia grew t If you thought an autobiography was about going through uninteresting circumstances in someone’s boring life or if you thought you could not learn a thing about golf by reading a book, it’s time you read this. From the pen of the late Sam Snead, this is the incredible true story of how a poor kid who, while eking out a living in the backwoods of the state of Virginia grew to become one of Americas most talented and respected professional golf champions in the 20th century. For those who love to get something practical out of a book, each chapter ends with short comments on the various aspects of golf, getting right down to simple illustrations and valuable pointers that could only come from a golf master. Sam writes about how his elder brother’s golfing drew him into the game. Swinging big shots came from sheer practice, and at the age of seven, Sam had a hole in one window at the local church. With a knack for hunting, the outdoor kid tried to earn dimes and nickels, hard money in the Depression of the 1930s. Caddying for local golfers almost gets Sam killed, but the kid hung on to golf. After being noticed by Fred Martin, who stuck with him throughout his golf lifespan, Sam is handed a pro job at a local hotel, and with the fire that burnt in his blood, all he needed was a break. “Slammin’ Sam” goes on to become a pro and a sensation in the year 1934. He ‘wow’s the crowd and pros alike with his artillery shots and his ‘perfect-swing’. Sam went on to win 3 PGA championships, 3 Masters and a British Open, apart from a myriad of other titles. Sam’s account of his golfing career comes with many hilarious and not-so hilarious incidents. In the times when golfing and making big money were not synonymous, he writes about a pro who ate oranges for 4 days to survive a tournament and about times when rearing exotic monkeys seemed the only way to make more money. The star writes in a modest manner about how he, “kept close count of his nickels and dimes, stayed away from whiskey and never conceded a putt”, unlike many pros of his day. He got famous for his straw hat, for playing barefoot at tournaments and for not indulging in hard drinks. He writes about the kind of betting that could hook itself to a pro and ruin his game. He talks about travelling which leaves him none the better, about telling the President a thing or two about golf and other similar and remarkable stories. Sam is also honest about his failures. He discussed how other players like Picard helped him with his game and about how he had to teach himself to hold both his tongue and his temper. For those looking at golf as a beginner, the book could be a hilarious and simple guide to the sport. Sam’s technique at golf is simple to grasp owing to the self-learning that he put himself through. He lays down chunks of it throughout the book, dealing with all major issues like putting, chipping and sand traps that even an experienced golfer would love to read. Sam Snead is gracious enough to pack a book with wisdom about his time on the green, when it could easily have been another boring and insignificant autobiography. That itself just goes on to show that the passionate golf-crazy kid in him isn’t finished yet.


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If you thought an autobiography was about going through uninteresting circumstances in someone’s boring life or if you thought you could not learn a thing about golf by reading a book, it’s time you read this. From the pen of the late Sam Snead, this is the incredible true story of how a poor kid who, while eking out a living in the backwoods of the state of Virginia grew t If you thought an autobiography was about going through uninteresting circumstances in someone’s boring life or if you thought you could not learn a thing about golf by reading a book, it’s time you read this. From the pen of the late Sam Snead, this is the incredible true story of how a poor kid who, while eking out a living in the backwoods of the state of Virginia grew to become one of Americas most talented and respected professional golf champions in the 20th century. For those who love to get something practical out of a book, each chapter ends with short comments on the various aspects of golf, getting right down to simple illustrations and valuable pointers that could only come from a golf master. Sam writes about how his elder brother’s golfing drew him into the game. Swinging big shots came from sheer practice, and at the age of seven, Sam had a hole in one window at the local church. With a knack for hunting, the outdoor kid tried to earn dimes and nickels, hard money in the Depression of the 1930s. Caddying for local golfers almost gets Sam killed, but the kid hung on to golf. After being noticed by Fred Martin, who stuck with him throughout his golf lifespan, Sam is handed a pro job at a local hotel, and with the fire that burnt in his blood, all he needed was a break. “Slammin’ Sam” goes on to become a pro and a sensation in the year 1934. He ‘wow’s the crowd and pros alike with his artillery shots and his ‘perfect-swing’. Sam went on to win 3 PGA championships, 3 Masters and a British Open, apart from a myriad of other titles. Sam’s account of his golfing career comes with many hilarious and not-so hilarious incidents. In the times when golfing and making big money were not synonymous, he writes about a pro who ate oranges for 4 days to survive a tournament and about times when rearing exotic monkeys seemed the only way to make more money. The star writes in a modest manner about how he, “kept close count of his nickels and dimes, stayed away from whiskey and never conceded a putt”, unlike many pros of his day. He got famous for his straw hat, for playing barefoot at tournaments and for not indulging in hard drinks. He writes about the kind of betting that could hook itself to a pro and ruin his game. He talks about travelling which leaves him none the better, about telling the President a thing or two about golf and other similar and remarkable stories. Sam is also honest about his failures. He discussed how other players like Picard helped him with his game and about how he had to teach himself to hold both his tongue and his temper. For those looking at golf as a beginner, the book could be a hilarious and simple guide to the sport. Sam’s technique at golf is simple to grasp owing to the self-learning that he put himself through. He lays down chunks of it throughout the book, dealing with all major issues like putting, chipping and sand traps that even an experienced golfer would love to read. Sam Snead is gracious enough to pack a book with wisdom about his time on the green, when it could easily have been another boring and insignificant autobiography. That itself just goes on to show that the passionate golf-crazy kid in him isn’t finished yet.

30 review for The Education of a Golfer

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gadruggist

    Surprisingly entertaining Sam Snead describes himself as a hayseed hillbilly who made it on the PGA tour, and he convinced me beyond a doubt that was both a success in life, and that as a young man, he was a proverbial southern hillbilly from mountains of western Virginia. In this first person account, he tells his story. I bought the book because I enjoy reading about golf, love autobiographies, didn't know much about his life, and this book was cheap on Amazon. I was very entertained, throughou Surprisingly entertaining Sam Snead describes himself as a hayseed hillbilly who made it on the PGA tour, and he convinced me beyond a doubt that was both a success in life, and that as a young man, he was a proverbial southern hillbilly from mountains of western Virginia. In this first person account, he tells his story. I bought the book because I enjoy reading about golf, love autobiographies, didn't know much about his life, and this book was cheap on Amazon. I was very entertained, throughout the book. I learned a lot about his contemporaries of which the book is loaded with anecdotes. I have to say that because of other books that I have read that mentions Sam anecdotally, I didn't expect such an honest entertaining read. I really have a new appreciation of this amazing character

  2. 5 out of 5

    Monte Lamb

    This one of my all time favorite books. Sam Snead was one of the greatest golfers of any age and he lived a life full of adventure off the course as well. Each chapter has instructional information at the end which is helpful, but the real stories lie in the chapters. From the backwoods of Appalachia to his greatest victories in golf, you will laugh and enjoy this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I read this the first time, long ago . Like in the 1970s when I was learning to golf. I bought it at a flea market. I came across it again as an e-book and decided to re-read it. Still very interesting and informative.

  4. 5 out of 5

    HBalikov

    I am not a golfer and have no interest in becoming one. I've watched golf on TV from time to time, but haven't felt the need ever to go watch someone play golf from the gallery. Yet, I had heard about the "legendary" Sam Snead. I am glad that this book was a mix of biography, humor and golf insights. It kept my interest, whether Snead was talking about growing up in Western Virgina; making his way as a pro, when finishing in third place often meant much less than $1000 in prize money, or giving i I am not a golfer and have no interest in becoming one. I've watched golf on TV from time to time, but haven't felt the need ever to go watch someone play golf from the gallery. Yet, I had heard about the "legendary" Sam Snead. I am glad that this book was a mix of biography, humor and golf insights. It kept my interest, whether Snead was talking about growing up in Western Virgina; making his way as a pro, when finishing in third place often meant much less than $1000 in prize money, or giving insights into the mental portion of the game. Before Tiger Woods, before Jack Nicklaus, before Arnold Palmer, there was Snead. I learned that even today, Snead holds many records: The most PGA tour victories; Having won a single event the most times; The oldest player to win a PGA tour event; and, The first player to shoot his age. We learn why he always felt better if he could play golf in bare feet. How he helps other golfers cure their swings and a lot about his family, and growing up including: his Aunt Maggie who gave birth to 20 children; his great uncle John who stood six foot seven; and a great grandmother who was still shucking corn in the field at 90. With an easy style and a good sense of how to mix events, instruction and anecdotes, this should be as enjoyable for the real golfer as it was for me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Callan

    Good read, loved the stuff about early life in pro golf Loved the stuff about the early days of pro golf and his struggles + how he over came them. This book is worth a read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Kral

    An interesting biography of a great golfer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  8. 4 out of 5

    August Luedecke

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brian Freel

  10. 4 out of 5

    George Eugene

  11. 5 out of 5

    carmela weisz

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carol Morin

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dave Allen

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kendall Hanson

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Cameron

  16. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin D.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dave Rauch

  18. 4 out of 5

    Eugenio Gomez-acebo

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  20. 4 out of 5

    JoAnn Papanek

  21. 4 out of 5

    gary curley

  22. 5 out of 5

    A Elder

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth D. Wright

  24. 5 out of 5

    Evan Womble

  25. 5 out of 5

    John Boals

  26. 4 out of 5

    James J Kubala

  27. 5 out of 5

    Keith

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jim Donovan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Ashworth

  30. 5 out of 5

    George Alexander

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