Review: The Downhill Lie

The Downhill Lie is Carl Hiaasen’s memoir about returning to golfing after 20 years off.  Now, I’m not much of a golfer, but I do think Hiaasen‘s a very entertaining writer, and when I heard him talking about the book on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, it sounded like a hoot.

Hiaasen’s got the golf bug bad.  If I were going to try to pick up a sport I had not played in two decades, I would ease into it pretty slowly.  Hiaasen tries that, but it’s really not his nature; 20 pages or so in and he’s reading all the golf magazines and buying new clubs and half-baked mojo enhancers.  And hiding them from his wife.

And, as many amateurs have found, none of it is particularly effective.  Golf is hard, and he’s hysterically critical of his game even as he savors the occasional ray of false hope that lures him back to the course.

For a writer who’s normally as inviting as Hiaasen, this is actually somewhat dense with golf jargon.  It’s never enough that a non-golfer will lose the thread of his story, but it is certainly enough to make you raise some eyebrows.

Probably the best thing I can say about the book is that it made me consider taking up golf.  If you’ve already done that, I expect you’ll enjoy it even more.

Strongly recommended.

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