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Breaking 80 By David Godwin

Release date: 01st August, 2012
Publisher: Yellow Jersey

List Price: £10.99
Our Price: £8.35
You Save: £2.64 (24%)
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Stepping onto the first tee of a golf club can, as any Saturday morning hacker will confirm, be a daunting experience, particularly if you're playing in a competition.

The tension is further heightened if: a) it's your first visit to the course, and b) all background din and chatter evaporates as you prepare to execute your shot. Everyone is watching. At this juncture, your only instinct is to whack the ball straight and long and, as you endeavour to do this, you pledge your allegiance to the Almighty in return for His help in making your ball dissect the fairway.

It's that type of game.

David Godwin's tilt at golfing respectability, ie completing a round of golf in a gross score of less than 80, is a quest which began more than five years ago. Godwin isn't exactly driven, but he's certainly committed and, as you might expect of a professional literary agent and former publisher, writes well.

Diagnosed with type two diabetes, Godwin concluded that he was too long in the tooth to play tennis or cycle. His epiphany arrived after he walked past a golf course; a week later, he had acquired new clubs, shoes, trolley and a clutch of golf lessons.

Cracking the magical 80 mark is no mean feat, but our author applies himself enthusiastically to the task at hand, gradually building reader empathy. We want this guy to succeed.

He enters competitions, watches the Golf Channel surreptitiously, plays plenty of golf and so his game steadily improves.

Along the way, he joins a golf club, although when his mobile phone rings as he plays a round with a club official, Godwin believes it's curtains. Thankfully, it isn't. He's accepted.

Mindful of his quest, the author's wife books him in for three days at a St Andrews golf school as his pursuit reaches fever pitch. Here, when his tutor asks if he has any weaknesses, Godwin comes clean and sets out what they are: "I could not decide which driver to use, my chipping was erratic, I was terrified of bunkers and my putting had to improve." Just like any other amateur, then.

Does he succeed? Ah, that would be telling, but Breaking 80 is worth reading to find out.

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