Books by the Author
When acclaimed golf writer Jim Dodson leaves his home in Maine to revisit Pinehurst, North Carolina, where his father first introduced him to the game that would shape his life and career, it's because he feels he has lost direction. But once there, the curative power of the sandhills region not only helps him gain a new lease on life and find a new career working for the local paper but also reignites his flagging passion for the game of golf. And, perhaps more significantly, it inspires him to try to pass along to his teenage son the same sense of joy and contentment he has found through the game and to recall the many colorful and lifelong friends he has met on the links.
This wise memoir about finding new meaning through an old sport is filled with anecdotes about the many characters who are part of both the history of the game and of Pinehurst -- the Home of American Golf -- where many larger-than-life legends played some of their greatest rounds. Dodson's bestselling memoir Final Rounds began in Pinehurst twenty-five years ago, and now A Son of the Game completes the circle as it follows Dodson's journey of discovery back to the birthplace of his love for the game -- a love that he hopes to make a family legacy.
"Given that it's written by one of the sport's premier chroniclers and is set mostly in and around the bucolic grounds of Southern Pines, N.C.-a resort town based mostly on the pursuit of golfing-there is surprisingly little golf in this homey memoir, though that's probably for the best. Dodson (Ben Hogan; Final Rounds) recounts how he was gripped by a midlife crisis after a shakeup at his magazine and the deaths of several close friends and family members. These events, plus a desire to give his son the same memories of golf that his father imparted to him, sent the Maine journalist scampering back to his Southern childhood home. Although Dodson knows perfectly well that possibly uprooting his whole family is little more than indulging a "chance to live out a boyhood fantasy" of being a smalltown newspaper man, he makes the idea as appealing as possible. There is not much forward momentum in this excessively ambling and self-satisfied work, and it suffers from Dodson's tendency to record conversations with a level of detail that sometimes strains credibility. However, it's all painted in a glossy, buttery hue of such fine vintage nostalgia that it's all the reader can do by the end to not immediately light out for the central North Carolina hill country." (Apr.) - Publishers Weekly
"Draws on the deep, near archetypal feelings that dedicated golfers have for the game, its history, and their own connections to the fathers and mentors who first put clubs in their hands." - Booklist
"Dodson (Beautiful Madness: One Man's Journey Through Other People's Gardens, 2006, etc.) downsizes his working relationship to golf and upgrades the quality of his life when he returns to his North Carolina hometown. By 2005, golf was giving the author a bad case of professional yips. Dodson felt (and convincingly expresses here) that the PGA Tour, which he covered for a glossy magazine, had been drained of color and personality and was moving perilously far from its fan base. "Slow death by corporate prosperity" was fulfilling the worry expressed in 1960 by the founder of the Augusta National Golf Club, that "you'd eventually get one big business rather than a game." On a visit to Pinehurst, where his father had introduced him to golf, he was captivated by the town's easy rhythm, its scented air and the prospect of writing for a local paper about things that he loved and cared about-not to mention all that links time on Pinehurst's deservedly famous courses. The town's laid-back atmosphere is perfectly captured in Dodson's prose, whether describing a game of golf with his growing circle of friends, tendering nuggets of wisdom to his son ("golf and life are both games subject to change without notice") or even pondering death. Dodson's lack of pretense and his wealth of conviviality give readers a sense of investment in the man and his modest work, which is long on sentiment but not extravagantly so. A humane, insightful memoir of elemental composure and meaning regained." - Kirkus Reviews