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Many years ago, when James Dodson was thirteen years old, he wrote himself a list titled "Things to Do in Golf." It included the golfing aspirations of a young boy who had no idea where life would take him. A few years ago, now in his sixties and one of the most respected golf writers of all time, Dodson rediscovered the piece of paper in an old trunk. Realizing that he had yet to achieve many of his thirteen-year-old dreams, and pondering the things he'd add to the list if he wrote it today, he expanded the list into a golfing "bucket list" of the people and places he had yet to meet and see in the golf world.

In this tribute to the game he loves, Dodson takes readers on a journey around the world and into the lives of characters large and small. From an interesting lunch with with Donald Trump to rounds with John Updike and intimate conversations with Arnold Palmer, from scoring a memborable 13 on a hole at St. Andrews, to revealing the real reason The Masters has always been broadcast on CBS, The Range Bucket List is simultaneously an exhilarating armchair adventure and one man's love letter to a game that has fundamentally shaped him and his life, filled with unforgettable characters, untold history, and lots of heart.


The Golf Adventure of a Lifetime is exactly what the title suggests. At the age of 13, Dodson prepared a list of “Things to Do in Golf,” which included 11 items. Now in his 60s, Dodson came across this aspirational document and decided to finish what he had set out to achieve and add a few other goals. Of course, as an accomplished writer, Dodson has the luxury of turning this bucket list into a book. For those of us unable to achieve a lot of what appears on the list, the vicarious joy of reading about it is exhilarating.

One of the items added to the original 11 is to play a round of golf with John Updike. The great American writer was a golfer who often wrote about the game. Dodson met Updike at church, and they made numerous attempts to have a game. After many failed tee times, they finally went out on a cold April morning; while the golf was difficult, the conversation was a hole-in-one. Updike advised Dodson to find a golf group for a regular game: “It is cheaper and far more fun than group therapy in the church basement.” As the sun finally came out at the end of their weather-challenged round, Updike remarked, “I think you always learn something from a bad round, to keep going, if nothing else.”

Chapter after chapter is a joy for golfers. Dodson had a meeting with Donald Trump, which I will not recount here, except to observe that he met with Arnold Palmer afterwards. As a 13-year-old, Dodson’s first item on his original list was to meet Palmer. He did, and years later would co-author Palmer’s memoirs. Dodson shared with Palmer Trump’s observation that golf is a game for the “one percent.” Palmer’s response was firm: “The game of golf doesn’t know or care how much money you have or who you know or do business with. It’s a game that belongs to everyone.”

THE RANGE BUCKET LIST is a wonderful book by one of golf’s great writers. If you are looking for a book for a friend or family member who loves golf and enjoys reading about the game, this is the title you should select. -- Stuart Shiffman

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