Book Review: Weird Golf: 18 Tales of Fantastic, Horrific, Scientifically Impossible, and Morally Reprehensible Golf by Dave Donelson
Disclosure: I received this book through a Firstreads giveaway in the expectation that I would review it.
To make where I’m coming from clearer, I’m not a sports fan, and in specific not a golf fan. I’ve played just enough golf to know the game doesn’t appeal to me as a player, and I don’t believe I have ever watched an entire match on TV. However, I’m a big fan of “strange sports stories” which blend a real-life sport with fantastic elements.
As you might gather, this is a single-author anthology which is exclusively about golf. Thus, the changes are rung by introducing different unusual elements, not all impossible. It’s double-spaced for easy reading.
The best single story is “Grand Slam”, where a veteran golf writer (much like the author) realizes there’s something more unusual than most about an up and coming golfer. The ending’s very predictable, but the research is good.
Mr. Donelson appears to have been his own editor/proofreader, as there are a couple of “relies on spellchecker” errors.
And then there is the story “Superhero Grudge Match”, in which Superman and Batman compete to join a pro-am golf tournament. I was very surprised to not see a fanfic disclaimer, or an indication that Mr. Donelson got permission to use the characters for his book.
It really felt like the writer hadn’t done the research on the comic book characters nearly as well as he’d researched Pebble Beach. The story references some current events that might have made the business pages, but the Batman and Robin combo used were clearly the ones from the 1960s TV series. The characterizations are closest to the Silver Age “World’s Finest” comic books, in which Superman, Batman or both suddenly start acting dickishly for reasons given at the end of the story. Except that this time they’re dickish for the sole purpose of winning a golf game.
Notably, though both heroes end up cheating during the match, neither of them uses the skills/powers that would allow them to be freakishly good at golf. As a comic book fanfic reader, I have to say it’s not very good.
I would only recommend this book to people looking for a gift their golf-mad relative probably doesn’t have already. It’s a light read, suitable for rainy days and waiting for tee times.