The fans of the finest golf writer of the last half century, Dan Jenkins, will be pleased to know they can add a new publication, “Unplayable Lies (The Only Golf Book You’ll Ever Need)” to the Dano section of their golf library. This is a compilation of 41 essays on our sport-about half of them new writings and the rest adaptions of articles previously published in Golf Digest.
Typically such “collections” are scrap books of dated writings with a nostalgic value to the regular readers. But Jenkins is anything but typical. He adds a ream of new fodder for diehards to consume covering topical subjects like “Is Your Country Club Old or New Money”, “Titanic and I”, “Junior Golf”, and “Talking Heads” with his typical combination of wit and insight. It will have you chortling in your man cave reading chair.
In the forward his daughter Sally Jenkins, a talented and accomplished writer and author herself, captures his gift succinctly. “I reread the old work and look at the new, and what I see is a constant stripping away of pretense, and of the profligate excesses of feeling that surrounds golf….to find the truth underneath”.
A few nuggets:
Old Money vs New Money
Old Money will always have money. Three members of New Money are in the process of asking the Federal Reserve for a free drop from an unplayable lie.
Ian Baker-Finch was a surprise winner of the 1991 British Open at Royal Birkdale, then disappeared. When he attempted a comeback at Troon in ’97 he appeared to be a bit wild off the tee. His round consisted of 92 strokes, 4 dead, 55 injured, and 67 missing.
The New World Tour (includes)
The Socialist Paradise Invitational in Buenos Aires. The field must be limited to fifty pros who have never won a tournament of any kind and hate the capitalist societies into which they were born. All fifty will be declared winners and given equal prize money and identical trophies.
The Immigration (a team event). A team would consist of a name pro, an illegal alien, a border guard, and a member of the U.S. Senate. First prize for the winning team would be Yuma, Arizona. Second prize, Nogales.
His description of the PGA Merchandise show is priceless. It includes Putter Man’s booth. The proprietor, who could have passed as a Texas Ranger, has retrofitted classic putters into fire arms. “When the flash mobs come over the fence and onto the fairway to get your goods, you can take out the first wave by yourself”. The Bullseye is “loaded with nine-millimeter Gold Sabre 147 grain jacket hollow points. You can get thirteen hundred feet a second at the muzzle”.
Jenkin’s parody of the network vanilla Talking Heads describing the golf action will bring tears, of laughter, to your eyes. It is Jim Nance and his politically correct Pollyannaisms leaping off the page at you.
Let us not forget that Dan Jenkins has covered more majors than the average fan’s age in dog years so this collection is lush with wonderful anecdotes and enlightening personal statistical compilations of the accomplishments of guys from Bobby Jones to Ben Hogan to Tommy Bolt To Jack and Tiger and about 50 others in between.
To the delight of his readers, Dan Jenkins, at the tender age of 85, was still pumping out the finest combination of golf satire and fact, often in the same sentence. This one is a must read for cynical golf addicts everywhere.
Dan Jenkins (2015)