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So Help Me Golf: Why We Love the Game


So Help Me Golf: Why We Love the Game

Next month is Father’s Day. If your dad is a golfer at any skill level, then I suggest you buy him a copy of SO HELP ME GOLF. But do not wait until the last minute to purchase the book; you will need to leave yourself enough time to read it before you wrap it. Even though it will not improve my golf game in any fashion, I have never enjoyed a book about golf as much as I did this one.

Rick Reilly is no newcomer to the world of golf. He was the lead columnist for Sports Illustrated, the Bible of the sports world, and appeared on and wrote for ESPN. In addition to being voted the National Sportswriter of the Year 11 times, he was the recipient of the Damon Runyon Award for Outstanding Contributions to Journalism. His numerous books include the bestsellers THE LIFE OF REILLY, WHO’S YOUR CADDY? and COMMANDER IN CHEAT.

" of the best golf books I have ever read.... I know I will return again and again to this joyous ode to a game that I love, even though it makes me crazy."

SO HELP ME GOLF is an eclectic collection of articles, columns and thoughts wrapped around  Reilly’s autobiography, which includes stories from his childhood and the strained relationship he had with his father. The titles of his articles hint at some of the unique stories you are about to enjoy, but they do not do justice to accounts that will envelop you in laughter, tears and occasional head shakes. Here are some for you to ponder: “The Tour Pro Who Robbed Banks,” “How to Play Without Clubs,” “The Jailhouse Caddy,” “The Best Golf Food in the World,” “The Golfer with Three Hearts.” Each story is captivating in its own right and explores the elements that can make golf such an incredibly addictive game.

I will not go into great detail about the myriad of stories here so that readers can discover these gems for themselves. However, I will report that in the Phil Mickelson-Tiger Woods debate, Reilly sides with Phil. In a lengthy piece on the two golfers who dominated the game for several decades, he opens by saying, “I’m a Phil Mickelson guy, not a Tiger Woods guy, and here’s why: Phil lets us into his life. Tiger stations Dobermans at the door of his.” After an extensive discussion of their careers and a grudging acknowledgement of Tiger’s far greater accomplishments, he concludes by asking, “Whose life would you rather have?”

Other legends of the game are portrayed and chronicled in SO HELP ME GOLF. There is a poignant discussion of the life of Jack Nicklaus, now seemingly a great from a long-ago era. Readers meet announcer David Feherty, who Reilly says is the “most fun you can have without the use of psilocybin.” When golfing with basketball great Michael Jordan, he explains how an athlete driven to excel in one sport can be literally driven crazy by the game of golf. It warms the hearts of many of us who are still playing and struggling.

I could go on and on and on. But I need to stop. Quite honestly, I made my first journey through the pages of SO HELP ME GOLF at a fast pace. I was on deadline and needed to complete this review. Now I can go back, reread it and savor one of the best golf books I have ever read. After I finish, I will put it on the shelf, but I know I will return again and again to this joyous ode to a game that I love, even though it makes me crazy.

Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on May 13, 2022

So Help Me Golf: Why We Love the Game
by Rick Reilly

  • Publication Date: May 23, 2023
  • Genres: Nonfiction, Sports
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books
  • ISBN-10: 0306924927
  • ISBN-13: 9780306924927