Mark Frost’s The Greatest Game Ever Played, winner of the USGA annual book award, tells the story of Francis Ouimet’s upset victory over Ted Ray and Harry Vardon at the Country Club in 1913.
What makes Greatest Game one of the most popular golf books of the last 25 years is the winning combination of a great underlying story combined with the mastery of a great storyteller. At 475 pages the book would seem daunting, however it reads quickly and lightly. Although a work of non-fiction, the book reads like a novel because Frost employees first person dialogue like an author would in a work of fiction, although the dialogue is for the most part all real.
Frost also does a very good job of putting the reader into the historical context of the early part of the twentieth century. Harry Vardon was probably the best known player of his era and Ouimet was a twenty-year-old amateur at the time who played with only ten clubs in his bag and with a ten-year-old caddie. The story also has a class element to it in that the Country Club was one of the most upper-crust places to play the game and Ouimet was from a working class family who frowned upon his playing the game.
The book would make an ideal gift for someone new to the game and for wily veterans as well.
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