Cyrgalis launches a deep and detailed discussion of how players have advanced from self-teaching to team-teaching to data gathering and technology in their search for golfing success. He also notes how modern players, while mastering ball-striking, sometimes reach their goals through both physical and emotional costs. The poster child for this is Tiger Woods. In addition, Cyrgalis devotes a portion of the book to talking about equipment and golf course design changes ... may be too exhaustive for some readers, but many golfers still searching for that one golf tip that will change their game will find it an enjoyable work of golf history. I know I did.
The book is a grab bag of mini-profiles, historical anecdotes, economic analysis, golf-swing arcana and philosophical pensées. It doesn’t so much pursue a central argument as lay out material, much of it fascinating, for readers to consider. Mr. Cyrgalis, a sportswriter for the New York Post, occasionally links the debate to the larger social challenges of balancing tradition and technology, but for the most part he sticks close to the game at hand ... Few readers will find every section...equally appealing. Mystics will probably skip the detailed explanation of how high-tech golf-swing analysis disproved a long-standing belief about ball flight; it turns out that 90% of initial direction is caused not by swing path but by the position of the clubface at impact. Tech geeks might skip everything about finding inner peace before addressing a putt. To his credit, Mr. Cyrgalis doesn’t pretend to prescribe One True Way for golfers to perfect their games, but he does end with an idyllic chapter suggesting that there are many more ways to savor the game than by shooting even par.