The Old Course at St. Andrews is to golfers what St. Peter's is to Catholics or the Western Wall is to Jews: hallowed ground, the course every golfer longs to play - and master. In 1983 George Peper was playing the Old Course when he hit a slice so hideous that he never found the ball. But in looking for it, he came across a For Sale sign on a stone town house alongside the famed eighteenth hole. Two months later he and his wife, Libby, became the proud owners of 9A Gibson Place.
In 2003 Peper retired after twenty-five years as the editor in chief of Golf magazine. With the younger of their two sons off to college, the Pepers decided to sell their house in the United States and relocate temporarily to the town house in St. Andrews. And so they left for the land of golf - and single malt scotch, haggis, bagpipes, television licenses, and accents thicker than a North Sea fog. While Libby struggled with renovating an apartment that for years had been rented to students at the local university, George began his quest to break par on the Old Course.
Their new neighbors were friendly, helpful, charmingly eccentric, and always serious about golf. In no time George was welcomed into the local golf crowd, joining the likes of Gordon Murray, the man who knows everyone; Sir Michael Bonallack, Britain's premier amateur golfer of the last century; and Wee Raymond Gatherum, a magnificent shotmaker whose diminutive stature belies his skills.For anyone who has ever dreamed of playing the Old Course - and what golfer hasn't? - this book is the next best thing. And for those who have had that privilege, Two Years in St. Andrews will revive old memories and confirm Bobby Jones's tribute, "If I were to set down to play on one golf course for the remainder of my life, I should choose the Old Course at St. Andrews."
©2006 Kevin Pappas (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
An interesting account of adaptation to a new life. Not sure that a non-golfer would enjoy the read so much as a great deal of golf centric language is in evidence.
If it wasn't for the narrator's frankly awful attempts at Scottish and English accents, I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more!
I had read this book when it was published so I had certain expectations of it as an audio book.
The story itself is an account of George Paper's sojourn in the Auld Grey Toun, some of which affords insights into how an American views the Scots and the manner in which we play golf, but which in other areas evidences the Colonial's odd attraction to the eccentricities of the English middle to upper class which most Scots find ridiculous.
I doubt if Alistair Johnston, a senior executive at IMG would have appreciated being described in the book as a Celtic fan given that he was Chairman of the now defunct Glasgow Rangers in the the years leading up to their sale and eventual liquidation.
This has to be the worst attempt at mimicking the Scots accent since Brigadoon - cringeworthy throughout. What was even more irritating was the lack of research and preparedness put into the performance. e.g. Michael and Angela Bonallack while no doubt fine people and great ambassadors of the Scottish game are both English and speak with middle English accents although the narrator has them sounding like something from a fictitious Scottish Glen. Other characters sound like Scotty from Star Trek and indeed slip into a Holywood style Irish brogue from time to time. The correct pronunciation of Scottish place names simply requires a bit of preparation and thought.
The story all in all, the stories you never find in history books, the way it opened the world of golf and took it back to the basics.
It is a homage to people who love the game, no matter of wealth or station in life. It really makes you believe that golf brings out the best in people - at least in most of the people.
It felt like the author himself was talking.Fleet Cooper was not reading or acting, he was telling me his own story.
Golf the way it should be.
I found the book only a few days before my first visit to St Andrews and was listening it night and day, going back when I realised I had fallen asleep and carrying on again. Starting over again and again . It gave me such an insight into golf in Scotland and the links that when I played my rounds there, I fell in love with every club we visited. I knew Scotland very well aforehand but had never been to St Andrews, nor played links courses.This book is a must to everybody who wants to know where the game started. I had read many articles on St Andrews, but this was something else. When we walked on the Old Course on a sunday I lived myself some of the stories in the book, I was walking in a place I knew.
"New title: I'm George Peper, and I'm Sooooo Important"
The first third of this book was good, because it was all about St Andrews and the life they were experience. Then it turns into George Peper telling us just how important he is, how all the clubs want him, all the people he knows, how he stayed in Jack Nicklaus' home. Real letdown.
"Name dropping at its finest"
If you are into a listen just dripping with utter pomposity, then by all means...just constant name dropping mixed with sanctimony over the top.
Don't waste your money.
"Great Story with a hint of Self Satisfaction"
I enjoyed so much about this book. First and foremost the narration. It brought life to all the people you encountered. It made me want to have that life.
The only downside to me of this book is the fact that the author (an Ivy League elitist) so smugly had to interject his political views into the book when they were so clearly out of place and not needed to advance the story in any way.
I guess he just had to let everyone know that he and his wife so disapproved of President Bush in the wake of 9/11. While many people I am sure will find that to be an added bonus I found it a turn off. I wanted to listen to this book for many reasons. But political commentary was not one of them.
Perhaps it was his way of alleviating his guilt over being the ultimate privileged white male.
That said it is a fine book that does allow one to dream of escaping to simple life. Even if that simple life requires a lot of money.
"Great golf book"
There are so few good golf books. It's almost like authors think golfers will buy anything about golf. Most just insult our intelligence. This one is great. George Peper actually lived at St. Andrews and gives us an incredible inside look into the Holy Grail! Thanks George! I loved your book.
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