More than six hundred lavish photographs complement anecdotal "biographies" and vital statistics of the holes deemed the best in the world by the magazine's editors and their panel of international experts. Readers will find out if their favorite holes made the cut by first turning to The Eighteen, representing the most respected and challenging holes--holes like the thirteenth at Augusta National. Next, they discover which are considered the top one hundred (no surprise that the eleventh at St. Andrews Old Course and the fifth at Pinehurst are included here). Finally, there is an all-inclusive gazetteer of all five hundred. A special section offers the Best of the Best--lists of holes by category, such as the most scenic, longest, best in Europe, hardest-to-putt greens, and so on.
This is the golf book for the passionate golfer and the armchair duffer alike.
This is an altogether magnificent volume, big in size, big in contents, visually rich, and thoroughly engaging. Peper's opening essay explains how he and his editors identified the ultimate one-tenth of 1 percent of the 500,000 or so holes on the planet, and explores the question of what exactly makes a great golf hole. Challenge and difficulty, certainly, but also beauty, fairness, reputation, history, and the way it begins to eat into a golfer's mind as he or she takes it in from the tee box. It's all in the mix. Then the fun really starts, with a comprehensive look at the best 18--the 15th at Cypress Point (but not the more terrifying 16th), the 18th at Pebble, the 16th at Merion, the 17th at St. Andrews, the 6th at Royal Melbourne, and the 13th at Augusta among them--complete with lush photography and an artist's depiction of each. The next 100 are then rolled out in somewhat less depth, with the remainder of the 500 receiving a thumbnail sketch and photo, along with either appreciation or curses from golfers everywhere.
And then a different kind of fun starts. The last section of the volume is devoted to lists: the most scenic holes, the most difficult, the most strategic, most penal, best ocean, best mountain, best American, best European, best links, best Ross, best Tillinghast, the holes that have produced historic moments. If, as a golfer, you can't dispute or defend the choices that make up these lists, it might be about time to hang up the clubs. --Jeff Silverman