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From Turnberry to Tasmania: Adventures of a…

From Turnberry to Tasmania: Adventures of a Traveling Golfer

by John Steinbreder

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
From Turnberry to Tasmania is an nice read that would entertain anyone who is interested in great places to play golf around the golf, and how is it like to travel to play golf round the globe. John Steinbreder shares his anecdotes and details in such a way that he reflects his background as a journal and magazine writer. There is always a new detail to learn from each place that the author visits in his traveling.

The only thing that I feel would be a great addition to the book are pictures of the golf courses and places. Even though Steinbreder describes them in a rich manner, pictures would greatly complement this book.

I obtained a copy of this book through the Early Reviewers program from LibraryThing, and I would like to thank Taylor Trade Publishing for providing the book. The cover and design of the book is gorgeous, and after finishing reading, it would look great on any good shelf.
  DoctorFate | Oct 21, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Adventures of a Traveling Golfer

The subtitle of this enjoyable book truly says it all. Accomplished and award-winning sportswriter John Steinbreder has written not merely a golf book, nor merely a travel book, but has achieved an entertaining compilation and travelogue of golf adventures that will delight both golfers and travelers.

Steinbreder puts the reader smack into the middle of each of his golf journeys: from the history and culture of the geographic location of each course, to the lunches, to the post-round dinners, delectably described in detail, to the accompanying tours of the countryside or city. His use of sensory and concrete details encourage the reader to feel as if he or she is along for the ride. Historical, sociological, and economic backgrounds come to life through Steinbreder's humorous and insightful interactions with his playing partners and those he meets along the way.

For golfers who'd like to know where they should play their next round, Steinbreder has done all the research – course architects, tips to make the birdies, course ambiance, restaurants and menus, activities to pursue when not on the course, and even shopping suggestions for gifts. One would wish that the organization of the chapters was a bit more logical; as it is, the reader flips from the venerable Old Course in Scotland to Ireland, to England, back to Scotland, to Portugal, then to Prestwick, and so forth. The reader can forgive this, however, in light of the excellent writing and broadened horizons Steinbreder provides.

At the end of the book, he gives the reader an invaluable "Lists" chapter, among which are "Top Five Old World Courses," "Top Five New World Courses," "Top Five 19th Holes,", and "Top Five Post-Round Fun." All in all, the reader can't wait to finish the book, call the airlines, and begin booking some tee times all over the world, a tribute to Steinbreder's engaging writing style and thorough research. Both travelers and golfers will enjoy this book – tee it up! ( )
  MargoMargo | Oct 3, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An interesting account of a journey any golf lover would love to take. Steinbreder combined both anecdotes (past and present) with a detailed look at what golfing around the world looks like.
As someone who is not that into golf it was interesting but got a little dull. A must read for anyone who watches the golf channel 24/7 ( )
  AbbyKadabby90 | Sep 9, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If I could play each, and every, golf course mentioned in John Steinbreder's book I would obviously be richer and healthier than I am, but I would die far happier also. The book is, naturally, about many wonderful golf courses throughout the globe but it also contains history, geography, biology, and other odd, pertinent data that just might inform or entice a reader into many other interests. If you play golf, you must absolutely read this book. If travel is your interest, go to all these places and you'll be rewarded, even if you dislike this game or all games played with a ball. Mr. Steinbreder has laid out an itinerary that all who enjoy golf may wish to explore! ( )
  tommyarmour | Sep 3, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
FROM TURNBERRY TO TASMANIA: ADVENTURES OF A TRAVELING GOLFER by John Steinbreder . . . I'm not a golfer, so why did I want this book? Two reasons: 1) I love reading and learning new things and 2) My husband is a golfer and I wanted a clue as to why he finds the game so damn fascinating.

What did I discover? I discovered that if I could travel to all the places that Steinbreder has, I might find the game addictive as well.

The book has a conversational tone for the most part, which I liked, but he could fall a little too in love with his own words at times. An editor perhaps could have clued him in when he got stuck on a word or phrase. (If he'd enjoyed a "wee dram" one more time, I may have flung a drink at him.)

It is divided nicely into three sections: Old World (e.g., Scotland), New World (e.g., North America), and Outposts (e.g., Australia). One map begins each section, but they are in black and white and hard to read clearly, and the poor quality of some (particularly the map heading up the Outposts section) is disturbing. There is no reason why those maps shouldn't have been replaced by better ones. And it's not until the Outposts section that a few extra maps are added; I'm not sure why there weren't more sprinkled throughout (though if all had been of such low graphic design, I suppose I'm thankful for that).

For all the traveling Steinbreder does, three sections were not enough, however. An index would have been helpful. Yes, the places are named in the TOC, but because he references tourist attractions, accommodations, and restaurants, having those listed in the back would have been great. Then the book could have been used as more of a travel guide. He gives some top-five lists, which I really like (golf courses, golf lunches, etc.), but I still think an index would have been beneficial.

And PHOTOS. He describes the most amazing, scenic places. I know photos, and especially color photos, add to the cost of a book, but anyone who can afford to travel to the destinations he mentions has the money to fork over a few more dollars.

Money brings us to the formula used throughout: Have lots of money and free time. Go to beautiful place. Golf. Drink. Eat. Repeat. No real adventures, but he is good at making us jealous.

Am I coming down too hard on Steinbreder because I'm a non-golfer? Perhaps. I have to give him credit for a few things.

First, the history he provides is interesting. I now know the meaning behind "links" and that John Mulcahy bought and improved the Waterville course in Ireland (Mulcahy is my maiden name; my father's side came over from Ireland and I have an uncle John Mulcahy) and that shepherds in Scotland began the game by using their staffs to knock stones into rabbit holes. This is all in the Old World section. I learned more as the book progressed.

Second, references to how the game is played depending on the culture and geography are also entertaining. Members playing with their dogs at Sunningdale in London, the greens staff wandering in around 10:00 a.m. at a course in Italy, checking on bear sightings before playing in Canada, howler monkeys throwing mangos from trees on a course in Costa Rica . . . Fun facts!

Third, the literary connections are a nice touch. How are Yeats, Shaw, Joyce, Stoker, Cooper, and Conroy (among others) woven into the narrative? You'll have to read the book to find out.

Fourth, I needed my husband's help, which he loved. What's a double green, a second-shot course, 19th hole, pot bunker? What's the difference between tracks and links? Awfully handy to have an avid golfer in the house while reading this book. Of course, this won't be a problem for most of this book's readers. In any case, it was nice to understand a bit more of my husband's vocabulary.

But then Steinbreder goes and mentions Donald Trump a few times. Granted, he couldn't have foreseen the political circus currently unfolding when he was writing this book, but it still strikes a nerve. I'd be quite content if no one ever mentioned "The Donald" (how absurd is that name anyway?) again.

And was it necessary for the author to let us know a hound had just "successfully reduced the cottontail population in County Louth by at least one" or that he spent a morning killing ring-necked pheasants? I didn't want to know that.

My biggest problem with the book is that it caters to the rich. Who can afford these expeditions? There is a distinct discrepancy between some of the poor people of the region and the wealthy who travel there simply to play golf and stay in expensive hotels to be waited on. Why was he "gawking" at the Moroccan people selling things along the road? They were trying to feed their families. And Laucala in Fiji runs from $3800 to $30,000 a night? Steinbreder says "you get what you pay for." Is that all there is to it on islands where over 250,000 people, a third of the population, live in poverty?

And are we turning too many natural landscapes into golf courses?

And where is his wife? He only mentions her traveling with him once.

Back to a positive note—I found a typo on page 172 and it may be the only one (though the word "nor" was misused earlier).

All in all, I found myself torn between envy of traveling to such marvelous places and outrage that Steinbreder doesn't mention a single way to improve the lives of the people who live in the places he's visited. No, this is not a social justice book. No, this is not an anti-poverty, anti-crime book. I get that. Still . . .

If you're a golfer (and, importantly, a golfer with money), you'll find value in this book. For the rest of us, not so much.

A side note to my husband: Despite this review, if I ever earn a six-figure advance, I will take you to the golf destination of your choice—as long as we can help in some way while we're there. ( )
  DonnaMarieMerritt | Aug 23, 2015 |
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"This book is an invitation to travel with award-winning journalist John Steinbreder on a global golf trek. From putting alongside tawny wallabies and blue-tongued lizards in Tasmania to literature, pubs, and driving in Dublin, this book contains remarkable golf adventures from Steinbreder's nearly two decades of tee-time wanderlust"--… (more)

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