Now for the Back Nine Book Review

By: | Thu 26 Sep 2019 | Comments


Review by Golfshake Ambassador Andrew Picken


This is not your standard golf coaching manual.

It is beautifully illustrated, well written book, interspersed with some genuinely hilarious anecdotes regarding the time that Peter Dawson spent as a tournament professional.

The 1977 Ryder Cup player, who teamed with Sir Nick Faldo playing for England in the World Cup, has a superb pedigree in competitive golf.

He has played golf with the winners of 46 majors. He even played the first two rounds with Tom Watson at the 1977 Open at Turnberry (often referred to as the ‘Duel in the Sun’) and refers to Tom’s wonderful rhythm.

He has coached International squads including those of Denmark, Switzerland and Morocco. A PGA Master professional and an honorary member of the British PGA.

Pub quiz question: Who was the first left-handed player in the Ryder Cup?

Answer: No, not Phil Mickelson but the author Peter Dawson.

Peter, although right-handed in everything else, has always played golf left-handed having started playing, using his left-handed father’s clubs.

Helpfully though, for the purposes of the book Peter demonstrates all his instruction and tips right-handed as the vast majority, 90% of players are right-handed.

Peter has been aided and abetted in this project by his friend, pupil and author Simon Hawkins. This has given the book a unique feel as it is expert instruction, designed to be more pupil-friendly by the pupil. A great example of this is the index of golf drills at the back of the book which Simon assures me came from spending many hours looking for elusive drills in the past.

Many of the illustrations in the book detailing how NOT to do a particular thing are posed by Simon.

Simon plays to a decent standard holding a single figure handicap.

Health issues required him to leave the game for a number of years and it was his decision to be re-taught from scratch that was the catalyst for the partnership that resulted in the book. Peter had been writing a series of instructional articles but then realised that he could no longer perform many of the physical moves but he had learned how to compensate for reduced movement and athleticism.

Peter recognised that the average age of golfers in the UK is now 63 and yet so few golf instructional books take into account the challenges that face senior players and that the majority of players would benefit greatly from the insight and knowledge he has gained over recent years from playing with two titanium knees and a bad back.

The book preface has been written by Tony Jacklin and Peter Alliss. This perfectly illustrates the golfing company that Peter is used to keeping.

I love reading about golf, in particular the swing and its mechanics. As I have reached my own “back nine” golfing years’ I spotted this title and immediately volunteered to undertake its review. I am so glad I did.

The golf swing for the more mature golfer it is broken down into a number of easy to follow elements that cover the entire game of golf. A series of practice drills provided that are designed to be used by those who are no longer as strong and flexible in golfing terms that they used to be.

Due to his pedigree as a teacher however this book does not restrict itself solely to the older golfer. It deals with the golf swing in such a clear and easily understandable manner that it would be a great book for the novice golfer as well.

Interspersed within the chapters of tuition that are all superbly illustrated with colour photography are a host of extremely funny anecdotes and stories from the world of professional golf.

I will not spoil your pleasure in disclosing these tales but would draw your attention to a fabulous story involving a caddie and player arguing about the line of a putt on the final green only for the dispute to be resolved by the caddie successfully putting the ball into the cup. The background to this story is amazing given it happened in a competitive professional event.

I will headline these anecdotes simply as:

  • Attempted kidnapping in Nigeria
  • The caddie holes out
  • Golf club smuggling
  • The Kama Sutra golf belt and Jimmy Tarbuck
  • Shenanigans at the Ryder Cup
  • Revenge of the Tee marker

There is also a beautiful story featuring Peter playing in the 1978 Open at St Andrews with Lee Trevino and Bob Charles.

As George Bernard Shaw said “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

This wonderful game of ours can be played by any age of player and this book Is more than an instruction manual, it is a golfing companion.

This book retails at £20 and would be a welcome addition to any golfing library for those seeking to understand the fundamentals involved in playing good golf. It is of particular value to those of us who have reached middle age.

With the health and well-being benefits offered by our game anything that keeps us playing competitively longer is a real bonus.

With Christmas getting ever nearer, this will make the perfect Christmas present for all middle-aged and senior players!

Proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Prostate Cancer UK in an incredibly generous gesture by the authors as they recognise the impact of the disease.

For more information, visit https://prostatecanceruk.nowforthebacknine.co.uk/.


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