Golf by the light of the Aurora Borealis while caught up in an ancient Scottish myth, find out how the Civil War might have ended on a golf course, fly with an RAF pilot as he buzzes a golf course that no one else can see, come across a magical golf club that can change one’s entire life, have your bag carried by a clairvoyant caddie, play a round for the hand of a beautiful girl, find out what heaven’s really like, and get caught on a haunted links after dark. These are just a few of the adventures that await the reader in this collection of 14 tales for golfers of all ages about golf, life, death…and everything in-between.
Golf Is No Ordinary Game proves exactly what it says – golf is an extraordinary game and I count myself very fortunate to make this game my profession. G. Guilford Barton provides a real treat with his collection of extraordinary tales that make for a fantastic read. – Gary Player, PGA legend & Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
Greg has an exceptional grasp of the game and how to weave it into his tales. His golf stories are fun, creative, and rich with characters that captured my imagination. I look forward to his next book! – Jan Stephenson, 16 LPGA wins, 14 international titles, Member, Sport Australia Hall of Fame, Member, Australian Golf Hall of Fame, Member, The Legends Tour Hall of Fame
Years ago I was rummaging around a bookstore when I came across a volume about Scotland. Inside I found a photograph of the Aurora Borealis blazing above the moorlands. Below the photo was a short blurb describing a bit of ancient Scottish folklore attributing the Northern Lights to a mythical tribe of creatures called the Nimble Men. What follows is the tale that myth inspired, one that weaves the colorful spirit of the game with the equally colorful legend.
Being a son of the Midwest, I am a big fan of the American farmer and his farm. For me there is nothing quite like strolling through a field of corn—a vast cloud-speckled sky overhead and fresh turned earth between my toes. I found the concept of a golf course weaving its way through cropland irresistible, regardless of how ridiculous the idea. The Girl with the Swing is a tale chock full of old-fashioned ideas and old-fashioned values—even the thought of competing for someone’s hand is a throwback to days gone by. Days, I for one, wish were still around.
Good versus evil. There is nothing I find quite as compelling as a tale pitting good against evil. For isn’t that the common thread of all history? The Flying Scotsman is the story of one man’s journey into the heart of darkness, lured there by the trappings of an unrighteous world. There he must make a choice. To fight or surrender. Win or lose. Do or die. Fear, apathy, courage, faith. All can be found here, with golf providing the path leading to freedom…or destruction. And the nattily-dressed antagonist? Well, surely the Bible warns us that the devil often comes clothed as an angel of light.
I have always had a certain amount of admiration (or is it envy?) for caddies, those constant companions of golfers at the highest of levels. Maybe it’s their access to golf’s most hallowed grounds, or their effortless displays of etiquette, or those spotless overalls they wear branded by the pro whose bag they carry. But I think what impresses me the most is their apparent omniscient knowledge of whatever course they’re on. This story takes that “local knowledge” to the next whimsical level as the reader meets a young lass by the name of Rachel — a clairvoyant caddie.
This story is inspired by a haunting Scottish folk song titled Glencoe. The song tells the sad tale of brother clans caught up in treachery, betrayal and murder. Not the most shining moment in the history of Scotland. Although I’ve turned it into a ghost story, I must confess that I do not believe in ghosts. I do, however, acknowledge the existence of something just as grim — revenge.
The game of golf has many storied heroes. Jones, Hogan, Palmer and Nicklaus easily come to mind. Other greats can be found further back in the dim halls of golf’s pantheon, like Harry Vardon and Francis Ouimet. But there is one man whose shadow, in my humble opinion, eclipses them all — a larger than life Scotsman by the name of Old Tom Morris.