The Downhill Lie

The Downhill Lie

A Hacker's Return to A Ruinous Sport

Book - 2008
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Ever wonder how to retrieve a sunken golf cart from a snake-infested lake? Or which club in your bag is best suited for combat against a horde of rats? If these and other sporting questions are gnawing at you, The Downhill Lie, Carl Hiaasen's hilarious confessional about returning to the fairways after a thirty-two-year absence, is definitely the book for you.

Originally drawn to the game by his father, Carl wisely quit golfing in 1973, when "Richard Nixon was hunkered down like a meth-crazed badger in the White House, Hank Aaron was one dinger shy of Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, and The Who had just released Quadrophenia ." But some ambitions refuse to die, and as the years--and memories of shanked 7-irons--faded, it dawned on Carl that there might be one thing in life he could do better in middle age than he could as a youth. So gradually he ventured back to the dreaded driving range, this time as the father of a five-year-old son--and also as a grandfather.

"What possesses a man to return in midlife to a game at which he'd never excelled in his prime, and which in fact had dealt him mostly failure, angst and exasperation? Here's why I did it: I'm one sick bastard."

And thus we have Carl's foray into a world of baffling titanium technology, high-priced golf gurus, bizarre infomercial gimmicks and the mind-bending phenomenon of Tiger Woods; a maddening universe of hooks and slices where Carl ultimately--and foolishly--agrees to compete in a country-club tournament against players who can actually hit the ball. "That's the secret of the sport's infernal seduction," he writes. "It surrenders just enough good shots to let you talk yourself out of quitting."

Hiaasen's chronicle of his shaky return to this bedeviling pastime and the ensuing demolition of his self-esteem--culminating with the savage 45-hole tournament--will have you rolling with laughter. Yet the bittersweet memories of playing with his own father and the glow he feels when watching his own young son belt the ball down the fairway will also touch your heart. Forget Tiger, Phil and Ernie. If you want to understand the true lure of golf, turn to Carl Hiaasen, who has written an extraordinary book for the ordinary hacker.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307266538
Branch Call Number: 796.352 HIAASEN
Characteristics: 207 pages ; 20 cm.


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Jun 23, 2017

Half product placement + half whining...that gives you a whole bunch of nothing.

Jun 20, 2017

Interesting, yet trite. Hiaasen, one of my favorite authors struggles to knock it out of the rough on this one.

Nov 30, 2010

It was good fun to see Carl Hiaasen turn his wicked sense of humor on himself. There are a few laugh out loud moments, and Hiaasen is in fine form as a storyteller, but ultimately this book confirmed for me that I'm not interested in reading about golf.

Aug 18, 2008

A really funny memoir about Hiaasen's love/hate relationship with the most frustrating of all sports, golf. Recommended to anyone who's ever sunk a 30' putt for par and then cranked the next tee shot deep into the woods.


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Aug 28, 2008

In the summer of 2005, I returned to golf after a much needed layoff of thirty-two years. Attempting a comeback in my fifties wouldn't have been so absurd if I'd been a decent player when I was young, but unfortunately, that wasn't the case. At my best, I'd shown occasional flashes of competence. At my worst, I'd been a menace to all carbon-based life-forms on the golf course.


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