Blue Fairways: Three Months, Sixty Courses, No Mulligans

Perhaps the Royal and Ancient game's most majestic appeal is simply this: Stand up on the first tee and what you survey down the fairway is a beckoning landscape of possibility, renewal, improvement, and hope. All mark the scorecard of Blue Fairways, a lovely pilgrimage that begins in Maine, ends in Florida, and in a journey of three months plays 60 public courses from one end of Route 1 to the other. It's a chronicle that inspires envy. Every duffer dreams of dropping out and devoting himself wholeheartedly to his golfing jones; Charles Slack actually lives it. Like all good golfing odysseys, Slack's doesn't take place solely on the golf course. There's plenty of golf, sure, and Slack does a fine job of capturing the flavor of each of the outposts he tees off from--be it a track as grand as Pinehurst or as modest as the short municipal pitch-and-putter he navigates with the mayor of Jersey City. But the story of Blue Fairways is really the story of the people he meets and plays with, the nongolfing lessons he takes from them, and the senses of place--some elegant, some hopelessly threadbare--he experiences from city to suburb to town. Some 2,200 miles after the first drive, he's shaved a few strokes off his game, felt an explosion of midlife freedom, and come to grips with more than his clubs. "It took sixty golf courses," he writes, "to convince me of a truth about golf and life so obvious and facile sounding, I probably could have gotten it from a fortune

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