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Interested in golf books? Go ask Alice (Cooper, that is)

May 22, 2007 |  4:42 pm

Labkcooper As humiliating as a bad round of golf can be (and it can be pretty humiliating), golf can save your life. That’s Alice Cooper’s message in the memoir “Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock ’n’ Roller’s 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict,” written with Keith and Kent Zimmerman (Crown: 272 pp., $24.95) Playing a round of golf every day turned out to be the perfect answer to all the chemical temptations of the rock-star life. Not to mention that all that sun has been good for Cooper’s pale complexion. One of the more amusing parts of the book are the photos contrasting his “creature of the night” stage wear with his wise choice of looser, milder threads on the links (black leather gets in the way of a full swing).

<p>Cooper’s memoir leads a long list of new titles on technique, competition and the sport’s history. (Along with books on gardening, golf books are a sure sign that the summer publishing season has arrived.) Among the standouts are Rick Lipsey’s “Golfing on the Roof of the World: In Pursuit of Gross National Happiness” (Bloomsbury: 258 pp., $24.95), which relates how Lipsey went to the Himalayas on a hiking trip and wound up being offered a job as golf pro at Bhutan’s sole public course, Royal Thimphu Golf Course. </p>

<p>John Feinstein’s “A Good Walk Spoiled” (1995) was an unforgettable account of the PGA tour. Now his “Tales From Q School” (Little, Brown: 344 pp., $26.99) follows all those hopefuls struggling through the grueling qualifying rounds for a slot on the PGA tour. Alfred A. Knopf published Billy Mott’s novel about caddies, “The Back Nine,” in March, and the publisher now returns with another, Bob Cupp’s “The Edict,” set in 15th century Scotland. Catherine M. Lewis’ “Don’t Ask What I Shot” (McGraw-Hill: 304 pp., $24.95) considers Eisenhower’s presidency in light of his golf addiction, arguing (from the subtitle) that his “love of golf helped shape 1950s America.” Heck, who needs a legacy of fighting Communism? </p>

<p>Bobby Clampett and Andy Brumer’s “The Impact Zone” (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s: 228 pp., $24.95) is one of those technical manuals that uses silly jargon (like the book’s title) but ultimately offers useful advice on developing a better short game (steadier putts and chip shots) and making longer drives that are actually accurate. Michael K. Bohn’s “Money Golf: 600 Years of Bettin’ on Birdies” (Potomac Books: 278 pp., $25.95) is an amusing look at the crazy wagers that players use to liven up the game (as if it needs them).</p>

<p>With so many golf books already on the market, hasn’t the soil been exhausted? Hardly. There’s always some new unexpected bit of trivia to feed terminally obsessed golfers. Take Lipsey’s book, for example. Who knew that there were special rules causing unique pressures for golfers in Bhutan? Slicing a ball into a tree — which every weekend warrior is guilty of doing at least five times per game — will get you disqualified. “Protecting the natural environment is a key facet of Buddhism, which is the foundation of Bhutanese culture and the state religion,” Lipsey explains, “but I never expected to see the Buddhist mores in force at the golf course.”<a name="N_03312_10"></a></p>

<p>Nick Owchar</p>