New book places Golf Style over substance

Sophie Gustafson during the 2009 Solheim Cup.

Sophie Gustafson during the 2009 Solheim Cup.

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Golf Style: Homes and Collections Inspired by the Course and the Clubhouse By Vicky Moon Clarkson Potter 256 pages; hardcover $60

The adage that “golf is a lifestyle” has become accepted wisdom, particularly among many in the design world. You might leave the golf course, they believe, but you don’t leave golf.

In "Golf Style," Vicky Moon runs with this idea through a compilation of light personality features and short historical summaries on resorts and fashion. Moon’s choices of subjects seem random, held together only by the device of 18 chapters. Some work, others don’t.

At its best, "Golf Style" takes readers inside Duffy Waldorf’s home and 1,800-bottle wine cellar, which includes everything from Chateau Lafite Rothschild to Thunderbird, as well as Waldorf’s own label. One troubling note: Waldorf apparently wears those atrocious, ornate shirts even when he’s at home.

It also was fun to have a look inside Dornoch Cottage, better known as Donald Ross’ former home on the third hole of Pinehurst No. 2. Moon also walks readers through the renovations of Jonathan Byrd’s home in St. Simons Island, Ga.

Elsewhere, Moon’s choices seem dubious. One chapter is dedicated to the office and architectural work of Rees Jones, a man whose work always has seemed to elevate function over form. A chapter on Wales focuses heavily on Celtic Manor Resort, which is a perfectly fine golf destination, but one whose hotel, clubhouse and courses don’t leave a lasting impression on visitors.

Similarly, a section on the evolution of women’s apparel leans heavily on Sophie Gustafson, apparently because she favors below-the-knee shorts, though it’s doubtful that many people think of her as being in the vanguard of women’s golf fashion. (As an aside, it rankles a bit that Gustafson is described as having “a number of victories on the LPGA circuit and in other international competitions.” It’s OK to be light and breezy, but would it really be that difficult to check Gustafson’s bio to see exactly how many tournaments she has won?)

Moon’s credits include People, and at times "Golf Style" feels like a hardcover version of the magazine, with features that are only vaguely connected. Think of it as one of the golf mementos that the book itself celebrates; it might be a bit pricey, but it will look nice next to the other memorabilia in your den.

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