Turning the Page on Golf

The Luxury Edition of Golf

Just in time for Easter, Passover and whatever the Druids and pagans were celebrating at this time of year is a very special edition, a tour de force entitled simply, Golf.

Produced by UK-based Wonderland Publications, this handmade 18-chapter, 140-page tome, put forth as a “Gutenberg Style Bible of Golf,” is pitched as “truly the ultimate gift for the golfer or historian who has everything.” Including strong arms.

Based on the design of a 14th-century medieval bible, the Luxury Edition of Golf, subtitled ‘The Game, The Terrain And Where It’s All Going,’ weighs 82 pounds. It’s over three feet wide and five inches thick. The museum archive-grade paper is hand torn, and the folio is bound into an “extremely rare” 400-year-old Russian hide leather cover. The leather, which predates Lenin, was recently recovered by an American marine salvage operation and, according to the publisher, was “perfectly preserved in black silt.” This Trump-worthy trophy, embellished with ornate gold blocking and elaborate gold furnishings, is a limited edition. Only 10 will ever be made. All are signed and numbered by the artists and by “resident professional” Colin Montgomerie. Complete with leather-strapped oak slipcase box, the price is $48,000.

I have of course requested a review copy, but fear it will take down my mailbox.

Perhaps I should consider the Collector Edition of Golf, a scaled-down version of the Luxury Edition priced at $562 until July 2011, $630 thereafter. Only 2,100 of these books will be produced. The Collector Edition is delivered in a leather and silk slipcase.

According to the publisher, Golf was a “four-year odyssey of artists, animators and TV directors Paul Skellett and Simon Weitzman, who were both self-confessed golf novices at the start of the project.”

Despite the fact that they’re new to game—who knows if they even play or have ever broken 100?—the authors’ mission was to create a satirical, informed and artistic work of prose and art designed to capture the true spirit of the game, from its formative growth through to the realities of the recent financial depression, and on towards new horizons.

“As artists they considered the golf course as the largest art canvas on earth, as authors they saw each hole on a course as a chapter in a book, and as TV producers they viewed the game as one huge piece of sporting theatre,” reads the Wonderland website. Contributions, it adds, came from many of the world’s leading course architects, coaches, biomechanics, caddies and historical archives.

Co-author Skellett added, “Like a great golf course, this publication takes the reader on a journey that can be discovered and rediscovered over and over again throughout its 18 chapters.”  Golf is designed, continued Wonderland, “to entertain, enchant and amuse the lifelong golfer, the golf enthusiast, as well as reaching out to those who are new to the game, interested in the landscape it occupies, or simply fascinated by the art and culture that have influenced the game’s evolution over the centuries.”

I’m guessing the Old Course at St. Andrews is barely a century older than the salvaged Russian hide leather used to swaddle the Luxury Edition of Golf.

I dearly hope my copy arrives soon. I’ll find a place for it next to the sacrificial table.

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