Book Review – “A Son of the Game” by James Dodson

What do you get when you combine an engaging rites of passage story together with interesting golf history (Pinehurst, North Carolina area) as relayed by a skilled storyteller?  The answer would be “A Son of the Game” by James Dodson.  In this piece, Dodson follows up his previous bestseller “Final Rounds” in which he focused upon the relationship with his father, to that with his son.  In each piece, golf and its many friendships, lessons, and values play a large part in the legacy that is passed from one generation to the next.  Would Dodson’s son embrace the legacy?

This is an autobiographical sketch that takes the “burnt out” golf writer, James Dodson, a son of the South, back to his North Carolina roots in a way that rekindles his passion for the game through the friendships and values the game imparts. Along the way, this wise memoir reveals many interesting facts and anecdotes relating to the Pinehurst area golf scene from the perspective of a passionate golf insider.  “A Son of the Game” is also about the sharing of life’s lessons between a father and son, facilitated by the game of golf.  You will follow Dodson’s hope that his son might also embrace the many traditions and opportunities that the game offers.

Dodson’s work really resonated with me on several levels.  Though I am not a Southerner, we are about the same age, and my Mother and recently departed Dad took me to Pinehurst in my early days as a golfing teenager for spring vacations; and I have returned many times since.  The country lanes, eateries, hotels, courses, and people that Dodson so eloquently describes are the same ones that I’ve experienced – even within the last year or two.  The author’s accounting is right on.  In fact, I happened to become acquainted with Dodson’s buddy, Tom Stewart, who is as interesting and wonderful as he is painted in the text.

At a time in which I often share Jim Dodson’s disappointment with the state of the commercialized game, reading this and reminding myself of the therapeutic magic of the Carolina Sandhills, combined with also being a Father, myself, rekindled a bit of my golfing passion too.  This is a “good read” and would be a great gift for the golfing father or son!

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