In golf the playing field is also landscape, where nature and the shaping of it conspire to test athletic prowess. As golf courses move away from the “big business, pristine lawn” approach of recent times, Bradley S. Klein, a leading expert on golf course design and economics, finds much to contemplate, and much to report, in the way these wide-open spaces function as landscapes that inspire us, stimulate our senses, and reveal the special nature of particular places.
A meditation on what makes golf courses compelling landscapes, this is also a personal memoir that follows Klein’s own unique journey across the golfing terrain, from the Bronx and Long Island suburbia to the American prairie and the Pacific Northwest. Whether discussing Robert Moses and Donald Trump and the making of New York City, or the role of golf in the development of the atomic bomb, or the relevance of Willa Cather to how the game has taken hold in the Nebraska Sandhills, Klein is always looking for the freedom and the meaning of golf’s wide-open spaces. And as he searches, he offers a deeply informed and absorbing view of golf courses as cultural markers, linking the game to larger issues of land use, ecology, design, and imagination.