A Book Review From My High School English Teacher

I’m always quick to tell folks that I learned how to write from a collection of incredible high school English teachers. What they taught me in my adolescent years still shapes the words I craft today. I think about their lessons often and fondly recall how they helped me become a passionate writer. Their influence can be found in every chapter of my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf.

Recently, I was delighted to hear that one of my favorite teachers had not only picked up a copy, but also decided to write me a personal review. She delivered her comments to me via a visit to my mom’s salon where she still gets her hair done. When reading her elegant notes, I had a flashback to all the papers she graded for me in the past. It was good to see that handwriting again.

Below are her comments as transcribed from the note she left for me. I think it’s the best book review I could have ever hoped for. I enjoyed her comments so much that I thought it would be fun to share them.

Jay,

I took your advice and read your book in bits & pieces. Since I will lend my copy to others, I didn’t want to write my comments on the pieces themselves, so Ill just jot notes to you here…

Loved your introduction, especially the first sentence. Nice little tease at the end too. Then I went to the poetry. Imagine that, “Daylight Savings Swings” was my favorite. “How I Got Hooked on Golf” also spoke to me — intro and conclusion framed it so well. Loved the focus on your relationship with your grandfather. The dedication to your daughter Winnie with Chapter 10 about fatherhood was great. Talking about her with your mom is such fun!

The nine virtues you spoke about in your first chapter made me think about how they are also the ones needed for a successful life. One thing I noticed reading through all the pieces was the figurative language you used, like in “One Last Walk.” Mmmm…maybe you are a poet after all.

Your “On Common Ground” piece made me tear up. It was so beautiful. Maybe that’s just the mama in me. I’m sure your brother loves it as well.

“A Simple Game for Trouble Times” was a great conclusion for the book. “Our times may be troubled, but we have to avoid the convenience of isolation.” Wow! ” We must choose to lean in and engage with one another.” Yes, indeed. Engage with our animals like Leon as well, right?

Chapter 8 shows a lot about you and your priorities. It’s nice that you can have a “club in my hand and hope in my heart” all in your own back yard.

“Braggadocios”? Did you make that word up?

Chapter 11 had such great ideas in your strategic plan.

Glad to see the hangover at the Ocean Course didn’t completely dismantle you.

As you noted on page 83, I hope you’ll continue to play “fun, faster, freewheeling, and far from caring too much about the score.” You know my writer self like the alliteration( remember that?) in this sentence.

I enjoyed seeing the connection between golf and technology that led you to the Shindig. Sounds like money well spent.

Jay, I could definitely see that you have found your voice in this book. So glad I got to read it. You did a fine job of writing it.

Congratulations!

— Sharon

Writing my first book reminded me of so many things that I learned from teachers like Sharon. I hope what I published has made her and others proud.

If you liked Sharon’s review, you might enjoy reading the book in full. You can pick up a copy at the link below.

Cheers,

-J

A Sunday Stroll

I’ve spent many a Sunday strolling across golf courses. There’s something about the last day of the week that makes my outings more relaxed. Perhaps the knowledge of people praying in the morning or families gathering for food and fun in the afternoon makes me think of joy and happiness. Things just seem more right on Sunday. Golf has long played an important role in my life and the walks I’ve taken on Sundays have yielded many cherished memories. Growing up, when the last hymnal was finished and lunch had been served, golf was always the next thing on the agenda. I still find elements of that in my life. Golf is a soulful game and it gives us the chance to find serenity in a world where that can often seem out of reach. On Sundays, my pace is slower and my posture is at ease. My swing seems more graceful too. Worries dissipate and putts roll truer. There is a pleasantness that permeates through the course and golfers tend to be extra appreciative of both the game and all they have been given. Surely God’s grace plays a part in that. People playing golf on a Sunday genuinely appear to be in a peaceful state. It certainly has that effect on me. Sunday makes everything better. It’s my favorite day for golf.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

Our Feet Show Us the Way

When we walk a golf course, we find things that otherwise prove elusive. We find quiet, calmness, and a deeper connection to nature. There are also many personal revelations found along the trail. Our best thoughts are made more apparent through the steps we take. As we walk around a golf course, we can also walk around the feelings, ideas, and desires that populate our mind. Golf is a search for answers and very few of them have much to do with the game being played. The walking golfer is looking for something else entirely. We go on walks as a means to sort through our troubles and scheme for the what may come next in life. With each pace we make, clarity becomes more attainable. Through golf, we seek to find the next iteration of ourselves one step at a time. Our feet show us the way forward.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

Lost in the Woods

The woods are not well suited for golf. It’s best to avoid play from there. Unfortunately we all find our way into the trees from time to time. That’s when we must call on our scrambler’s instinct. Knowing how much of the tree line to take on is somewhat of a gut feeling. It helps to have been there before. Trial and error is the only way to master the punch out strategy. Confidence plays an important role here. To successfully emerge from the timber stand, it’s wise to select a route that minimizes the damage. A smart golfer plays the odds. Sometimes the risky path is tempting, but the most important objective is to get out of the woods. Finding a way to advance to the next best scenario is the goal. Good scores perish when wanna be heroes try to craft an overzealous escape plan. The winning mindset is to save the bold shot for when the peril is past. If lost in the woods, find the quickest way out to the fairway and play hard from there. Get out while you still can!


Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game!

If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

The Next Great American Pastime

Golf should be the next great American pastime. The game is widely available and can be enjoyed by anyone. Golf is a means to connect us with our fellow countrymen — no matter their age, sex, race, creed, or political persuasions. A shared love for golf can surely bring people together. Although a highly challenging game, the pleasures of golf are easily found. Golf is a way to enjoy the outdoors, bond with friends, and test our own abilities. As a sport, golf offers an opportunity to compete against many opponents — the course, the elements, ourselves, and each other. Just as in life, golf shows that we are shaped by the obstacles we must navigate. This is also a game for exploration. Golf can be played across nearly any landscape and in many ways it is a showcase of our nation’s beauty. This is a most democratic game as well. Low score always wins. Anybody who is willing to put in the time can become a champion. Good golf is something worth aspiring too and like our country we have to work hard in order to reap its rewards. Golf teaches us perseverance and there is no more American trait that that. Above all else, golf is a way to be free. It grants those who play it the chance to roam and enjoy some time for the betterment of self. For millions of Americans, golf is a grand pursuit of happiness. What better way could we Americans recreate than with a game that so often mirrors our country?


Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game!

If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

Dreaming of the Course

How many golfers go to bed dreaming of the first tee? It’s hard to keep the eyes closed with golf on the brain. There is no easier thing to wake up early for than a tee time on a beautiful golf course. In an increasingly tamed world, playing golf remains a thrilling adventure. For many, it’s a splash of excitement that helps to break up the routines of everyday life. In golf, we are allowed the chance to be the champion of our own destiny. For a few hours, every decision about what to do next falls squarely on the golfer. To have that much control is a rare opportunity for most — another reason golf is so addicting. What a glorious feeling to stand on the opening hole with club in hand, friends nearby, and infinite possibilities lying ahead. Golf offers the occasion to begin again. Fresh and unburdened, each round yields a sense of incredible freedom. It’s no wonder we dream about this game so often.


Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game!

If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

A Course to Call Home

Most golfers spend their whole lives dreaming about courses they hope to someday see. Bucket lists are filled with the names of faraway links, exclusive clubs, and resorts in exotic locations. With so much time spent longing for other golf, it’s easy for a player to forget the charms of the course they call home. The shame of traveling for golf is that there is only so much time available to enjoy the spoils of a special course. Those limitations aren’t present at home. Although the course down the street may not have as grand a setting or as illustrious a reputation, it does offer familiarity. Getting to know a golf course on an intimate level is a privilege. It may be thrilling to know a new course on a surface level, but it’s the place which is frequently played that yields the greatest appreciation over time. It’s good to dream and travel and play — this expands one’s understanding of the game. However, it is far more important to find a place where golf can be explored regularly. Golfers need somewhere they can know by heart.


Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game!

If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

Rituals as Experiences in Golf

Rituals can be a compelling way to create a memorable experience. In golf, there are many great examples of this. Bagpipes at sundown are a familiar scene in some special places. Cannon fire breaks the silence of the morning in others. A ritual can come in many forms. They often exist as a ceremony of sorts. These productions may be based on history or other stories that are unique to a place. Often found at resorts and elite clubs, golf related rituals are used as a showcase of tradition. They can even represent the passage of time or a transition of leadership. Competitions can be celebrated in this manner as well — either through a grand opening moment or via the elaborate presentation of trophies and awards. Rituals can include music, oratory, or various other forms of performance. Rituals should excite the senses and provide entertainment. They pair well with golf for many reasons as connections to nature and history have always made for good storytelling. A ritual sparks imagination and stirs the blood. When provided at regular intervals, they also create specific reasons for people to return to a place. For those who attend and observe them, rituals are a way to experience a shared memory. Leaving golfers with yet another story to tell about their experiences in the game.


Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game!

If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

A Smaller Golf Experience

Golf doesn’t have to be big. Even a small dose of this game can be enchanting. With the right ingredients, a few holes set on a modest scale can provide infinite enjoyment. People need places that inspire them to expand their presence in the game. There is also an increasing desire to have golf that can be played in a more expedited fashion. Such models require only minimal resources to operate. One of golf’s most wonderful charms is the variety of its venues. With no set standards to define “what golf is” the sport can exist in so many different ways. Imagine the possibilities for bringing golf to the masses if more facilities existed that present the game in an easily accessible way. Golf will prosper when the game is closer to where we live, more relatable to everyone who has an interest in it, and offered on a smaller and more widely approachable scale. As some are already proving, by shrinking the game, we might just grow it.


Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game!

If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

A Visual Exploration

I enjoy golf courses that afford me the opportunity to see beyond just the hole I’m on. An ideal tour of a property should include various vistas that showcase the best aspects of the land. I hope to look over ridges, back down corridors, across other fairways, and through the canopy of trees present. Golfers should be invited through design to observe the many characteristics of a place. It is incredibly enjoyable to finish a golf walk and feel as if I saw the grounds in full. When given the chance to play a course many times, I like to identify the best places on the course to capture its natural essence — often those occur while standing on one hole and looking at another. Golf is a game for reflection, and while we are contemplating the depths of this sport, we should also be considering the wonders of the world present before us. I adore the well designed courses that give me the moments needed to do so. I want to know how a hole fits into the larger picture. To best understand the puzzle, it’s good to see it from many angles. The most unexpected revelations happen while looking away from the target. I do not want to simply be on a golf hole, I desire to be in a setting acting as a visual explorer.


Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game!

If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J