By Josh Karp
Straight Down the Middle is a funny and insightful account of journalist and former-18-handicap golfer Josh Karp's quest to accomplish internal peace and enhance his golfing gameall in the course of the artwork of Zen. Assisted by means of a unusual roster of good practitioners of esoteric, Eastern-fueled, nontraditional golfing guide, Karp embarks on a special trip around the fairways of North the United States (and Scotland, of course!) that's as humorous because it is illuminating. A golfing tale within the culture of The Legend of Bagger Vance, Straight Down the Middle is a mix of priceless tips and hilarious memoir that's a must-read for golfers of all stripes and plaids.
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If Pedro had stood up to Franco, Éric might as well tell anyone else what he really thought of them. In one of the most telling passages of his autobiography (one of the few paragraphs in which I feel that his voice rings true),3 he remembers how, in the summer of 1978 – immediately before becoming a boarder at Mazargues – Les Caillols, having already won the Coupe de Provence, were on the verge of completing the double; all they had to do was beat Vivaux-Marronniers in the final of that competition.
Albert could see a bit of himself in Ambrogiani, a self-taught Provençal of working-class extraction who had worked as a postman for many years, before the patronage of Marcel Pagnol had launched a career spent exclusively in Marseilles. Albert, who also introduced Éric to Van Gogh’s work, was by all accounts ‘an accomplished amateur’, someone who had mastered his craft to a far greater degree than most Sunday brush-pushers. Éric watched, and learnt. Judging from an early photograph, taken in his first two years at the communale of Les Caillols, the cherubic little boy possessed a strong sense of colour, using vivid blues and yellows eerily evocative of Joan Miró, a painter he would idolize later on.
Soon, however, a spurt of growth changed the spindly teenager into a superb athlete. ‘Aged fourteen, he could control the ball on his chest; none of the others could do it. ’ And this, when the group of twenty-odd young footballers Oliver took care of was, by his own reckoning, the strongest he would ever see in his career. There were still flaws in the teenager Oliver considered to be ‘not a football player – but a footballer’. He could dribble past defenders with such ease that he sometimes took the ball too far, carried away by his own ability.