Longmeadow native pens tribute to a golf great

Longmeadow native pens tribute to a golf great
Reminder Publications submitted photo

Joel Zuckerman (left) is the only author who has had the chance to put together an extensive tribute book on the work of golf course architect Pete Dye (right).

By Courtney Llewellyn
Reminder Assistant Editor
"Why is Pete Dye the best?" author Joel Zuckerman asked. "There is no other [golf course] architect working today that a casual golfer would recognize more than one or two of their courses."
Zuckerman listed some of Dye's most famous or possibly infamous courses, which include TPC Sawgrass, Whistling Straits, Teeth of the Dog, the Brickyard and the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, as just some of the prolific architect's best examples.


Book will be personally inscribed

Book will be personally inscribed
Zuckerman profiles only one-third of Dye's work on the pages of "Pete Dye: Golf Courses," a 304-page hardcover tome released earlier this year by publisher Harry N. Abrams Incorporated. Zuckerman has been the only author allowed to put together a tribute to Dye, who recently celebrated his 85th birthday.
The book was recently named one of the top 10 golf books of the year by Sports Illustrated.
A member of the Longmeadow High School class of 1978, Zuckerman has come a long way since freelancing for the Jet Jotter and then, during college, the UMass Daily Collegian. Besides his tribute to Dye, he has released four other golf books, including "Misfits on the Links: A Golfer's Guide to Freaks Along the Fairway" and "Golf Charms of Charleston." He currently resides in Savannah, Ga.
An Ultimate Frisbee player throughout his academic career, Zuckerman didn't really get interested in golf until he was in his late twenties. He got into golf writing after seeing an advertisement for a golf writer for the Hilton Head Island, S.C., newspaper.
"I liked golf and I thought I could write," he said.
He started writing his own column for the newspaper in January 1998 and soon had his first story published in Sports Illustrated which was "the size of two postage stamps," according to Zuckerman.
So how did he get the gig of penning the tribute to golf's version of Frank Lloyd Wright?
"I called [Pete and Alice Dye's] oldest son, Perry, for help with a book I was doing about a course in Utah," Zuckerman explained, "and Perry was looking for someone to do the Dye project."
The first conversation about the book took place in February 2006, with the collating taking place in the autumn of 2007. The book was released last month.
"Pete is one of a kind," Zuckerman said. "There are no drawings, no blueprints in his work. He's a singular genius. He'll go on a piece of land and walk it for hours and then he'll see the course in his mind's eye."
Various golf championships have been hosted on Dye's courses, starting in 1974 and scheduled all the way through 2012. Zuckerman believes the championships are the reasons Dye is so well known.
"I was very fortunate to get the job," Zuckerman said. "Everyone has an apex in their career, and this could be my apex, but I have no problem with that. [This book] will resonate for years to come."
"Pete Dye: Golf Courses" includes unique photographs of courses by Ken E. May and tributes from Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Greg Norman.
Zuckerman, who is also known as "The Vagabond Golfer," will be offering personally inscribed copies of his Pete Dye book for those who order it through www.petedyebook.com. He added that it makes a great holiday gift for the golf enthusiast in any family.
To learn more about Zuckerman and his work, visit www.vagabondgolfer.com.
 
 
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