Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions – Book review

Trials and Triumphs of Golf's Greatest Champions cover

I enjoy reading! I find that if I pick up a good book, the time quickly slips away and before I know it, hours have passed. Really good books allow the reader to experience the challenges of the main characters and those are the books I enjoy reading the most. When I read some of these stories, I like to share it with the world. The Trials and Triumph’s of Golf’s Greatest Champions is one of those books!

Recently, I was approached to review Lyle Slovick’s book on 7 famous people who were instrumental in shaping the game of golf. At first, I thought it would be another mainstream tale of 7 famous golfers who had a some impact on the growth and development of golf; but, what I found were seven stories about dedication, perseverance, and the will to succeed. After starting with a few pages about Harry Vardon, I realized that my first impression of this book was way off the mark!

I have to admit I thought I knew something about Harry Vardon, Bobby Jones, Ken Venturi, and Ben Hogan. As it turned out, I did not know near as much as I thought. I had never heard of Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Charlie Shifford, , or Bruce Edwards, however after reading Slovick’s book I can no longer say that. After reading about all these 7 important golf figures, I realize my knowledge of golf is not surely lacking.

All of the main characters met their challenges in the same manner: head on. They did not let anything or anyone dampen their desire to be the best golfer or caddie of their time. I was constantly amazed at the hurdles these athletes navigated to stay at the top of the golfing world. The more I think about it, these stories transcend golf and offer inspiration and hope to anyone facing real hardship. I think Slovick captured the real essence of determination and passion for golf that was at the core of each character.

As I said previously, I enjoy reading. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions. Although there were many references, which can sometimes make a story difficult to follow, Slovick blended his thoughts with those of his references into an easy read.

This book opened my eyes to some of the societal challenges faced by Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Charlie Shifford; the personalities of Harry Vardon and Bobby Jones; and how to overcome medical issues by Ben Hogan and Ken Venturi. The closing story about Bruce Edwards is quite heart wrenching, but a perfect close to this book. All the stories remind us that to achieve great things; sometimes it takes great sacrifices.

I would recommend this book to all avid golfers. I believe that understanding where we came from is important to the future of golf. If you are like me and thought you knew about the great contributors of golf, then this book is for you.

If you find you have a few hours to spare this summer, I recommend that you pick up a copy of Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions by Lyle Slovick and immerse yourself in stories of hope, determination, and triumph. You will not be disappointed!

Press Release: About Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions

• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (May 16, 2016)

Golf can be a vexing and cruel game, and teaches us much about ourselves. It has been described as “a contest calling for courage, skill, strategy and self-control. It is a test of temper, a trial of honor, a revealer of character.” In the end, as with most of life, success hinges on the character and spirit we possess. But how would our tempers be tested if we suffered a career-threatening injury from a near-fatal car accident, as Ben Hogan did in the prime of his life? How would our honor be preserved if we faced constant derision and racism both on and off the golf course, as Charlie Sifford encountered his entire career? How would our character be revealed if cancer robbed us of the ability to play the game we loved, as it did to Babe Didrikson Zaharias? Would we give in to self pity, or persevere and keep going?

In Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions: A Legacy of Hope, Lyle Slovick has pulled together the inspirational stories of six golfers and a caddy whose strength of character sustained them against the physical and emotional trials that threatened both their careers and lives. In an era when many athletes have lost their luster as role models, the people in this book—Harry Vardon, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Charlie Sifford, Ken Venturi, and Bruce Edwards—offer lessons in perseverance, dignity, humility, and faith. Slovick tells each of their stories with rich detail, including the childhoods that shaped their characters, their rise in the world of professional golf, the crises they faced in their lives, their struggles to keep doing what they loved, and their refusal to give up. They had their flaws, to be sure. But when faced with a true test of will, all showed a strength that inspired those around them.

The first book to gather the stories of these golfers into a single volume, Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions offers a unique blend of characters who shared the same love for a game that gave them the courage and fortitude they needed to face whatever life threw their way. This book will not only interest golfers and fans of the game, it will also inspire those who have suffered their own personal setbacks and show them they are not alone in their trials.


Read The Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions as it delves into much more than the surface history of these famous golfers, detailing the obstacles and struggles with which they all had to deal.  — Tom Watson, member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, winner of eight major championships

Trials and Triumphs is the perfect affirmation of what makes golf the greatest game of all—overcoming odds and adversities to achieve greatness. As you will see, there is no other way! — Jim Nantz, CBS Sports

Why is golf one of our greatest games? Because it tests us—our patience, persistence, perseverance—in ways we don’t expect and often can’t even imagine. In Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions, Lyle Slovick reminds us, through the soaring profiles of golf’s most courageous fighters from Bobby Jones to Babe Didrikson Zaharias, that far more important than any golf lesson is the grit and greatness we find inside ourselves when we need it most. — Don Van Natta Jr., ESPN investigative reporter, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of New York Times bestseller First Off the Tee and USGA Book Award winner Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Links

Rowman & LittlefieldAmazon | Barnes & Noble

Lyle Slovick APAbout Lyle Slovick

Lyle Slovick is a historian and golf enthusiast, having played and studied the game for over 40 years.  He has an M.A. degree in American History and is a former Assistant University Archivist at the George Washington University, where he worked for 13 years amongst the rare books and manuscripts in the Gelman Library Special Collections Department.  Lyle enjoys telling stories that shed new light and offer new perspective on often well-trod subjects – what he describes as “augmented interpretation.”  This book is an expression of his passion for the game of golf, which has taken him to various major championships around the world, including the Old Course at St Andrews, Scotland, the home of golf.  Lyle enjoys travelling, reading (especially biographies), and resides in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he currently works as a consultant for the United States Golf Association.

Find out more about Lyle at his website, and connect with him on Facebook.


2 thoughts on “Trials and Triumphs of Golf’s Greatest Champions – Book review

  1. I agree that the most inspiring stories transcend their niche and are inspiring to all of us, whether we are invested in the niche or not. And good storytellers help with that, which it sounds like Slovick is!

    Thank you for being on this tour!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s