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Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black

By John Feinstein

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Open: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black

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Open: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black
By John Feinstein
Read by the author
Time Warner AudioBooks, (2003)
An Abridged Audio Recording on 3 CDs
ISBN: 1-58621-495-0
Genre: Sports - Golf

Reviewed by Herbert White - June 15, 2003

Golf - you either love it or you hate it. I don't think that golf allows any fence sitters! Consequently, if you don't love golf (or business), don't even bother trying to listen to Open - Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black, by John Feinstein. I can unequivocally state that you'll find it boring. However, if you are like me, and LOVE golf - you are going to be fascinated by this book! You will also love this book if you like to follow the story of an underdog who manages to win big in the business world.

In Open - Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black, Feinstein provides an amazing look at the work that went into preparing the Bethpage Black golf course. The Bethpage Black is one of the numerous public golf courses located in the Bethpage State Park, in Bethpage, New York, to host the U.S. Open Championship. Bethpage Black is a municipal golf course, and in 2002 it became the first such course to host the Open. The 2002 Open also managed a hugely successful event in the financial arena by making an obscene profit!

In this amazing story, Feinstein chronicles the massive effort that went into transforming the Bethpage Black from a great golf course into a monstrously difficult course that readily challenged the master golfers that tested their mettle against it during the Open. He also takes us on a behind the scene tour of the course, introduces us to the players that delighted us with their skills, and he shows us all the work that goes into organizing and running an event such as the Open. In fact, most of this book is devoted to the political / business side of the story, although there is a great deal devoted to the golfers involved in the championship itself. While I'd have like to have heard more about the golfers and golfing, I was fascinated by the descriptions of how the Open actually operates - and the myriad of parts that have to be pulled together in order to make the whole thing work.

The Bethpage Black is an open course, which means that anyone who can pony up the greens fee can play there. This is perhaps the greatest part of this book, because after listening to it, you can then go out and walk the same fairways that the great masters did during the Open! That is, of course, assuming that you are ever in Bethpage...

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, and many other great players participated in the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. This book gives the listener an intimate taste of what it was like to set up the match, and to participate in the championship. Feinstein's writing is gripping and rich in details. Granted, listening to this book is not as satisfying as it would have been to be at the Open in person - but it is a wonderful treat and I enjoyed listening to every minute of this well-told story that will resonate with every golfer!

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