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Men in Green (Hardcover)

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Instant New York Times Bestseller

“Maybe the best golf book I’ve ever read.” —Bill Reynolds, The Providence Journal

“Surprisingly candid...Bamberger doesn’t flinch at portraying the Tour’s earthier aspects...But the book is overwhelmingly a love song.” —John Paul Newport, The Wall Street Journal

Was golf better back in the day?

In Men in Green, Michael Bamberger, who fell for the game as a teenager in its wild Sansabelt-and-persimmon 1970s heyday, goes on a quest to find out. The result is a candid, nostalgic, intimate portrait of golf’s greatest generation—then and now—that readers will cherish.

One night in a Chicago restaurant, drunk on chocolate and with the siren song of the road in his head, Bamberger draws up a list of golf heroes. Nine are living legends, like Arnold and Jack. Nine are secret legends, like Dolphus “Golf Ball” Hull, a windblown tour caddie from Jackson, Mississippi. What they all share is a game that courses through their collective veins like a drug.

Accompanied by a sidekick and friend, a former tour player who is a secret legend himself, Bamberger seeks to locate and get to know these luminaries. All the while, he is hopeful they will answer a certain difficult question: When and where were you happiest?

In their travels, these detectives from the Golf Division uncover life and death, sickness and health, unusual marriages and unlikely friendships, trophies lost and won, comic tales from lives lived on the road, lost loves and second chances, and a cheating scandal that reveals volumes about an icon in their midst. They take us from Arnold Palmer’s private warehouse in Latrobe, Pennsylvania to the twelfth green at Augusta National to a trailer park in Northern California, where an aging tour beauty lives alone with her memories of high times and bright lights. Men in Green time-travels to forgotten places in a lost world.

Inspired by the Roger Kahn classic The Boys of Summer, Bamberger, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, has written a book that is a meditation on aging and a celebration of the game and the men and women who made it what it is. Men in Green is a book by a man in middle age revisiting the power of first love, and a testimony to the truth of an observation once made by the actor Laurence Olivier: “Inside, we’re all seventeen, with red lips.”

About the Author


Michael Bamberger, a writer and columnist for GOLF Magazine, spent twenty-two years as a writer at Sports Illustrated after thirteen years as a newspaper reporter. He has written a play (Bart & Fay) and seven books, including the New York Times bestseller Men in Green, To the Linksland, and Wonderland. His work has appeared in the annual anthology The Best American Sports Writing and other collections.

Praise For…


“Maybe the best golf book I’ve ever read.” —Bill Reynolds, The Providence Journal

“Until roughly the mid-1980s, the PGA Tour really was a tour, not the geographically-dispersed collection of big-money events that it is today. The players and often their wives drove from event to event or hopped on chartered flights together. . . . In a new book, Men in Green, author Michael Bamberger re-creates that tour through a series of surprisingly candid interviews with players, caddies, wives, and others who were there. It is a world of booze-fueled friendships and feuds, of deep bonds and annoyances, of hurts that still fester and memories that still glow. Braiding it all together is the power and addiction of golf. . . . Bamberger doesn’t flinch at portraying the Tour’s earthier aspects. Drugs, sex, and alcohol, although not sensationalized, take their appropriate place in his narrative. But the book is overwhelmingly a love song. . . . Above all, what comes through is the sense of the Tour back then as an extended family, sometimes dysfunctional but never dull.” —John Paul Newport, The Wall Street Journal

“I wish Michael Bamberger’s Men in Green, about an earlier generation of PGA stars, were about 400 pages longer than it is.” —Jeffrey Toobin, The New York Times Book Review

“Michael Bamberger is a hard-boiled reporter with a sly wit, but his bottom-line virtue is empathy. That’s made him the most penetrating and insightful golf writer of our time. Men in Green is Bamberger at his best: revealing secrets, puncturing myths, adjudicating never-settled feuds. His new book has the suspenseful urgency of a detective novel, a cast of characters out of a Fellini movie, and the heart of a Charlie Brown Christmas special. If I could have only one golf book on a deserted island, Men in Green would be that book.”
—John Garrity, author of Ancestral Links

“Compelling . . . This is the golf version of Roger Kahn’s classic The Boys of Summer . . . A fascinating portrait of a time in golf much different than the corporate version of today.” Chicago Tribune

Men in Green is peppered with appealing vignettes—such as Billy Harmon on what Bob Goalby said to himself standing over a four-foot putt on the last hole of the 1968 Masters—but Bamberger has a higher purpose. Identifying legends and trying to find out what makes them tick, he and Donald provide exceptional insight into some of America’s greatest players over the last half-century.” The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Poignant . . . Consistently entertaining . . . Whether it’s Gay Talese profiling heavyweight boxer Floyd Patterson, John McPhee describing the artistry of basketball great Bill Bradley, or Roger Angell writing anything about baseball, the best sportswriting is about more than the sport that is its ostensible subject. That’s what makes Michael Bamberger’s Men in Green, nominally a book about what Bamberger calls eighteen ‘legends of the game,’ one that will appeal to more than passionate golf fans. Less concerned with birdies and bogeys than he is with exploring the stories behind the lives and careers of his subjects, Bamberger matches a keen eye for the sport that’s been the subject of two of his previous books—The Green Road Home and To the Linksland—with a knack for getting his subjects to share their candid reminiscences in revealing fashion.” —Harvey Freedenberg, Harrisburg Magazine

“To be cherished . . . Will entertain and enthrall . . . A nostalgic visit and reminiscence with those who fashioned golf history.” Golf Digest

Product Details
ISBN: 9781476743820
ISBN-10: 1476743827
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Pages: 272
Language: English