Book Review: Shanks for Nothing

by Roy M. Barineau, Ph. D. on June 25, 2011

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

Book Review: Shanks for Nothing: A Novel

Rick Reilly, Shanks for Nothing, New York: Doubleday, 2006

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Ponkaquogue Municipal Links is a goat track, but it is the Chops’ goat track. The Chops, the players at Ponkaquogue, love their course just as much as, if not more, than the wealthy elitists love The Mayflower Club located next door. Ponky, for short, is owned by a character named Froghair, and Froghair has decided the sell the club. The Mayflower Club wants to buy Ponky and turn it into a parking lot for the U. S. Open it is scheduled to host. Fearful of what could happen to their crappy paradise, the Chops are frantically trying to raise the money to buy the club from Froghair.

In an effort to raise money to buy their club, the Chops try to hustle some players from outside Ponky, but the other players are savvier than expected. Those who were to be “hustled” turn out to be the “hustlers,” and when the hustle is finished, the Chops are deep in debt.

A Chop called “Two Down” likes to drive around in cars he “borrows” from the assisted living facility where he has an apartment. After one of the cars is confiscated by the hustlers, as payment on the Chops’ debt, the assisted living facility figures out Two Down’s deceptions.

A Chop named Dom is so intent on sleeping with a girl in the pro shop that he arranges for a robbery during which the thieves are going to make their victims have sex with one another. Dom, however, is sitting next to the wrong woman when the thieves arrive. Dom, trying to correct the arrangement of couples, reveals his involvement.

Both Dom and Two Down end up in prison with another Chop called “Resource Jones.” Resource has been in prison for a while, but at least the prison has a nine-hole course where prisoners can work. Resource made elaborate plans for an escape on one occasion. Working on the course, Resource nabbed a golfer, drug him into a work shed, and changed into the golfer’s clothes. Things were going well, but as Resource was finishing out the golfer’s round, he found himself playing so well that he could not stop at just nine holes. Eventually, after shooting a personal record of sixty-nine, Resource is recognized.

The best player at Ponky is a character named Ray Hart, also known as Stick, a nickname indicative of his golf prowess. Stick, everyone alleges, could be on tour, but he opted out of the pressures of tour life to write greeting cards and novels. Stick is in serious trouble with his wife. He and a Chop called “Blind Bob” travel to Britain so that Stick can qualify for the Open Championship and, perhaps, obtain enough money to get everyone out of trouble and buy Ponky. Stick qualifies but cannot tolerate competitive golf. In Britain, however, Stick meets up with a character who will become the savior of Ponky.

Shanks for Nothing is a sequel to Reilly’s Missing Links, in which several of the same characters explore various avenues to play at the Mayflower Club.  Shanks for Nothing: A Novel is very entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed the read, and I think any other golfer will also. I am awarding the book a full sleeve of balls.

For a related review see Missing Links.

Roybob’s Book on Golf: The Hucks, A Golfer’s Divine Comedy, and a Religious Philosophy of Golf

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