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The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf

4.39  ·  Rating Details ·  1,627 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
The Greatest Game Ever Played is the story of Francis Ouimet and Harry Vardon, who in pursuit of their passion for a game that captivated them as children, broke down rigid social barriers that made their sport accessible to everyone on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond, positioning golf as one of the most widely played games in the world. Ouimet and Vardon were two me ...more
ebook, 496 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Hyperion (first published 2002)
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Nick Washle
Apr 21, 2014 Nick Washle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greatest Game Ever Played
After reading this book, it seems to me as if a lot of things in life are done within the six inches between your head. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who is better than whom but who worked the hardest and who reached their potential. One issue that will catch your eye is the stereotype on young kids. They said that little Eddie Lowery could not caddy for an U.S. Open contestant like Francis Oeimet. But what if, at the end, a duo like that ended up winning th
Jul 19, 2009 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get through this book; part of that was due to my busy schedule, and part of that was due to the book taking a while to really get going. The game referred to in the title takes up maybe a half of this 475-page read, but that second half is, by far, the best part of the book. The book is more of a social history of the late 1800's/early 1900's with golf and the biographies of the main players of the 1913 U.S. Open as its focal points. It is an interesting read, but because ...more
Jan 24, 2014 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a book I would have ever picked up on my own, but it was a selection for a book club I belong to. I am not a golf fan, but somehow this very readable 475 page nonfiction book about the 1913 U.S. Open kept me very interested. Part of that was the excellent writing, and part was the truly interesting characters, characters I came to care about over the course of the story. Basically it boils down to four characters: Francis Ouimet, a poor, self-taught amateur golfer who grew up next to ...more
Kendall Hanson
Nov 27, 2015 Kendall Hanson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not only one of the best stories from the world of golf, but Mark Frost's rendering of the events and main actors shows them as remarkably complex and human. If I had to pick my favorite fifty books of all time, this would surely be one of them. You root for Ouimet naturally, as the underdog and amateur, but the account of Vardon and his cohort Ted Ray gave me a new appreciation for the difference in life for a golf pro of that era and those of our time. For them, as for Snead and Saraze ...more
Sy De Witt
A very enjoyable read.....I was especially impressed with the behavior of Harry Vardon, Ted Ray and Francis Ouimet....They represented a different era....
Nancy Hilton
Jun 27, 2017 Nancy Hilton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accidental discovery

After I received this book on my Kindle I browsed it for a few pages and quickly became engrossed in the history of golf and the men who made it great. You don't have to be golfer to enjoy this book. It tells the story of many golfers but the main characters I enjoyed were Vardon and Ouimet. Read and enjoy.

Ginny Gafford
May 17, 2017 Ginny Gafford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic and well written book. Even if you don't know much about golf you will enjoy all the "characters," heroes and sportsmanship in this book. I highly suggest this!
Lee Evans
Mar 22, 2017 Lee Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book, and I don't even play golf!
Jorge Edgar Reyes
Un libro que logra capturar la complejidad de la persona y la sociedad, plasmando estupendamente el mundo en aquel momento histórico, el contexto y los hechos que marcaron a los protagonistas y las repecuciones que tuvieron sus acciones en el mundo del golf y en otras vidas.
He de confezar que disfruté mucho este libro, en algunos momentos la narrativa es tan buena que pareciera que te encuentras en ese momento, incluso, podrías llorar y sonreir al observar el cruce de miradas entre rivales.
Apr 10, 2016 Charity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I stink at golf.

I remember a particularly fine sunny morning when a super-patient, super-good amateur tried to teach me -- for free and for his own kicks. I think he was bored. Stuck in the middle of ranch land with a set of additional clubs and nothing to do. Thus, he sought to educate me in the fine, non-ancient but doubly important game of golf. Whatever I did learn, which was not much, my thoughts no doubt being elsewhere and full of NOPE, went in one ear and out the other. My strokes were p
Tom Maentz
Jan 02, 2017 Tom Maentz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic golf competition featuring Francis Ouimet versus Harry Vardon.
Dec 02, 2007 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sports Fans
The Greatest Game Ever Played Book Review
The novel that I chose to read was The Greatest Game Ever Played by Mark Frost. Frost has written other stories that include The List of Seven, The Six Messiahs, Before I Wake, and The Grand Slam. The Greatest Game Ever Played is the story of golf greats Harry Vardon, professional, and Francis Ouimet, amateur, and the story of the 1913 US Open in Brookline, Massachusetts.
The story was did have interesting elements to it. It gives a lot of background the
Feb 12, 2017 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw the movie many years ago but never got around to reading the book until now. I'm glad I did.

This is a sports book that even people who aren't sports fans would enjoy: compelling story; vivid descriptions about what it was like to be a pro or top amateur golfer in the early 20th century; and characters that are easy to root for, or even against in a few cases, though there aren't really any bad guys in this one.

The only thing holding me back from a 5-star rating is the liberal use of made-u
Corbin Tullis
Nov 23, 2014 Corbin Tullis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think the purpose for Mark Frost writing this book is to tell us how much enjoyment can come from the game of golf and how relaxing it can be. Mark Frost does a really good job of expressing the characters feelings on and off the golf course. This book revolves around the main character, Francis Ouimet, a 20-year-old golf amateur from Massachusetts. He didn’t start out as a golfer, but as a caddy. This story is based on a true story and mainly takes place in in 1913.

The theme of the book is t
Fphillip Ehbrecht
I like this book very much. From start to finish it was flat out amazing. Francis Ouimet is a really inspiring and fascinating person and especially in the golf world. The fact that he came from a poor family and nothing was given, made the story that much more interesting. It was crazy how he managed to be a great golfer when it was a rich mansand was only supposed to be for high class gentleman. Francis Ouimet defeated all odds and on top of that he beat two of the best golfers in the game at ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book written for the lovers of drama, sports history, and sports biography. This is the drama about the 1913 U.S.Open golf tournament played by Walter Hagen, Harry Vardon, and Francis Quimet. Quimet had not played until three years prior to this tournament. His father was a blue collar worker who wanted his son to follow in his foot steps, Francis had other dreams one of which was to play competitive golf. They lived across the street from a private golf course and Francis would go watch the m ...more
Jan 09, 2008 Tung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The nonfiction account of the 1913 US Open that pitted the world’s greatest golfer at the time (and one of the greatest of all-time, Harry Vardon) with an amateur (Francis Ouimet). This match captured the nation’s attention in the same way the Seabiscuit races did, and propelled golf from an obscure rich man’s sport to a popular rich man’s sport (OK, OK, upper middle class sport, too). For golf fans, this is a must-read, as Frost makes the tournament come to life and provides a great backstory o ...more
Jul 13, 2015 Ashlyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2012 Maisie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Frost's purpose for writing The Greates Game Ever Played is to tell reads about an amazing story of two great golfers, Harry Vardon and Francis Ouimet. Frost wants readers to see how they came from almost nothing and made it to the U.S. Open.
The main theme of The Greatest Game Ever Played is never give up on your dreams. Frost shows this through out the novel throuhg the character Francis Ouimet. Fancis' father hated the game of golf and told him to give up on his dream of becoming a prof
Blaine Welgraven
Absolutely mesmerizing. I watched the film first, and like one of my favorite movie critics, Roger Ebert, was convinced that it probably couldn't be entirely true. It's too incredible, too fantastical, to Cinderella-like to be a historically-accurate narrative. Unlike Ebert, I did read the book--and not only is the story true, but Frost's exquisite work of recreating the entire social structure and scene surrounding "The Greatest Game Ever Played" creates a rich historical backdrop for understan ...more
May 26, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dad
I am not a golf fanatic by any means, but I certainly enjoyed reading The Greatest Game Ever Played: A True Story.

If you are just interested in hearing what the story is about, just watch Disney's movie version of the book--it is very close to what really happened. If you want to know more background about the details of how a young boy grows into a young man and ends up in a golf tournament playing against his idol--Harry Vardon--then you will want to read the book!

By no means is the book borin
Dec 24, 2010 Pete rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I toyed with the idea of giving it five stars, but feel that I have to reserve that rating for "absolute classics." It almost reached that level. Historical works like this are as facinating, and sometimes more so, than fiction. This is more than a book about golf; it's a book about another time, before the world lost it's innocense with the World Wars. Sometimes, today, it seems we are shaped by events. In the early years of the 20th century, people shaped events. Th ...more
C. Patrick
Jun 30, 2013 C. Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It seems to have become a bit of a cliche in recent years to isolate a specific time or event in history and give it far-reaching implications. Frost suggests the 1913 US Open and it's exciting climax with the improbable win by amateur Francis Ouimet resulted in the skyrocketing of golf's popularity. My sense is the flywheel that was American enthusiasm for golf was already off and running to a degree, and like all the major sporting interests in the country were on the verge of gaining signific ...more
Apr 06, 2009 Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the greatest books I have read in a long time. It is the story of the 1913 US Open, a year when golf in America was still in its infancy. At Brookline Country Club, little known local amateur Francis Ouimet, a mere 20 years old, finds himself in an epic match with two of Brittain's best champions, Harry Vardon and Ted Ray. As the American crowd galvanizes around this amateur, golf entered a height of popularity from which it has never retreated. With the skill of a poet, Mark Fros ...more
Interesting book about the US Open of 1913, and the young 19 year old American who won it, Francis Ouimont. The first 200+ pages is mostly about the 4 main players in that tournament, and hiow their lives shaped them into the golfers they became for that match. It also gives a rather good over view of social history of the time, especially as it pertains to classes in Britain, and the working poor of America at the time. There was some repetitive parts to it, and the first half had some flow iss ...more
Jennifer Burke
Jan 23, 2010 Jennifer Burke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, sports
Story from the early 20th century and the changing times of golf -- when "genteel" amateurs were still considered 'proper' golfers and those who played for money as 'pros' were often working class and looked down upon, despite their great success. Tale of the personalities and event behind the upset win of Francis Ouimet, a young American amateur (of working class background - quite unusual in those days), over legendary pro, father of modern golf, Harry Vardon.
Great job of telling as much about
Mar 23, 2008 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who knew reading about golf could be so exciting? Apparently, lots of people, given the bushels of golf books published every year. But even for the non-golfer, this is one of the most thrilling sports stories ever recorded. Everyone loves an underdog, and Francis Ouimet was the quintessential underdog. In these days of pervasive professionalism in sports, there is much to admire in Ouimet's insistence on competing as an amateur. Although famous and talented, the great Harry Vardon had no less o ...more
Jun 06, 2008 Justin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite books of all time. I saw the Disney movie first, which was a good but not great movie. Later, I saw the book at a store and decided to pick it up. I couldn't put it down. TGGEP is simply my favorite story of all time. Mark Frost does a great job telling the story of not only Francis Ouimet but also of other major players in the book. Harry Vardon is a fascinating character, and it seems like someone should do a miniseries on his life alone.

The book moves along at a great pace and pr
Sep 23, 2013 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hist-bio
I haven't *played* golf since I was 15, but my parents did, as do many of my family, and I have watched a lot on tv. The book culminates with the U. S. Open of 1913, played in Brookline, Massachusetts, just over 100 years ago now - the book was published in 2002. It goes into detailed background of Vardon & Ouimet, both of whom had hard lives. Ouimet was only 20,Vardon 23 years older. The professionals expected Ouimet to clutch under the pressure, like nearly every other newbie.

I wouldn't re
Jun 14, 2012 msleighm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Wonderful, a page turner, there were times I couldn't put it down or was eager to get back to it.

It's a true story about the 1913 US Open and the various personalities involved.

If you are a golfer, you may love it.

If you are a wanna-be golfer (like me) and have a moderate understanding of the game you may love it (I did, I just skimmed when it got too detailed into the layout of the holes and how each person hit each ball at each hole-that could get a little tedious at times).

If you are not
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