The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever
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The Match: The Day the Game of Golf Changed Forever

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4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  936 ratings  ·  123 reviews
The year: 1956. Four decades have passed since Eddie Lowery came to fame as the ten-year-old caddie to U.S. Open Champion Francis Ouimet. Now a wealthy car dealer and avid supporter of amateur golf, Lowery has just made a bet with fellow millionaire George Coleman. Lowery claims that two of his employees, amateur golfers Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi, cannot be beaten in a b...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published November 6th 2007 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2007)
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Tracy Johnson
This was such an enjoyable read. I loved it. A story of a (almost mythical) match played at Cypress Point on the Monterey Peninsula in 1956. Two successful professionals, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson against two up and coming young amateurs Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi.

The book does such a good job of weaving the story of how the match cam about -- as a result of some bragging from Eddie Lowery (caddie to Francis Ouimet when he won the US Open years before). It's very interesting to understand the...more
Becky
This really isn't a book that I would pick up to read. However, I really enjoyed it! I'm new to the game of golf, so none of the men in the book were immediately recognized. I have heard a few of these names associated with the game, but didn't know anything about them, or how they pursued the game of golf. Much of this book is a history lesson about the game of golf and how it changed as a result of a few individuals. Learning about these men was actually quite interesting. Harvie Ward was the...more
Walter
Anyone who has played a round of golf on or for those who have just visited the Monterey Peninsula in California with no intention of stepping on one of the many great courses that populate it knows that it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

That gorgeous yet usually benign setting is the backdrop to one of the most dramatic golf matches in the history of the sport.

So much so that it is worthy of simply being called The Match.

Nice title. Drinks at the turn on me.

Amateurs Harvie Ward...more
Craig Stratton
This is a must read for anyone who loves golf or loves the history of the game. Imagine a time way before Tiger when pro golfers were looked down upon as blue collar workers forced to scratch out a living at something that was basically known as a "rich man's hobby". By the time the events in this book take place, there were really only two players who were living comfortably and enjoying fame as pro golfers: Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan. The old boys network of USGA officials still hoped for the...more
Jim
I did enjoy this golf book and only dropped it a star because of the largely uncritical view of a perceived "Golden Era" and endless hagiography of the main characters that became somewhat wearing as the book progressed. Let's be honest, it's difficult to get excited reading about a game of golf but the author does manage to generate both interest and tension over this four ball between the two best amateurs and two best professionals in the world at the time. It was an exceptional event, and th...more
Nate
This is fun for anyone who has ever played any sort of competitive golf, even if its just the $5 nassau at your local muni. I marveled at how well these guys performed, granted there was no title at stake, but sometimes playing for pride with your best friends creates even more pressure. Without giving too much away, all 4 players were well under 70 (at Cypress Point) for the day, and the winning difference was a holed-out-from-the-fairway eagle. Other highlights include the history of Bing Cros...more
Jackson
Mark Frost has done it again. Now, "The Match" is not as stellar as his previous two forays into golf biographies, particularly "The Greatest Game Ever Played," though that is not such a knock as it may seem. I still contend that "The Greatest Game" is one of the greatest books ever written. But "The Match" has everything that made the first two books great - incredible pros, interesting characters, and a wonderful centering piece of a golf match, this one being a little known private best ball...more
Tom Gase
Another good golf book by Mark Frost. I enjoyed The Greatest Game Ever Played a little more, but this was another good read that involves the caddy from The Greatest Game Ever, Eddie Lowry, making a bet with his friend that his two friends, Harvy Ward and Ken Venturi, both amaeturs, could beat any twosome in the world. Lowry's friend accepts the bet. Then he decides to bring two of the best golfers in the world, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, as the two golfers to play them.

What happens next could...more
Dave
Could two amateur golfers beat two of the world's greatest professionals? Once upon a time, they might. Mark Frost tells the story of just such a contest in his account of The Match: The Day The Game Of Golf Changed Forever. But this isn't a fairy tale. It is instead a can't-put-it-down true account of a high-stakes game played in 1956 on one of golf's most spectacular courses by four of the game's legendary competitors.

Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson are the pros. They have fourteen major championsh...more
Corny
If you are into golf, "The Match" is a wonderful narrative. Golf writers tend to romanticize the game and Frost is no exception with endless over the top descriptions. He has canonized his subjects, Nelson, Hogan, Ward and Venturi to such an extent that it interferes with the flow of the story. These men were great golfers at one time and Nelson was a revered idol of the sport, but Hogan, Venturi and Ward were not. That they happened to play a great four ball match at Cypress Point in 1956 is ju...more
Tung
Five years ago, I read Frost's book The Greatest Game Ever Played, a nonfiction account of Francis Ouimet's stunning upset of Harry Vardon in the 1913 US Open, and the beginnings of golf as a major American sport -- and I loved it. Frost follows a similar formula in The Match. The book is a nonfiction account of a round of golf played in 1956 by the world's top two amateurs (Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward) and the world's top two professionals (the legends Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan). Frost relates...more
Kevin
The Match is probably the best book I have ever read about golf. It is a true story of a match between two young amateurs (Ken Venturi and Harvey Ward) and two of the best professional golfers of all time (Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson). It was not announced. It happened because of a bet between two millionaires (Eddie Lowery and George Coleman) the week of one of Bing Crosby's Clam Bakes at Pebble Beach. Lowery was part of another great story, when Francis Ouimet was the unlikely amateur winner of...more
Alan Livingston
On so many levels, this is what golf is all about: Friendship, competitive spirit, the wonder of nature, history. How we marvel at the excellence some can achieve at this game, matching as an individual against a unique course. "The Match" goes even farther, describing a team competition involving what might be four of the finest players possible that day. The compelling stories of all those who together came to intersect on a day over 50 years ago to turn this normal day into a lifetime event....more
Jason
I learned how to golf when I was four years old and started playing competitively at around twelve. This is relevant to you, the reader of this review, because if you haven't spent any time around the world of golf, golf courses, or golf people, you may get to the third chapter of this book, read for the umpteenth time the syrupy, melodramatic description of someone striking a small white orb with a stick, and proceed to light the book on fire. Then you will probably construct a small representa...more
Skip
By the same author as Greatest Game Ever Played...this book details a somewhat mythical best ball golf match sad to have occurred at Cypress Point Golf Club in California between the top two professionals of the day Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson (although Nelson was retired from competitive golf at the time of the match) and then amateurs Ken Venturi and Harvy Ward. The book is interesting in the detail of the lives of each player, the match itslf and the events of the surrounding golf world such a...more
Steve
This is simply, for me anyway, the best book of the decade.

The Match chronicles a golf game between four of the greatest golfers ever. Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson versus Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward. Hogan and Nelson were superstars, but past their prime, Venturi and Ward were the top amateurs of the day. Eddie Lowery, the kid who caddied for Francis Ouimet in the Open in 1913 is now a millionaire car dealer some forty years later. Venturi and Ward work for him, theoretically selling cars, but mai...more
Sm
This book was made to appeal to folks who like golf nostalgia. If this were a baseball book I would have liked it more. The personal stories of the four players were interesting and modestly entertaining. But they did not engage me in any emotional way. The golf scenes were fun but the only reason that I felt any tension about the match itself is because the author said there was tension. Also the descriptions of the golf course was nice but nothing could get excited about.

Sherman Langford
Very interesting read, as much a history of golfs biggest stars of 30's to the 50's. The match of the books title was a very interesting story. Byron Nelson emerges as hero and good guy for me. Had never heard of Harvey ward, but his was fascinating story. Also the setting on Monterey peninsula is favorite place, even though I never played gold there.

Well told story, great telling of history making people and events.

I need to play more golf!
Jennifer Burke
Great book for golf fans and sports history buffs. Frost is an good writer & story-teller and really takes you into the times and people of important, and often little known, sporting events in US history. "The Match" tells a wonderful tale of the crossover period of time when 'professional' golf as we now know it was first on the rise and the end of the reign of the country-squire, playboy, monied amateur as golf's preferred elite. It details the role TV played, as well as special events be...more
Adam
Feb 18, 2008 Adam rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Golfers
Recommended to Adam by: Kyle
Shelves: sports-books
This is a compelling story about a best ball match between two famous pros and two famous amateur golfers of their day. If you play golf, this is a very entertaining book and story about some well known greats in the game. If you don't play golf, don't bother reading this one. You probably already knew that just from the title, but you never know. For instance, one of my wife's favorite movies is "Legend of Bagger Vance" and she isn't a golfer. However, she enjoys the philosophy and the emotions...more
Chris Dickerson
An excellent book about a golf match that I am sure most people never knew occurred. A wager between two rich golf patrons, Eddie Lowrey (Francis Ouimet's caddie when Ouimet became the first American to win the U.S. Open) and George Coleman is settled when two amateurs, Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi, play two professional legends, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan. For any fan of golf, this book is a must read. Switching between the match itself and historical vignettes about the players, golf's transiti...more
Vojtěch
Tak tedy nevím. Na jednu stranu to bylo čtivý, ale na druhou stranu moc faktický. Kdyby Mark Frost upravil Zápas do románové podoby, a ne jen slovo od slova - jako nějaký kronikář - povyprávěl, co se stalo a zaplétal do toho osudy hlavních postav, bylo by to zcela jiné kafé. Takhle za mě pouze tři hvězdy. A to golf jako takový nijak neodsuzuji, kniha mi pouze nesedla.
Turi
Well, last year I didn't read a golf book until the third book of the year. This year, earlier. Mark Frost is the author of one of my all time favorite golf books, The Greatest Game Ever Played. (Don't watch the movie; I quit halfway...) His new book is called The Match: The day the game of golf changed forever. Again: awesome golf book. Frost gives us the blow by blow on a bestball match played just before the 1956 Bing Crosby between professionals Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson and then amateurs K...more
Lloyd
A fine writer tells the story of a foursome that got together at Cypress Point on a bet one day in 1956. Golf promoter (and famous caddy) Eddie Lowery dared a friend to bring any two golfers to face off against two amateurs he sponsored, the superb Ken Venturi and the brilliant Harvey Ward. His friend showed up the next morning with Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, the greatest professional golfers of their generation. The book is limited only by the scarcity of detail - Venturi is the only surviving...more
Angela
Mark Frost could write about watching paint dry and make it sound interesting. This was a book by Mark Frost, so it was an interesting and enjoyable book.
It wasn't great, though. The Greatest Game Ever Played was one of the best books I've ever read. That's partly due to Mark Frost, but it's also partly due to great characters and a gripping story line. I just didn't care about Hogan and Ward and Venturi and Nelson the way I cared about Vardon and Ouimet. And I just, at the end of the day, didn'...more
Joseph
Marvelous story about an informal golf match between two pros (Hogan, Nelson) and two amateurs (Venturi, Ward) at a turning point in the history of American golf. The reader is treated to a wonderfully written play-by-play as well as the background and shared history of the principals in the match. We get a glimpse of the friendships between the men, a history of the USGA up until that point, and how Cypress Point (where the match was played) came into being. The book's only shortcoming is the l...more
Dave Thorner
This is the best book I have read in a long time. Enjoyed learning about the lives and careers of Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan. I also liked the fact that it gave me an insight of what amateur golf back in the day was all about.
Curtis
Great depth into the history surrounding Hogan, Nelson, Venturi and Ward. I have a better appreciation of what the early pro's went through, thanks to this book's accounting of their hard times. Even though this book didn't focus on the mechanics of golf, reading about how these incredible players played this match has helped me improve my own course management techniques. Frost cleverly leads you into the player's minds on the day of The Match, a journey that surveys each one's background and m...more
Pat Phillips
Maybe this book is about a golf match in California in 1956. I believe it's about the evolution of golf from an amateur game to a professional game for the world's best players. The backdrop is the four-ball match between seasoned pros Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan (Nelson 10 years retired and Hogan near the end of his career) and amateurs Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward. Never heard of Ward? Trust me, he was really good. Asked about Ward, Venturi once said, "Nicklaus in his prime? Harvie in his prime?...more
Stephanie
This is a great history book if you're interested in the origins of golf, some of the greatest golf players of all time, and how professional golf took the place of the high-class amateur golf. I wasn't as thrilled with the writing and found the speed of the narrative lagged at times. I also didn't find the subject as interesting as promised, and it was tough to understand certain parts if you don't know everything about how the game is played. But overall, an interesting and informative history...more
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Great Story 1 10 Oct 21, 2008 03:29PM  
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