Picks and Pans Review: Around the World in 18 Holes

updated 07/11/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/11/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Tom Callahan and Dave Kindred

Casual golfers will probably dislike the authors of this book. Fanatical hackers, however, will hate their guts when jealously reading this light-hearted chronicle of the ultimate golfer's fantasy. Callahan, a columnist for U.S. News & World Report, and Kindred, a contributor to The Sporting News, logged 37,000 miles playing golf at storied and exotic courses in 20 countries, including Russia and Belgium. Among their stops: Iceland, where they dined on shark meat and sipped blue wine before a midnight tee-off, and Nepal, where the duffers had to battle dragonflies and leeches throughout 18 holes.

The authors make the occasional wry observation (they note that the course they played in China is proudly touted as combining "the beauty of semi-nature and semiartificiality"). It's clear from their bittersweet musings that Callahan and Kindred are using the trip to chase away some vague midlife disappointments. In less talented hands, the book could have been a self-absorbed slog. Instead it's an engaging, often insightful read. (Doubleday, $23)

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