My knowledge of the game of Golf is to say the least limited. I did play once, somehow I was persuaded to participate in what I was assured would be a fun day. My partner in crime was Barry, we arrived at the appropriate time, and at Barry’s behest, we had a 40 quart cooler full of beer and ice. I was in awe when my mentor Barry took the cooler and expertly put it in what seemed like a ‘made for’ spot at the back of the cart. A perfect fit, a perfect day!

Things went downhill when we were also given two heavy bags full of evil looking things. “Where the hell do we put these, and more importantly how do you decide which stick to use?”, Barry assured me he was an expert. 220 swipes later I determined that Golf was not my game. The sticks were fun to hold, we had them frosted down with the beer and ice. Before we even started our quest we had determined that either the 40 quart Igloo or the sticks had to go. I found my salvation in a Number One Wood, I played the entire round with it! Barry decided that the Putter looked better. 18 holes later and an average of 12 shots each per hole, we discovered to our shock that we had not won!

Steve Lundin luckily takes us into a different world. Golf is the backdrop to his very wonderful novel Shooting The Albatross. Maybe novel is the wrong word, the setting is Los Angeles at the beginning of World War II. Much of the backdrop in Shooting An Albatross is real. The Army did indeed commandeer a number of locations as training grounds, golf courses were on the list. Steve Lundin introduces us to the world of being an army recruit stationed at El Rancho Golf Course on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles.

A chance meeting between two upper echelon members, one from the navy, an admiral, and one from the army, a general, results in the gauntlet being thrown down. Who are the better golfers, the army or the navy? The two honcho’s cannot agree, the one thing that is clear is that while they are masters of the trade of war, neither are golfers of note. The solution is to look within their ranks and find the very best golfer in their respective branch.

The army sets their sights on a young private, Evan Wilkins. Evan may not be much of a soldier, but he has a reputation for being the golfer to beat. He is transferred to El Rancho and his duties involve little other than golfing. He has a month to master the course, and two instructors to help him. The Navy selects another golf whiz in Bentley Knudsen.

Of course a mere golf match would not make for much of a story. Oops I have likely upset the millions of golf lovers by that statement. What I meant to say is golf is merely the fairway that Steve Lundin uses to paint his story. Steve Lundin does a fabulous job of creating a most believable scenario, and he does it in such a creative way.

The book opens with someone talking to the 94 year old Major Floyd Akerly, the man who was in charge of El Rancho when the story started. The book ends with Major Floyd Akerly, and in a very surprising twist.

There is much more than golf in this book, there is a blossoming love affair, and a seething hatred festering in the background. Jealousy is an all consuming emotion, one that can drive a person to murder.

I would love to share more with you, but this is a story that you have to uncover for yourself. Shooting An Albatross is a wild wide. I was not sure that I would enjoy a book that seemed to be golf related, how wrong I was. I also leaned a few golf tips, I now know what a birdie, an eagle, and an albatross are. My own golfing experience might have introduced a new term, I suspect I scored a couple of DoDo’s on a few of the holes I played!

You can order your copy of Shooting An Albatross from Amazon.

Simon Barrett

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