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New Release | Sandman: A Golf Tale by @DavidWBerner #fiction #golf #comingofage #bookboost





Book Blurb

A young boy is in love with the game of golf, but he doesn't understand why. He has a natural talent and an enviable swing but playing the game well is not enough. There's something missing. When Jimmy, the homeless man who spends his days cheering on golfers from his usual sitting spot just off the 5th green at Old Elm Municipal Golf course goes missing, the young boy becomes curious. His quest uncovers Jimmy's mysterious link to the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland and reveals a life in golf that not only fascinates but sends the boy on a personal journey to discover the magic of an ancient game and its deeper meaning for a young man doing his best to find his path in the world.


Most everyone called him Jimmy. A few called him Jack. There were those at Old Elm who were unsure if either was his real name, but he answered to both, nonetheless. The talk had been that he grew up somewhere nearby, but like this name, this was uncertain. And if someone did know for sure, they didn’t say. Most players would call out or tip their hats as they walked up the fairway and the short hill toward the 5th green. Jimmy, in his soiled Top Flite ball cap would wave and smile, craggy and crooked. He was always there, it seemed, sitting on his coat near the maple at the property fence a few yards west of the green, encouraging a putt to fall or clapping for a good chip shot. But it had been several days now, and no one had seen Jimmy.

“He must be on a bender,” the young boy said, propping his stand bag on the fringe off the left side of the green. “He kind of disappeared.”

His friend, another boy about the same age, shrugged his shoulders.

“We’ve been doing this for two summers now, you and me, playing almost every day and every time we see that guy,” the first boy said.

“I heard he sleeps in that sand trap,” said the second boy, pointing to the green’s only bunker. “Like a goat or sheep or something.”

“I think they’d throw him out if he really did that.”

“Probably smells like my uncle,” the second boy continued, recalling the time his approach shot landed close to Jimmy’s usual spot.

“Your uncle?”

“Like shit. Booze, probably,” he said, stroking his putt to gimme range.

The first boy’s shot had landed on the green’s apron. He used his putter to knock the ball a few inches beyond the cup.

“Pick it up,” his friend said.

“Remember that time he pretended to be an announcer, doing play-by-play like the guys on TV?” the first boy asked. “Here we are at Augusta,” the second boy whispered in a golf voice. “Yep. It was funny. I think you made that putt and he cheered like somebody in the gallery on the tour.”

As the boys threw their golf bags on their shoulders and headed for the 6th tee, the first boy wondered aloud, “Maybe he died or something.”

Jimmy was thin and gaunt, his shoulders slumped into his bony build, his hands spotted from the sun, his temples held deep wrinkles, his voice full of tobacco smoke. If a golfer got close enough, he could see his yellow teeth, his salt-and-pepper stubble, and the red, blotchy skin of his cheeks. His eyes, however, deep brown like coffee beans, always appeared clear and alert, and around his neck he wore a small silver cross that glistened when the sun hit it at a particular angle. One might bet he never took it off.

After the round, the boys bought sodas at the counter in the clubhouse snack bar and took them to the picnic table on the small patio overlooking the 18th green. The first group from the old timer’s league was putting out.

“That was for an 8. You can bet on that,” the first boy said to his friend as the last putt dropped and the man with a belly like a basketball and a black compression brace around his right knee pumped his fist.

The second boy laughed. “It was really a 10, though. I don’t think they take any more than an 8 on the card. Make their own rules.”

“I saw one of the guys take out a carpenter’s measuring tape from his bag once to measure his buddy’s ball from the pin,” said the first boy. “Laid it right out on the green.”

“Some closest-to-the-pin bet, probably.”

The big belly man noticed the boys watching and said, “You see that putt, fellas? That was for the money.”

“Nice,” the first boy said.

“It’s my recent good luck. Had it for two weeks, now,” the man said, removing his ball from the hole with the tiny suction cup at the end of his putter grip.

“Got to take advantage when you can,” the first boy added. “Ever since Jimmy blessed me, I’ve been a different player.” The boys looked at one another. “The homeless dude?” the second boy whispered. The first boy shrugged.

“Do you mean the guy that always hangs round the 5th green?” the first boy asked the man.

“Yep. He saw me four-putt one day,” the man said, walking to his cart. “Said he had a cure. Stood up and did this crazy dance and chanted something weird. Said it would remove the bad spirits from my bag. He was trying to make me feel better, make me laugh. But guess what? Ever since, I’m making absolutely everything.”

“Guy must know something,” the second boy said, smiling.

The old man stood near the edge of the green at the cart path, shaking hands with his buddies, and turned back to the boys, “Hey, by the way, did you see him out there today?”

“Nope. Wasn’t there,” the first boy said.

Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub)

Author Biography

David W. Berner is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, author, and teacher. He has been honored as the Writer-in-Residence at the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, Florida and at the Ernest Hemingway Home in Oak Park, Illinois. He is the author of eight books of memoir and fiction and has his books have been awarded prizes by the Chicago Writers Association, the Society of Midland Authors, and the Eric Hoffer Book Prize. His broadcast reporting and audio documentaries have been aired on the CBS Radio Network, NPR’s Weekend Edition and a number of public radio stations across America.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @davidwberner

Instagram: @davidwberner

1 Comment

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N. N. Light
Jul 01, 2022

Thank you, David, for sharing your new release with us! I loved this book. Perfect for golfers and golf watchers.

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