I just recieved a copy of Tripp Bowden’s book ‘Freddie & Me’ for review. The timing is particularly appropriate as the story mostly takes place at Augusta National where Tripp became the first full-time white caddy. Freddie is Freddie Bennett who was the Caddy Master at Augusta National for more than 40 years and mentored Tripp in golf and life.
This book is a little bit about how to play golf, growing up, Augusta National, the rich and famous, professional caddies, the mystical characters that constantly pop-up in golf stories and translating golf’s lessons into life lessons. Unfortunately the operative phrase in the last sentence is ‘little bit’. None of the above story lines gets fully formed which leaves you feeling a bit empty at the end of the book.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s an enjoyable read if you love all things golf, particularly what goes on from a caddy’s standpoint at one of the most storied clubs in the world. The book starts slowly, but picks up steam and interest in the last chapters as Bowden explains the peculiarities of carrying bags for some of the most powerful people in the world and how their approach to the game mirrors their approach to life.
In the book, the author is very honest about his own challenges growing up and how golf nearly trapped him, but ultimately saved him. I was all ears when Tripp writes about his experiences carrying bags for Augusta’s high profile members and their guests. For Tripp Bowden, caddying at Augusta probably helped him along in life more than if he had gone to graduate school at Harvard.
The title character, Freddie Bennett, sounds like someone every serious golfer would love to meet. He’s one of those ‘characters’ that golf seems uniquely able to produce – part friend, task master, psychiatrist, seer and Buddha. Here’s a man who lives simply and elegantly, passing wisdom to those smart enough to listen and sometimes leaving an indelible stamp on the lives of others.
What Tripp Bowden may have written isn’t a novel, but an idea piece for an excellent golf movie. All the little stories that this book tries to tell could be woven into a great script in the hands of a skilled writer. Tripp, you need to find a Hollywood director/producer who loves golf. Might that be a certain Mr. Eastwood?