Attention K Club Shoppers

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The holiday season is hurtling towards us with the force of a Jason Zuback tee ball being driven through the thickest phone book in all of Manhattan. Thats right, approximately 75 shopping days until Christmas.
 
The relevance here is that theres this coffee table golf book that you might want to consider. Personally, I love coffee table golf books. Lots of great pictures accompanied, often, by lots of wonderful words.
 
But this one: Where Golf is Great, The Finest Courses of Scotland and Ireland by James W. Finegan is the mother of all coffee table golf books. In fact, you better have the mother of all coffee tables to prop up this colorful work. It weighs in at nine pounds. I measured it.
 
Which is not to say it is a heavy read in any offputting kind of way. Finegan, a two-handicapper who lives near Philadelphia, has previously written five books on golf and you will see his byline in multifarious golf magazines.
 
The cover of this latest tome is a tipoff. It is a sweeping view of the ninth hole at Northern Irelands Royal County Down, which is only the most breathtaking panorama, in my opinion, in all of golf.
 
I remember with clarity the first time I saw it. My playing partners had all been to RCD before and when we got to the crest that reveals the view, they and the caddies all stayed behind and let me go first.
 
Something like Youve got to be kidding me, were the first words out of my mouth as I gazed down at the Mourne mountains, Dundrum Bay, the village of Newcastle and, yes, the ninth green.
 
It was all good. Photography in this book was accomplished by Laurence Lambrecht and Tim Thompson. I have played golf with Larry Lambrecht. He knows his way around a lens and a roundabout and a links course.
 
Finegan here also delivers the goods on hotels, restaurants, sights and attractions in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.
 
You probably have heard of Turnberry and Carnoustie and Muirfield and Portmarnock and the K Club and Ballybunion. You will also, in this book, learn more about enchanting must-play venues with names like Crail, Machrihanish, Western Gailes, Rosapenna, Connemara and Ballyliffin.
 
Finegan has made more than 40 visits to Ireland and Scotland since 1971. Both, he says, offer the grand game in all its glory.
 
This book isnt necessarily the sine qua non of coffee table golf books. But its a terrific start. But if you are strong enough to heft it, flush enough to fork over 60 U.S. dollars and lucky enough to have the time to pore over it, you might decide that it leaves the rest of its genres competition in Finegans wake.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt