Unless you play, books about golf — Harvey Penick’s “Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime of Golf” or “A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour” by John Feinstein — can seem a little dull.
Not so Oliver Horovitz’s new book about caddying in Scotland. Horovitz, whose father is the celebrated playwright (and Gloucester Stage Company founder) Israel Horovitz, tells some entertaining tales in “An American Caddie in St. Andrews: Growing Up, Girls, and Looping on the Old Course.”
And he’ll share some of those stories when he reads at the Harvard Coop April 2.
Horovitz, whose brother is Beastie Boy Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, started playing golf when he was 9 years old, and began caddying at Bass Rocks Golf Club in Gloucester when he was 12. (That first summer, he was paid $20 to carry a 70-pound golf bag containing three six-packs of beer.)
At 17, when he was deferred admission to Harvard, Horovitz took his 1.8 handicap to St. Andrews University, figuring he could hit the Old Course when he wasn’t hitting the books.
“St. Andrews is just fantastic. There are 31 pubs and the drinking age is 18 — and it’s loosely enforced,” he told us. “And everyone plays golf.”
Horovitz quickly fell in love with the people and the place, and though he eventually came back to go to Harvard, he has returned to caddy at St. Andrews every summer since.
“It’s the epicenter of the golf world, and the caddies in the shack, they’ve grown up walking that course and they can tell you which way a 50-foot putt is going to break,” he said.
Because St. Andrews is such a mecca for golf fanatics, Horovitz has caddied for his share of celebrities, including Larry David — “no big deal, just the best four hours of my life” — Michael Douglas (who blurbed the book), Andy Garcia, Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres, and singer Huey Lewis, who’s got serious game.
“He’s a really good golfer and hilarious to walk around with,” said Horovitz, who also did tequila shots with lovely LPGA player Paula Creamer on her 21st birthday.
The book tour includes bookstores, of course, but also some golf clubs. Horovitz will speak at Bass Rocks May 25 and at Rockport Golf Club the next day.