For nearly as long as there have been golfers, there have been men walking alongside them, carrying their clubs, holding the flagstick, offering advice, smelling not so faintly of old sweat and very new wine. We knew them by their nicknames and little else; we called them Pinehurst Bill, Shorty, Rags, Preacher, Front Lip, Big Red, Fog City, Cemetery, Shotgun, Stovepipe. They described their profession in their own distinctive way: they shipped the trunk; pulled the strap; hauled the load. They were with us every step of the way -- although, to be honest, they usually quick-hopped a few paces ahead or lagged a couple behind. But they were always there when we asked for help. We called them caddies.
Today the Caddie is disappearing from the emerald ocean that is the golfer's territory. He has been replaced by machines that carry us and our bags down concrete ribbons or onto the greensward itself, by radar scopes that give us precise distances to any object, by meters that gauge wind, and by polarized lenses that filter out the sun and detect the slightest hump or ridge. But no machine can read a sidehill putt or sense the fear in a man's eye when he's standing over a short pitch across the water, when the cold facts mean far less than the confidence expressed by a fellowman who says, "Smooth it in there, champ; you got that shot."
Caddies are the griots of golf, the storytellers who carry centuries of lore along with the bags, tees, and headcovers. Bo Links has listened to their tales, and in Riverbank Tweed and Roadmap Jenkins he has created two of the most memorable yarn-spinners you'll ever meet. Riverbank, young Harry Tweed, is a boy searching for his place in the world and for a place to hide; Roadmap, so named for his uncanny ability to read a green (and not, as some surmise, for the capillary tracings in his aging eyes), has found his place on the fringes and in the shadows, where anonymity and invisibility mean safety and survival. Roadmap takes Riverbank under his wing and teaches him the particulars of the profession -- but more important, shows him how golf can be the window into a man's soul. The lessons Riverbank learns are drawn from his experiences in the game, but have applications far beyond the out-of-bounds stakes.
The stories that make up Riverbank Tweed and Roadmap Jenkins take us on a tour of some of the most renowned real estate in golf, including The Olympic Club, host to four U.S. Opens, and Cypress Point, the ultra-exclusive masterpiece where beauty, danger, and imagination combine to create the world's most unforgettable golfing terrain. The matches that take place on these courses range from an enterprising little game between two priests bent on glory at all costs to a variation of golf played under one simple rule -- you may not touch or replace your ball no matter what -- to a perfect round, played on the perfect golf course, in the most imperfect conditions imaginable, by a player who cannot hear the sound of the barriers he is shattering.
By turns comic, thought-provoking, moving, and entertaining, Riverbank Tweed and Roadmap Jenkins will forever change the way you look at the game of golf, and at the men who walk with you while you plumb-bob its mysteries.