Book Review: Loopers by John Dunn


A Caddie’s Twenty-Year Golf Odyssey

by John Dunn

“A looper, you know, a caddie, a looper, a jock. So I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Calais Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama… So we finish the 18th and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, ‘Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something for the effort, you know.’ And he says, “Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.’ So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.” – Carl Spackler, from “Caddyshack”.

I don’t like golf. I didn’t enjoy it in high school even though we only had to try hitting the ball for 2 weeks. Two weeks was even too long. Tennis I like. Football has a lot of action. Bowling and baseball are considered to be sports. But golf? Paint dries faster than 18 holes of golf. If I had to choose between the two I would prefer to watch paint dry.

So how then did I end up buying and reading a book about golf? Daphne and I were at one of our favorite bargain stores, The Dollar Tree. As we walked in, there was a box of books for only a dollar. We looked through them all. For some reason the name LOOPERS got me interested. I read the book description and I put it back because golf is not my thing. However, I ended up going back to the bin and adding it to the cart. Maybe I got it because I love the movie “Caddyshack”.

I actually found this guy to be a good storyteller and it was so interesting to hear about his travels as an itinerant caddie. He certainly wasn’t afraid to pack his backpack hitchhike across the country. I am sure that caddie’s are better paid than what he wrote in the book. The top dollars go to caddie’s who work for the pros, like Arnold Palmer (RIP!) and Tiger Woods.

It isn’t always a bowl of cherries. Many of the caddies live hand to mouth. Some drink a lot of their money away. The author seemed to do well. He did write a fair amount about getting drunk, smoking marijuana, or playing golf when high on mushrooms. Hmm. No further comments on this. I don’t want to climb up on my soapbox.

In case you didn’t know, the “game” of golf was invented in the bonny land o’ Scotland. John even took a trip to Scotland to play on the original golf course where the game began. I learned that caddie’s not only carry the clubs, but they also measure distances and check the lie and fix the digits that the clubs make in the turf.

I have to say I enjoyed his stories and actually found I learned a few things. This does not make me like golf any better, though. I would recommend this book as an entertaining look forward into the life of a looper. Fun read. Try it and see for yourself what you think. If you are a golfer I hope I haven’t offended you. I cannot guarantee that after reading the book your handicap will improve or that you will win the Master’s Tournament, but you may come to appreciate your caddie a little bit better.


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