Golf Stories: Farrell’s Caddie by John Updike

Golf Stories

Just like P. G. Wodehouse’s, John Updike is a famous novelist who loved golf. Updike had been introduced to the game when he was 25, and even as an amateur, he had managed to hit impressive shots every now and then. So I suppose it makes sense golf made it into his writings. 😀

Farrell’s Caddie, taken from Updike’s anthology The Afterlife: And Other Stories, centers around an American who had gone to Royal Caledonian Links in Scotland for a weekend of golf. There Farrell meets a caddie named Sandy who gives him tips on the game. At first, Farrell is not welcoming of Sandy’s bits of advice. Farrell even gets annoyed when Sandy constantly keeps offering him one club too short to make the green. But when Farrell realizes Sandy’s tips are actually sensible, his comes to accept his failures at the links as his own. “His caddie was handing the club to the stronger golfer latent in Farrell, and it was Farrell’s job to let this superior performer out, to release him from his stiff, soft, more than middle-aged body,” Farrell perceives. However, Farrell’s caddie relationship takes an unusual turn when Sandy starts offering him life advice!

Farrell’s Caddie is certainly not as funny as Wodehouse’s The Salvation of George Mackintosh, though I get its appeal – the story is about the sense of camaraderie between golf players and their caddies. And I just wish the story was long enough to see if Farrell really followed Sandy’s counsel! 😀

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