18 Holes with Bing Book Review
Golf, Life, and Lessons from Dad
By Mike May
If you never had the chance to meet or see a live performance by the late, great Bing Crosby, then I highly suggest you read 18 Holes with Bing - a series of stories about this American entertainment icon, through the memories and recollections of his youngest child, Nathaniel Crosby, who won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at the Olympic Club. In essence, this book was written by a golfer about another golfer. It just so happens that the author is a son who wrote about his father. Not surprisingly, the book has 18 chapters -- very appropriate for a book with a golf theme.
18 Holes with Bing is filled with a series of interesting, humorous, and refreshingly positive stories about a man who was much more than a musical legend. In the words of his second wife, Kathryn, Bing was really a "golfer that sang." He was also a minority owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, a co-founder of the Del Mar race track in southern California, and an avid outdoorsman, who loved to hunt and fish. It is obvious that Bing Crosby was a sports loving kind of guy. More importantly, he was also a great and caring father who was a tremendous provider for this family, but not an enabler. Just ask Nathaniel. Bing Crosby worked for everything that he had and he instilled that work ethic in his children.
Bing died at age 74 in August of 1977 of a heart attack after playing a round of golf while on a vacation in Spain. After reading 18 Holes with Bing, it quickly becomes clear that the world lost Bing at too early of an age. Fortunately, Bing remains alive and well to this day through the many songs that he sang and movies he starred in with Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. Of course, Bing comes to life every Christmas when we hear the recording of the famous song White Christmas. Until I read the book, I didn't realize how influential Bing was both in music and in golf. He positively impacted music -- both inside and outside studios and recording halls. And, he positively influenced golf - both on and off the golf course. Bing Crosby was the one who introduced the pro-am concept to golf.
When Nathaniel Crosby won the U.S. Amateur in 1981, it's refreshing to see how Bing's wife honored her late husband on the day of the final. It was a fitting and appropriate way to recognize Nathaniel's dad, but you'll have to read the book to see what Kathryn did that day. Nathaniel's U.S. Amateur victory also produced quite an emotional reaction from Bob Hope, who watched the final that day on television.
What makes 18 Holes with Bing such an enjoyable book to read is how much Bing Crosby was just a regular guy, just like the good neighbor next door. It would have been refreshing to have Bing Crosby as a neighbor. And, after reading this book, you'll probably know more about Bing Crosby than your good neighbor next door.
Reading 18 Holes with Bing is truly a must-read for anybody who plays golf, enjoys music, or likes to read about the life of an American icon, who was really a "golfer that sang."
18 Holes with Bing: Golf, Life, and Lessons from Dad Hardcover
by Nathaniel Crosby
Revised: 06/15/2016 - Article Viewed 28,872 Times
About: Mike May
Mike May is a Wellington, Florida-based freelance golf and sportswriter, who is also a 25+ year public relations and communications executive in the sporting goods industry. He is also a veteran high school soccer official, an experienced high school basketball coach, an avid athlete, a part-time personal trainer, and a passionate golfer who is forever in pursuit of Old Man Par. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America.
Contact Mike May:
GolfTrips.com - Contributor