The Hole Truth


“The Hole Truth’ by Brendan Barratt

Being and avid reader and a super-keen golfer I hesitated not one moment to purchase “The Hole Truth” for the princely sum of R299.00 (expensive by book standards). I love to read auto-biographies and biographies, particularly of iconic sport heroes. Heroic golfers are amongst my favourite.

When I review a book I consider four things:

  • Value for money
  • Interesting content (backed up by accurate research if necessary)
  • Decent design, layout and illustration
  • Quality Production

Rather like going to play at strange golf course, where the experience is determined by six things:

  • Value for money
  • A great course
  • An organised Pro-Shop
  • A sociable ’vibe’ in the pub
  • A decent half-way house
  • A clean change room

In my view if any of the above criteria are missing, both in respect of books and/or golf courses then the experience is compromised.

“The Hole Truth” is a collection of some 250 anecdotal stories, memories, and reminisces of Dale Hayes, Simon Hobday and Denis Hutchison grouped into 68 chapters. It is not meant to be anything else. Some of the stories are genuinely amusing, some really quite interesting and some (too many in my mind) rather puerile. Overall I did enjoy what is a very simple and brief read.

But a book is not just about the read, it is about the design, the layout, the illustrations, the quality of the paper, the quality of the binding – the overall publishing ‘look and feel’ –  i.e. value for money.


Every other sporting biography I have purchased always has a collection of quality picture inserts. Barry Richard’s ‘Sundial in the Shade’ comes with 30 high resolution pictures, at a cost of R229.00. ‘Moe and Me – Golf’s mysterious Genius’ has some 18 full page colour inserts on high quality paper, at a cost of R250.00. ‘Golf Memorabilia’ a full colour 200 page book beautifully designed, with colour pictures on every page, comes in at R225.00.

‘The Hole Truth’ is poorly designed, has no pictures of the 50 or so golfers anecdotally described, just a bunch of rather unkind, uncomplimentary ‘cheap and nasty’ cartoon caricatures. It has no pictures of the iconic golf courses visited, nor copies of some of the remarkable scorecards. The layout has many unnecessary blank spaces. The paper quality and binding is poor.

So much more could have done and frankly should have been done, at R299.00, to publish a proud South African book with the anecdotal reminisces – including memorable images – of three of the most admired, entertaining and flamboyant characters of SA golf.

Sadly, it will probably find its way into the small room in my house and not stand proud with my sporting biography collection.

My recommended ‘value for money’ retail price – R112.50 inclusive of VAT.


Steuart Pennington