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The Putting Green Whisperer (Review)

I grew up with golf in the house although I never learned nor played it. My father caddied in his youth and was an avid adult golfer.

In a Nutshell

Author Zoe M. McCarthy weaves the disparate, confusing and often hurtful emotional strands of young love into a believable and satisfying story. The lives of Allie Masterson, a University of North Carolina (UNC) graduate in sports training, and John “Shoo” Leonard, ranked number one for four years on the Wake Forest golf team and Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, collide in the world of a Professional Golf Association (PGA) tour. Allie caddies for her father in this Senior PGA tournament, while “Shoo” works as a traditional caddy for another senior contender in the same tournament.

I applaud author Zoe M. McCarthy. She convincingly brings together three themes in this novel: romance, Christian belief and sports (golf). Like a good cook, the author blends enough of each item to make a pleasurable and gratifying read. I heartily recommend this novel and hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

The Putting Green Whisperer

Who or What is "The Putting Green Whisperer?"

"Putting Green Whisperer" is the nickname Allie sticks on John "Shoo" Leonard, a tall, tan guy with a wonderful simile. He crouches down and studies a golf green’s pitch and undulations before putting the ball. Thus, he has the name "Putting Green Whisperer.” This name is sort of like the more popular dog or horse whisperer who understands the animals’ inner workings, except "Shoo" can read golf greens. Intrigued, Allie watches this impressive ability in her fellow caddy known as "Shoo." Allie's first good look at John “Shoo” Leonard is watching he and his buddies play a round of early evening golf.

Here is Allie Masterson

Allie is not a complicated person. She loves golf and appreciates people who loved golf. Allie is excellent at and likes to encourage people, especially those who golf. "Shoo's" easy-going nature bothers Allie. She desperately wants to help her father in his first PGA tour - now the Senior tour - come back since her mother's death. She was her father's biggest fan and is looking forward to helping him by caddying. The death of Allie's mother, a strong Christian, left Allison with little belief in God and prayer. She is lost without the closeness she once felt with her Mom.

Allie and "Shoo's" Romance

How Allie and “Shoo” come together romantically and as life-long teammates make an engaging, delightful-to-read story. Their loving, but too often authoritarian, families and a shared love of all things golf give Allie and “Shoo” solid foundations on which to build a relationship. “Shoo” finds comfort and direction in his Bible and Christian beliefs. He wants to be the Eric Liddell of golf, an example for aspiring young golfers. "Shoo" prays that Allie will return to her belief in God and prayer.

Professional Caddy Working with a Professional Golfer

Australia's Richard Green and his caddie read the 9th-hole green during round 3 of the French Golf Open at the Golf National in Saint Quentin en Yvelines, Saturday July 6th 2013.

Australia's Richard Green and his caddie read the 9th-hole green during round 3 of the French Golf Open at the Golf National in Saint Quentin en Yvelines, Saturday July 6th 2013.

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The Work of a Golf Caddy

Traditional caddies are the only kind used in Professional Golf Association (PGA) and Ladies PGA tournaments. Traditional caddies do more than carry bags of clubs.

The traditional caddy walks the course with the player giving advice and support almost like a coach. They handle a myriad of specialized duties like cleaning the ball, raking the bunkers, replacing divots and holding the flag. Great caddies are also skilled in helping to determine the distances to the pins, advising their golfers on which club to use and informing them how their game is holding up. Sometimes they also discuss game improvements with their golfers. They must wear bibs with names and logos of the tournament sponsors, but they can display their own logos on their hats or shirtsleeve. Good caddies usually receive a percentage of their golfers' winnings as pay.

Having grown up with a father who caddied in his youth and was an avid adult golfer, I was curious about the book's title. I received a free copy of this book from the author and voluntarily chose to review it.

A Simple 18-hole Scorecard

Some Traditional Golf Scoring Terms and Their Meanings

Information From: Golf For Dummies, 4th Edition By Gary McCord




Albatross/double eagle

Three strokes under par


Two strokes under par


One stroke under par


Score a good player would expect to make on a hole or round


One stroke over par

Double Bogey

Two strokes over par

Driver: One of Five Basic Types of Typically Used Golf Clubs

Pixabay License Free for commercial use  No attribution required

Pixabay License Free for commercial use No attribution required

Golf Club Use on Course

Information from: Golf For Dummies, 4th Edition By Gary McCord

Golf ClubUsage on the Course


Teeing off — and occasionally hitting from a good lie in the fairway

Hybrid Club

Getting shots of 150+ yards airborne


Hitting toward the green, usually from 120–190 yards away — use low-numbered irons for longer shots, high-numbered irons for shorter shots


Hitting short, high shots from near the green or from sand bunkers


Rolling the ball into the hole after it’s on the green (or occasionally from just off the green)

© 2019 Georgene Moizuk Bramlage

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