An American Caddie In St. Andrews Book Review

An American Caddie in St. Andrews: Growing Up, Girls, and Looping on the Old Course

by Oliver Horovitz

Grade: A
Teacher’s Comments: Enjoyable beach read.

My job in the summer between high school and college was running carney games at an amusement park. And while I suppose that there is a book in that somewhere, it won’t be nearly as memorable or charming as Oliver Horovitz’s.

Informed of a delay in his admission as a freshman to Harvard, Horovitz decides to spend that gap year at the University of St. Andrews. Then, as the University year ends, Horovitz gets a job as a caddie on the Old Course. He has a good season, working his way up from barely tolerated caddie trainee to regular looper, but at the end, Horovitz quits to go to Harvard.

The next year, the lure of the links is too much, and Horovitz returns for another season. And then another, and another. Along the way, Horovitz graduates from barely tolerated outsider in the caddie shack to respected veteran.

An American Caddie in St Andrews is full of insider views of the storied course’s caddies, as well as vignettes of life in St. Andrews. It is also the story of a young man’s maturation. A particularly poignant sequence centers around Horovitz’s WWII veteran Uncle Ken, who lives in St. Andrews.

The subtitle is a bit deceiving: Growing Up, Girls and Looping On The Old Course. The “girls” don’t play any significant part of the story. I think that the publisher put that in there to drum up sales. A better subtitle would be Growing Up, Uncles and Looping On The Old Course. But that wouldn’t sell.

An American Caddie isn’t deathless literature, but it is an enjoyable read. It is episodic in nature, almost along the lines of a weekly column, rather than a unified novel. That makes it perfect beach reading. You can pick it up, read a chapter and then put it down.

But you won’t want to. You’ll want to keep reading it through in one go.

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