Ben Crenshaw was a 15-year-old growing up in Texas when his father gave him Charles Price’s 1962 book, The World of Golf, a 308-page treatise to the game’s venues, champions, implements and traditions that covered six centuries in words and pictures.
Crenshaw adored the game and was quite good at it, but so far his universe extended only as far as the out-of-bounds stakes at Austin Country Club and the local municipal course.
“I couldn’t have cut my teeth on a better book.” – Ben Crenshaw
“I couldn’t have cut my teeth on a better book,” Crenshaw says. “It has a little bit about everything. When I first read that book, I began to understand the rich history and colorful stars of the game of golf.”
Soon after, Charlie Crenshaw suggested to Ben that he enter the 1968 U.S. Junior Amateur, scheduled for The Country Club in the Boston suburb of Brookline. Ben lost in the quarterfinals but had a mesmerizing week — “The ground was so perfect, I was scared to take a divot,” he says — and the experience ignited a magical circle that ended in 1999 when Crenshaw captained the U.S. Ryder Cup team to its memorable final-day rally at The Country Club.
“It was perfectly natural. It was so history laden. You had to ask yourself: ‘Why? Who put this together? Who started this? Who nurtured it?’” -Ben Crenshaw
“I couldn’t have been luckier to see Brookline early on, when I was so young,” Crenshaw says. “It was rustic, it was New England, it seemed like the other side of the world from Austin, Texas. It was perfectly natural. It was so history laden. You had to ask yourself: ‘Why? Who put this together? Who started this? Who nurtured it?’ There was so much romance about it, and then I learned about it being one of the founding clubs of the USGA and the place where Francis Ouimet won the Open.
“Together, Charley Price’s book and my trip to Brookline set me off on a path I’ve enjoyed the rest of my life. They opened my eyes to a different world.”