Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review of "The Shababa Manifesto"

I love to head out to the local golf course on weekend and knock the ball around for a couple hours. Now I never have been all that good at the game and have no illusions that someday I will be on the level of Jordan Spieth or Jack Nicklaus. In the vernacular of this book, I am known as a "Shababa." This book about golfers like me who will always play at this level is a quick, entertaining and hilarious read that I highly recommend. Here is my review of "The Shababa Manifesto"

“The Shababa Manifesto” by Hubba Costello

Golf, humor, how-to

Publish date:
May 18, 2015

104 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

There are all levels of golfers and this book is dedicated to those who enjoy playing the game but will never achieve a level of play and skill that is above mediocre.   If a reader is one who fits this description, like I do, then “The Shababa Manifesto” is a book that person must read.

The book starts with a definition of a “Shababa”, or also Baba for short: “Shababas are nothing more, and nothing less, than roving nomads of golf; pathetic, hopeless thrashers of the ball who insist on playing the game in spite of their enduring mediocrity.”  The author, Hubba Costello, goes on to state that a Shababa will always stink at golf.  Now this may sound cruel, but it isn’t – it is stated as a simple fact, and there are nineteen chapters to explain why.  

If that definition wasn’t enough to make the reader realize that this is a light, humorous book, then keep reading.  The chapters are labeled as a hole on the course – 1 through 18, and of course, everyone’s favorite place for a drink, the 19th hole.  This can also be loosely called a how-to book for Shababas as well.  However, instead of lessons that will tell one how to grip a club or where the hands should be located on the follow through, this book will give tips on how a Shababa can actually win money on the course when playing with better golfers.

As an example of both the humor and the “lessons” in the book, take Hole number 2 and the topic of practice.  Many golf teachers will tell a student that he or she has to practice many hours and hundreds of shots on the range in order to improve.  That theory doesn’t work for Shababas in the book.  The theory goes that because there are no consequences on the range, how will a Shababa improve his chance of hitting that green out of a steep bunker because he achieved that on his fifth shot in a perfectly raked and level bunker?   As a card-carrying Shababa, this made sense to me. 

The other good (and hilarious) tip in the book is that the most helpful item in a Shababa’s bag is the pencil.  The author explains that the pencil is what is used to mark dots on the scorecard.  The dots represent the strokes allowed on holes for players with the higher handicap, thus making it easier for the Shababa to win a hole against a better golfer.  I was laughing very hard during these passages as they were quite funny on describing how that Baba will win those holes.

These are just a couple of examples of the context of the book.  It is not serious, very funny and has many situations where a Shababa will read about it and say to himself “I can relate to that!”  It was a line I certainly said many times while reading this book.

A very entertaining and funny read, this book is one that can be read by anyone who enjoys the game, whether a Shababa or an excellent golfer.  After reading this book, anyone who plays who doesn’t enjoy a day on the course a little more is one who takes the game very seriously.  That is something NOT recommended for a Shababa.

I wish to thank NetGalley for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Pace of the book:
It was a very fast read, not only because of the humor and organization of the book, but also because the dialogue and vocabulary are fairly simple.  One doesn’t need to have a dictionary of golf terms on the nearby table in order to understand the stories.

Do I recommend? 
Most readers, even if they have never picked up a golf club in their life, will enjoy the humor and connection with the everyday person in this book.  For readers who are Shababas, it is a must-read.

Book Format Read:
E-Book (Kindle)

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