Goodbye John Updike, Lyrical Lover of Golf

John Updike is probably best known for his ribald tales of suburban sexual meanderings in mid-20th century America; award winning literary novels rendered in prose so heartbreakingly lyrical, it takes your breath away.

His characters inhabit wealthy New England towns - suburbs of New York or Boston - and their hedonistic quest for meaning in this superficial society, frequently leads them to adulterous liaisons that end badly.

Many of these flawed and fragile characters play golf, which is not surprising considering the country club world they live in, and also because Mr. Updike himself was so passionate about the game. - This passion led him to write about golf a fairly regular basis.

Updike's "Golf Dreams" is the best golf writing I've ever read. It's a collection of essays, poems and short fiction, originally written for publications such as The New Yorker and Golf Digest. Amazingly these pieces are as soaring, sparkling and full of breathtaking descriptions, as his novels.

John Updike was a master wordsmith, and whether his words were spilling onto the austere, frost-stiffened December fairways of a Massachusetts golf course, or furtively navigating the cloistered lushness of a leafy Connecticut cul-de-sac, they often inspired me to ask myself, "How did he make that passage so beautiful?"

John Updike died today of lung cancer at age 76. He will be much missed.