Book Signing Scheduled at The Country Bookshop -- Dodson: Coming 'Home'
"'Final Rounds' Author Jim Dodson Settles In" read the headline in the June 8, 2005, issue of The Pilot.
"Famed golf writer and editor James Dodson is planning to spend as much as a year living in Southern Pines, writing columns and features for The Pilot while he works on a book about living in the Sandhills."
"It's a coup for The Pilot," publisher David Woronoff said at the time. "I can't think of another newspaper in North Carolina -- or the Southeast, for that matter -- that can boast of a staffer who has written three best-selling books."
What, readers wondered, would the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning author and golf journalist write about in his first Sunday column?
Pants. "But not just any pants. Green pants."
Dozens of columns in The Pilot, and his "Sweet Tea Chronicles" in the PineStraw magazine followed, each one more memorable than the next, like "Molly Helps Complete the Circle," the story of his sprinkling the ashes of his mother's old dog among the flowerbeds at her former home in Greensboro. His writing has earned him a legion of new fans as well as the N.C. Press Association's top prize in several categories.
Now, his long-awaited book about his journey back to North Carolina is finally here.
On Thursday, May 14, at 6 p.m. at The Country Bookshop in downtown Southern Pines, Dodson will present, "A Son of the Game: A Story of Golf, Going Home, and Sharing Life's Lessons."
Dodson began his career in journalism in 1977 at the Greensboro Daily News where his father, Braxton Dodson, had worked as an aviation writer and part-time ad salesman. Six years later, he was headed for a long-anticipated job interview at the Washington Post, a job he wasn't sure he wanted.
"In that case, Bo," Dodson's father said, "why don't you write about things you love? Things you care about or that simply interest you, and everything may fall into place. Things we love tend to take us where we need to go."
That advice ended up changing the direction of his career, Dodson says. He turned down the Post job and went to work instead for Yankee Magazine in rural New Hampshire, vowing to write only about things that either made someone laugh or pause or think, a career shift that opened a whole new world of possibilities and perhaps, looking back, may have even saved his life.
Four of Dodson's seven books are about his relationship with members of his family -- his father ("Final Rounds," 1996), his daughter, Maggie ("Faithful Travelers", 1998), his son, Jack ("The Road to Somewhere", 2003), and now, "A Son of the Game," about the bonds between father and son.
"My good friend Jim Dodson seems to come up with one good book after another," says golf legend Arnold Palmer. "But he produces something particularly powerful, something extra when he writes about his own life experiences, as in his first book, the highly acclaimed 'Final Rounds,' and his latest, 'A Son of the Game.' He is now the father, passing on to his son, Jack, the love and contentment he has rediscovered in golf and family. Once again, Jim touches the heartstrings."
"My old man was the original Silver Lining Guy," Dodson writes of his father, "a man who could have taught the entire Hemlock Society the power of positive thinking. As a teenager I dubbed him, not entirely kindly, Opti the Mystic because of his relentless good cheer, his imperturbable knack of seeing any problem or crisis as 'an opportunity for growth.'
"I've weathered the ordinary ups and downs of life with a certain grace and good humor, all of which I could directly attribute to my father's example and influence. It wasn't just a deep love of the game he'd passed on to me through all those years on the golf course--but a means of looking at broader life, as well."
Dodson still misses his father who died in 1995. "The older I get, I wish I had him around to play golf and talk about things," he says. Now, like his dad, he sees golf as a splendid way of staying connected to his son. "If golf brought Jack only half the pleasure and friendships it has brought me, this would be a father's gift for a lifetime."
Jim Dodson grew up in Greensboro and graduated from East Carolina University. He was an award-winning columnist for Golf Magazine for almost 20 years and travel editor for American Express's Departures Magazine for a decade. He has won national awards for his public affairs and political writing, and multiple awards from the Golf Writers of America and other industry organizations. "Final Rounds" sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide and received the Golf Book of the Year (1996) Award from the International Network of Golf. The television movie of "Faithful Travelers" was ranked as one of the top films of 2001. His biography, "Ben Hogan: An American Life," won the USGA 2004 International Book Award, and "A Golfer's Life" with Arnold Palmer has been called one of the "great sports autobiographies of our time."
For information call The Country Bookshop at (910) 692-3211.
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