Married c. 1988; children: one daughter and three sons.
Writer and journalist. Golf magazine, former travel editor and senior writer. Also worked various jobs, including winery gardener, truck brake assembler, airplane washer, carpet store janitor, Tony Roma's waiter, advertising agency writer, GQ freelance fact checker, Life magazine writer, and video game marketer.
The Seventh at St. Andrews: How Scotsman David McLay Kidd and His Ragtag Band Built the First New Course on Golf's Holy Soil in Nearly a Century, Gotham Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including Sports Illustrated, Life, Fortune, Men's Journal, Robb Report, Vanity Fair, T+L Golf, Golf Digest, and Golf.
Scott Gummer is a journalist who has written extensively about various sports with a primary focus on golf. In The Seventh at St. Andrews: How Scotsman David McLay Kidd and His Ragtag Band Built the First New Course on Golf's Holy Soil in Nearly a Century, the author documents an acclaimed golf course architect's efforts to design a history-making new course in St. Andrews, Scotland. The author chronicles how the decade-long effort was continually challenged by political factors and other obstacles.
According to the author, St. Andrews is the ancestral home of golf. The new course in St. Andrews is historic because it is the first to be designed there in nearly a century; the last course was built in 1914. The commission to design the course was awarded to David McLay Kidd, who made his name as a golf course architect before he was thirty years old based on his highly lauded design at Bandon Dunes on the Oregon coast.
In his book, the author describes how Kidd fought off all contenders to earn the right to make golf history. "Sixteen candidates were invited to submit an ersatz Why Me letter," the author explains in an interview for GolfClubAtlas.com. In the same interview, Gummer noted: "Of the 16 candidates, six were invited to present. The process is detailed in the book, and the list is rather surprising, but in the end David Kidd won the commission base[d] on passion, vision, commitment, and the unique offer to serve not only as architect but also as general contractor."
The Seventh at St. Andrews chronicles Kidd's working days in the dirt and his nights in the pubs, as well as the politics and local drama that Kidd dealt with as he built his course. The author pays special attention to how the young golf course architect and his crew transformed flat farmland surrounding the town's sewage plant into a renowned golf course. "One very interesting aspect is Kidd's description of each hole, why he designed it a certain way and what it means to golfers. This provides a fascinating look into Kidd's mind and how he utilize[d] his team to enhance the work," wrote John Wagner for the Cybergolf Web site. According to a Kirkus Reviews contributor, Gummer "paints Kidd and his employees as a crew of … pirates composed of volatile personalities that threatened to explode."
While the book is about building a golf course, Gummer does not see it as a "golf" book only. "At its heart, this is a process story," the author noted in his interview for GolfClubAtlas.com. He continued: "The same book could be written about the making of a vintage of wine or the staging of a Broadway play, mine just happens to be set in the realm of golf. The book has been compared (very generously) to the seminal work in this genre, The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder."
In addition to profiling Kidd, Gummer describes the ongoing process of building the course and the many things that went wrong in the process, including epi- cally bad weather, grazing cattle, and a battle with the townsfolk and local bureaucrats who opposed the new course's construction. The author delves into the St. Andrews Links Trust, which administers the area's local golf courses. Gummer also explains the various entities that comprise the Links Trust and their responsibilities for the various courses, and he profiles the local people. In a review for Booklist, Bill Ott wrote that "the story itself will enthrall those with an interest in golf history and architecture."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2007, Bill Ott, review of The Seventh at St. Andrews: How Scotsman David McLay Kidd and His Ragtag Band Built the First New Course on Golf's Holy Soil in Nearly a Century, p. 49.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2007, review of The Seventh at St. Andrews.
Publishers Weekly, July 16, 2007, review of The Seventh at St. Andrews, p. 155.
Cybergolf,http://www.cybergolf.com/ (June 13, 2008), John Wagner, review of The Seventh at St. Andrews.
GolfClubAtlas.com,http://www.golfclubatlas.com/ (June 13, 2008), "Feature Interview with Scott Gummer."
Golfweek,http://www.golfweek.com/ (October 30, 2007), Dave Seanor, review of The Seventh at St. Andrews.
Scott Gummer Home Page,http://www.pantherpictures.com/scottgummer.htm (June 13, 2008).