“Sarazen: The Story of a Golfing Legend and His Epic Moment” by David Sowell is a chronological summary of Gene Sarazen’s life before, during, and after a stellar golf career in the 1920s and ‘30s during which he won seven major championships and 39 PGA Tour wins.
That ‘epic moment’ referred to in the book’s title took place at Augusta National Golf Club during the 1935 Masters. Sarazen recorded an incredible 235-yard double-eagle on the par 5, 15th hole.
He went on to win the Masters that year, and was the first golfer to win all four major championships – The Master, U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and PGA Championship. Ironically, that accomplishment went literally unnoticed for decades before those tournaments were even recognized as the professional golf grand slam.
Born as Eugenio Saraceni in Harrison, New York in 1902, Sarazen was the son of Sicilian immigrant parents. He began caddying around 10 years of age, and was basically a self-taught golfer.
One of Sarazen’s huge claims to fame was his invention of the modern sand wedge. He unveiled the club at The Open Championship at Prince’s Golf Club in 1932, which he won.
Sarazen kept it a secret during preliminary practice rounds, and actually called it his sand iron. That original club is no longer on display at Prince’s, as it is worth too much for the insurers to cover.
After golf, Gene Sarazen went on to serve as an ambassador to the game while serving as a TV host to the then-popular “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf,” a worldwide travelogue of international golfers playing at international venues.
The 212-page “Sarazen: The Story of a Golfing Legend and His Epic Moment,” by David Sowell, is published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. and is available at all booksellers, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
The author is a freelance writer specializing in sports history, who writes for magazines, newspapers, and broadcast outlets. Sowell also wrote “The Masters: A Hole-by-Hole History of America’s Golf Classic” (2003); and “Ike, Golf, and Augusta” (2012).