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World War II transformed the American home front, and golf was no exception. The world-famous Masters course at Augusta National became a farm to ease food shortages. Ben Hogan and Sam Snead were drafted, and Bobby Jones enlisted. Rubber rationing forced pros and amateurs alike to play with well-worn golf balls—and created a black market for new ones. The 1942 U.S. Open was canceled, replaced by the Hale American Open—whose winner, Ben Hogan, was awarded $1,000 in war bonds—while golfers across the country raised millions of dollars for the war effort.
When War Played Through brings to life these little-known aspects of an endlessly fascinating period in golf’s history. Bestselling golf author John Strege’s narrative extends overseas to captured soldiers in Germany who constructed golf courses in a POW camp and English golfers who devised rules for playing around bomb craters and shrapnel during the Blitz (from the Richmond Gold Club in London: “A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball. Penalty one stroke.”). Many golfers returned home from battle with commendations for valor, finding unmatched solace on the links after a dark time.
When War Played Through is the compelling story how an elite sport became a selfless one—and how golf became, for a nation at war, much more than a game.