Name: Charlie Ryan
Book: "Dead Men's Clubs: A story of Golf, Death and Redemption"
Residence: Hilton Head Island
Publisher: Abbott Press
Never miss a local story.
Where to buy: Golf Etc. and Sea Pines Country Club Pro Shop on Hilton Head; online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Abbott Press
Plot summary in 50 words or less: Munch Malone is a bad golfer until two departed golfers select him for a "Grand Experiment." Munch makes his way to the USGA Senior Men's Amateur Championship with an old set of clubs that work wonders, much to the chagrin of Vegas operatives who are intent on stealing his set.
First paragraph: "Munch Malone was pissed off. It was all beginning again. His belief that this would be the day his golf game would finally come together was shot down in flames as he teed off, topping the ball, watching it dribble 50 feet, barely past the ladies' tee."
Previous experience: Ryan, a West Virginia native, is a former broadcast journalist who founded his own marketing firm. "I've written all my life," he said. "I always thought one day I'd write a novel. It took a while for that time to come."
What prompted the novel: Since retiring to Sea Pines, Ryan decided to get more into golf. After spending a small fortune on equipment, he wasn't getting any better. He thought back to an old set of beat-up Callaway clubs he had 15 years ago. He played better with those clubs. He starting writing, a type of therapy for his own golf frustrations. "It's autobiographical -- in a way," he said.
Story behind the title: He used to wonder how that old set of Callaways got into his hands. "Did a wife sell these when her husband passed," he'd ask himself. "Are these dead man's clubs?"
Writer's quirk: Although intended as a light, funny read, Ryan thoroughly researched his novel. He took trips to take notes on courses at The Greenbier in West Virginia, where Munch plays the USGA Senior Men's Amateur Championship. He researched the strict rules of championship play, resulting in a stack of notes three feet high by his desk. He didn't really want to part with it, but he took a photo and then dumped it in recycling.
Writers to admire: John Grisham and Stephen King. "They put out what seems like a book a year and they're consistently great," he said.
Standing as a golfer: After three years writing, Ryan can say he's a better novelist. As far as his golf game, not so much. "I'm still a hacker," he said.