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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 $1000 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. 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 of how an elite sport became a selfless one—and how golf became, for a nation at war, much more than a game.