Over the last three decades, mental institutions as a whole have received a largely negative connotation in the court of public approval. Institutionalizing a loved one with a mental disability has become taboo as alternative care options are sought out, as more and more recognize mental health issues as something that cannot simply be shut away. This has not ended the shut-away process, however. While the country scrambles to find an alternative solution and Congress and the Senate debate the appropriate manners in which to aid the mentally ill, the de facto way of “handling” those with disabilities has instead become prison. A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that more than half of all prison inmates have some sort of mental illness, in contrast to just 11% of the overall population.
Often, those in prison with mental illnesses find themselves in solitary confinement. Solitary for the mentally ill is intended as a protective measure from themselves. Depression and other mood disorders are feared as leading to self-harm, and solitary is far from adequate care. The real issue with healthcare for the mentally ill is that many enter prison undiagnosed, and symptoms do not reveal themselves until a victim is already incarcerated. The immediate jump to solitary is little more than a severe form of punishment than care from the hand of a failing system.
Not to speak for anyone else, but the greatest Christmas gifts of all time will always and forever be a golf book. That is a very narrow and wholly specific category, but it may as well be fact. Now, personally, I read them. As you may or may not be able to tell, I am a huge golf aficionado. Total surprise, I know. There is a certain precision and tact to golf that is simply thrilling. Watching is one thing, but reading? That is another beast entirely. Even if you cannot muster the ability to flip through the pages, golf books make excellent coffee-table decorations, especially those about the courses themselves. Here are my Top 5 golf books for this holiday season:
- Golf Courses of the U.S. Open – Even the most casual of golf fans can enjoy this one with limited knowledge of the game. This book, by David Barrett, compiles thorough information through maps, descriptions, and gorgeous photography of the 50 courses in the tournament. The cover alone makes for a very attractive display piece or conversation starter.
- Great Getaways – This one comes directly from the pages of Golf Magazine itself, of which naturally I am a fan. Detailed here are “The best of the best three- and four-day golf trips” from author Tara Gravel. Getaways is not necessarily as pretty as some of the other options. The photos are nice, of course, but this book is hefty with knowledge and passages about the courses instead.
- Golf’s Best New Destinations – Here we have a best-of-both-words situation. Brian McCallen packs a wealth of information alongside breathtaking photography of the golf world’s more modern locales. The real joy is the attention to detail paid to activities off the course. New Destinations at times reads more as a travel book than a golf book, and that is a compliment.
- Planet Golf – Darius Oliver takes us out of the United States and along with him on his globe-trotting ventures. This book may be the definitive coffee-table book presented. Planet Golf will have great appeal to the golf nut who also appreciates architecture and integral analysis of the courses and landscapes themselves. The photography is simply awe-inspiring.
- Where Golf is Great – The one is “a biggie.” Literally, this book weighs in at 11 pounds. James Finnegan presents extensive knowledge alongside the usually wonderful photography, and in the same vein as New Destinations can be more a travel guide. Special attention is paid to the surrounding cities and attractions, with a focus on Scotland and Ireland, and Finnegan’s devotion to the game is felt with every word.