The story opens eight years in the future with Eric sharing his feelings about school. You learn fairly quickly that he has never been a fan of school, apart from recess and gym class. Being stuck inside a classroom, forced to focus on lessons and classwork, is painful and boring! If learning isn’t engaging or fun, then what’s the point! Unfortunately, reading a book falls into the same category. Any interest in books quickly fades in grade two, and it’s downhill from there! But there is something he is excited about, golf!
Dad introduces Eric to the game at the tender age of 6, eager to share his passion with him. In the process, Eric discovers a passion of his own. The two of them go off in search of a most unusual-sounding driving range, where many adventures await. They meet some colourful characters who share their knowledge and wisdom about golf and life. Who says that learning only happens from books!
Dad has a passion for golf. He has played for most of his life and would love to play golf with Eric. When the right moment comes, he presents Eric with his very first golf club, a driver. Eric can’t believe that Dad wants to share his passion with Eric, and Dad is delighted that Eric wants to golf with him! Dad immediately starts searching for a driving range and, together, the coach and student will discover the magic of golf at Hook’s Hideaway.
Eric and Dad first meet the captain on the way to Hook’s Hideaway, only they don’t realize it at the time. His image appears on a large cardboard sign pointing in the direction of a mysterious-sounding driving range. The captain is an older-looking man with shoulder-length greyish hair held in place with a bandana. Right in the middle of his bandana is a picture of a skull and two golf clubs shaped like an “X.” He is wearing a long grey jacket with big buttons down the front on each side. Underneath the coat is a white shirt tucked into a pair of short, black pants. The pants end just below his knees, where long, well-worn leather boots begin. Dad notes that the man looks more like an old pirate than a golfer. Eric thinks he looks more like a grandpa! It won’t be long before they meet the real Captain Hook after entering Hook’s Hideaway. In a very short time, the captain becomes very special to Eric. A grandfather figure and mentor, he plays a pivotal role in helping Eric learn about golf and life through their tunnel unbelievable adventures.
Old Tom Morris
Eric first meets Old Tom Morris on Distance Marker One. The sign says ‘Old Tom Morris at St. Andrews’. The man in the picture has a long white beard and, in Eric’s opinion, looks pretty old. He certainly doesn’t look anything like the golfers that Dad watches on TV, and his clothing (at least the part that is visible on the sign) is different, too. The man named Old Tom Morris is wearing a warm jacket, a shirt buttoned up at the collar, a vest, and a flat cap with a funny pattern on it.
Dad explains that Old Tom was born in St. Andrews, Scotland, a long time ago and is dressed like the golfers of his time. Old Tom started playing golf at a very young age, just like Eric. He is considered the father of golf, and everything he accomplished in his golf career had a positive impact on the game. Eric tells Dad that Old Tom sounds like an amazing person and that it would have been good to meet him. Little does he know, that wish is about to come true!
Eric meets Old Tom on his first tunnel adventure and discovers that he is like the captain in many ways. He has kind eyes, likes to smile, calls Eric laddie, and also has a funny way of speaking. Like the captain, Old Tom becomes very special to Eric and has a lot to teach him about the game and himself.
Eric’s first glimpse of Mulligan is in the tunnel building. Standing guard at the Hall of Heroes Wall are two life-sized statues, one of an older man dressed like a golfer and the other of a younger man, carrying a golf bag over his shoulder. Eric recognizes the golfer but is unsure of the younger man, who is wearing a light-coloured jumpsuit, golf shoes, and a faded green cap. He looks nothing like the golfer! Dad informs Eric that the younger man is a caddie and explains that his job is to help his golfer on the course.
Eric meets the real-life Mulligan just before his third tunnel adventure. Like the captain and Old Tom, Mulligan has a lot to teach Eric about golf. All three have become mentors and cherished friends to Eric, sharing their collective wisdom, life lessons, and golf experience.