Local man’s debut novel about love, golf is a delight | VailDaily.com

Local man’s debut novel about love, golf is a delight

When golfers hit a ball like they're still young and the wind is behind them, they say they hit it "dead solid perfect."

Gary Pesso's debut novel, "54," is like that.

Pesso's resume already includes instrument-rated commercial pilot, real estate, business owner and manager, dad, member of Vail's Lawn Chair Precision Demonstration Team, ski coach, golf coach and professional mogul skier. To that list you now can add "novelist."

It seems right that when we tracked down Pesso to talk about his book about love and golf, he was in Scottsdale, Arizona, playing golf and loving it.

He finished "54" six years ago because his son Oliver, who loves him very much, kept badgering his dad about it, which is how kids show how much they love you.

Among other businesses, Pesso owned and operated an indoor golf studio at the time, Vail Valley Golf Studio, in the Riverwalk at Edwards. The business has come and gone, but Pesso is such a golf lover, he still has a golf simulator in his office with a net into which he can crack Calloways.

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Between teaching clients that consistency matters in both golf and life, he started writing his novel. He finished it in 2010 and didn't think much about it, figuring the goal was to finish writing it.

Pesso and his adorable bride Tracy's two beloved offspring, Oliver and daughter Chloe, decided that because they still love their dad THAT MUCH, they would badger him to get it published. So, Pesso set a goal to have "54" published before his 55th birthday. He made it by a couple of weeks.

The title "54" makes sense to most golfers. For the rest of you, 54 would be your golf score if you birdied every hole in an 18-hole round — the fantasy round.

A friend went to a school in Phoenix called Vision 54. The name fired Pesso's imagination, and all that was left was typing.

"It just kept resonating within me to write it," Pesso said.

The book is a contemporary romantic golf adventure set on a beautiful golf course north of Boston, as New England enjoys a spectacular peak leaf season.

Jim Peters and his best friend, Max Johnson, love golf, love the women in their lives and love each other in a guy-like way.

Most of us have a friend or two that life its ownself can pull us away from, but no matter how long you've been apart, when you get together it's like strolling in from the next room with, "Now, as I was saying …"

"It reminds me of myself, playing golf with my buddies and talking about anything that pops into our minds," Pesso said.

Much of the story is told between golf shots, which turns out to be a delightful literary device. It's also how golfers and guys talk to one another.

Pesso deftly weaves the intertwining stories together as Jim and Max, former college roommates and golfing teammates at the University of North Carolina, play their way through 18 holes of tournament golf. The two recount some of their golf adventures and the women in their lives and an exciting, suspenseful twist, all the while chasing golf's ultimate goal.

In other words, great golf is like love. Stop obsessing about it and it's more likely to happen for you.

Pesso grew up between Manchester, Connecticut, and south Florida. He attended the University of Connecticut and then moved to Vail. He spent most of the 1980s and '90s competing and traveling the country on the World Professional Mogul Ski Tour.

His golf addiction began in the late 1970s.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

buy the book

Vail Valley local Gary Pesso’s debut novel “54” is available at The Bookworm of Edwards in the Riverwalk at Edwards and at other stores around the valley. Buy it online through The Bookpatch, http://www.thebookpatch.com, or Amazon.