Play Away PLease - Merchendise


Press Release

Mainstream Publishing
An Imprint of Random House International

The St Andrews Old Starter’s Box was sold in a controversial international auction on 10 September 2001, the day before the Twin Towers attack. 'Play Away Please' recounts the glory of the little building in St Andrews, ‘the Home of Golf’, and tells the tale of those who used its services for 77 continuous years.

Unlike many epics, the story does not centre on a rich dynasty or a heroic quest for the truth. Instead, it hinges on the production of the perfect round of golf and the global marketing of the Box – one of the most celebrated buildings in the world of sport – as a brand and as an icon. The St Andrews Old Course Starter’s Box is particularly significant, as every professional and amateur golfer from the winter of 1928 onwards had checked in at it. The book chronicles the suspense and notoriety that greeted the Box after its voyage from Scotland to California, by way of the Panama Canal.

Alas, nothing is as simple as it seems and miracles are rare. The businessman who bought the Box was imprisoned before it reached Los Angeles, accused of stealing millions from the real-estate development that was to be its home. Eight years later, a happy ending was finally brought about, but only after a healthy dose of fear, suspense and gut wrenching became a part of the story.

The author has a special bond with the Starter's Box and its sense of place, bidding $120,000 to buy it, before spending another $700,000 to ensure its shipping to California and eventual reconstruction in Palm Springs.

Supplemented with exclusive photographs, Play Away Please is Hagen’s personal story of patronage and odyssey to assure the Box’s preservation as the sporting world’s consummate symbol of integrity and fair play. Along the way, he brings to life the unforgettable local characters of Fife, celebrating their customs, lifestyle and unique command of the English language.

The author is available for interview and appearances on a world-wide basis.

"Beautiful, glorious Scotland, has spoilt me for every other country!"

Mary Todd Lincoln