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First Person

Driver education

Between high school and college, Dylan Dethier embarked on a solo road trip, playing golf in each of the lower 48 states.

Dylan Dethier.

Deborah Feingold

Dylan Dethier.

I’m from Williamstown and went to public high school. I always knew that I would never GO TO WILLIAMS COLLEGE. All of a sudden I applied early-decision and I was going.

My dad is a professor here. I thought maybe it was TIME TO GET AWAY and have a big adventure. Golf was a means by which to see the country, but it wasn’t the exclusive goal. I drove 35,000 miles. “Don’t die” was my two-word rule. [The scariest moment was] waking up to someone trying to break into my car as I was sleeping in the back seat. I thought about it every time I had to sleep in my car thereafter.

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I made a conscious effort during the trip to play the best courses and the worst courses and everything in between, to get a cross section of golf and of Americans. Despite its reputation as an elite sport, GOLF CAN BE SURPRISINGLY UNIVERSAL. People love to play, and for any number of reasons. It’s about spending valuable time with people.

I set up a blog that I updated fairly regularly. There was a feature on me in The New York Times, right near the end of my trip. I got flooded with e-mails, job offers. I ended up meeting with an agent and WORKING ON A BOOK PROPOSAL. This was into my freshman and sophomore years of college. The experience was surreal.

Most people didn’t know about the book until it went on pre-sale on Amazon. People have reacted really enthusiastically. I am NOT REALLY WORRIED ABOUT THE ATTENTION I might get, because my buddies will keep me grounded.

I don’t have anything new in the works right now. I am trying to enjoy my last two years in college. I’m keeping a lot of ideas stored. — As told to Nancy Heiser

Interview has been edited and condensed.

 

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