Matt Filner is becoming a published author!

BMC member Matt Filner has just accomplished a feat off the golf course that’s just about the equivalent of making double eagle on the course. With his new book, Matt, for the first time, is now a published author.

The book is about golf– and much more. “Play It As It lies” deals with the intersection of lessons Matt learned on the course and those he learned from personal experiences about fatherhood. Parallels between the two touch on integrity, staying in the present moment, and appreciating that you can never change what’s already happened, you must always deal with the situation you’re in now—in other words, you must “play it as it lies.”

Having learned the hard way, from his own upbringing, of what a father should not be, Matt set out on a journey trying to be the best dad he could, a journey filled with its fair share of ups and downs, and one with no map or manual.  A journey, if you will, to achieve “par” as a dad, just as he had pursued a goal of shooting even par in golf.

In “Play It As It Lies” Matt tells stories from his first 18 years as a parent, sharing lessons he learned. In the process he also takes us through rounds he’s played at 18 iconic golf courses, demonstrating the many ways that playing golf the right way (making par) is like being a parent the right way (another way of making par). The result is an entertaining read, whether you’re a golfer, a parent, or both– or perhaps neither, if you know someone who is. 

Matt’s starting point is one of the foundational rules of golf: Rule 9.1 (‘Ball Played as It Lies’).  The book points out that no matter what happened on its travels from where you last hit it, no matter how many tree branches, or rocks, or divots, or thick stands of fescue, wherever your ball stops, you must play the ball wherever it comes to rest. You may hate the stance, the fact that it’s in a divot, the tree branch that impedes your backswing, but no matter, you must play the ball as it lies.

Matt notes that “There are no foot wedges or winter rules in golf that allow you to move your ball—it’s one of golf’s oldest and most basic rules. This rule helps us handle adversity, test our patience, and manage our emotions when good luck turns bad. In golf, as in life, it’s how you react and respond. This book is about fatherhood and golf, and how much each has helped me understand the other. It’s about what it means as a father and a golfer to truly ‘play it as it lies.’”

In the words of golf writer and blogger, Laz Versalles:
Play it as it lies is an artfully crafted frolic through the rollercoaster we call parenthood. Golfers will particularly relate to Filner’s hunger for a quick emergency nine at the muni, and will be surprised to see some of the places the game takes the author.

Golf is used as a canvas to reflect, make connection, and just plain have fun. Parenthood is a journey that gives us the ability to teach and to grow. It’s not too dissimilar from golf.

As unique as some of Filner’s storytelling is, it’s a path familiar to many of us. The author leads us down that sacred path beautifully.”

In his book Matt takes us through rounds he’s played at his favorite courses, including Bandon Dunes, Torrey Pines, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits, and others—and always with an eye on how each round can shed light on the broader issues he’s passionate about.

“Play It As It Lies” is being published by Back Nine Press and is expected to come out this fall. Pre-orders can be made at

Dick Helde
Past BMC President and Editor, The Virtual 19th Page