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Golf in the Kingdom [Paperback]

Michael Murphy
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 17.50
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Book Description

Oct. 6 1997 Compass
Since its first publication, Golf in the Kingdom has been recognized as a classic work on the deeper mysteries of golf—a gospel of those who suspect, or know, that golf is more than a mere pastime. A young man en route to India stops in Scotland to play at the legendary Burningbush golf club and in twenty-four hours, his life is transformed. Paired with a mysterious teacher named Shivas Irons, he is led through a round of phenomenal golf, swept into a world where extraordinary powers are unleashed in a a backswing governed by true gravity. A night of adventure and revelation follow, and lead to a glimpse of Seamus MacDuff, the holy man who haunts a ravine off Burningbush's thirteenth fairway—one they call Lucifer's Rug. Murphy's account reveals the possibilities for transcendence that resides in the human soul, and through mystic-philosopher Shivas Irons, the reader, like Murphy, becomes drawn into new worlds by this ancient and haunting game.

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Golf in the Kingdom + The Kingdom of Shivas Irons
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Product Description

From Amazon

Esalen Institute founder Michael Murphy's divine meditation on the royal and ancient game defied categorization when it was first published in 1972, and it still does. Instantly hailed as a classic, Golf in the Kingdom is an altogether unique confluence of fiction, philosophy, myth, mysticism, enchantment, and golf instruction. The central character is a wily Scotsman named Shivas Irons, a golf professional by vocation and a shaman by design, whom Murphy, as participant in his own novel, meets in 1956 on the links of Burningbush, in Fife. The story of their round of golf together culminates in a wild night of whiskey and wisdom where, as Shivas demonstrates how the swing reflects the soul, their golf quite literally takes on a metaphysical glow. The events alter not only Murphy's game, but they also radically alter his mind and inner vision; it's truly unforgettable. For a golfer, Murphy's masterpiece is as essential as a set of clubs.

From Library Journal

This book offers a view of golf in a more philosophical and even mystical light. This 25th-anniversary edition includes additional reflections by Murphy. Though golf is definitely a fanatic's game, half of this is written for laughs.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a Golf Book! April 22 2003
Format:Hardcover
I had heard about this near-mythical book on the philosophy of golf and had high expectations. The book started out well enough, as the author recounted his one and only round with Shivas Irons. From there it digressed into philosophical fiddle-faddle with very little golf attached to it. The last few sections are disconnected meanderings that may or may not mention golf at all. This is an abstruse philosophy book with a golf veneer. Read a friend's copy, but do not buy this book. Go play a round instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read the first half, forget the rest Dec 18 1999
Format:Paperback
Murphy takes you on a magical and enlightening round of golf at the place where it all began, or at least could have: Scotland. His descriptions of the landscape and the golf course made me long for the links courses we have on our own coast. I enjoyed his attempt at mimicking the various dialects of the Scots and other characters in the book. After their round, Murphy and his new acquaintance, Shivas Irons, a sort of golf priest have a few shots of Scotch, and then go for a midnight stroll in search of Seamus MacDuff. We never really know if Seamus is alive or a figment of Irons' imagination. They find an ancient club that's suppose to belong to MacDuff in a cave and some featheries, and then they hit some perfect shots in the moonlight. Up until this point the book is about golf and the feeling many golfers have that golf is much more than hitting a little white ball around a nicely maintained park. But then the book goes off on some transparent pop psycobabble from the '60s while Murphy spends years searching for Irons and MacDuff. If this book were a round of golf I'd have to say it that Murphy shot par on the front nine and double bogeyed his way through the back. I'd recommend reading the first half and then just dreaming about what the last half could have been about. I'm sure you'll do a better job of finishing the book than Murphy did.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Michael Murphy is a silly man March 23 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book uses a technique that I've noticed is typical of alot of new age books. They start out fairly well grounded, then (assuming that if you've read this far you accept anything the author says) they go off the deep-end.
The book starts off with a tale of playing golf with a man called Chivas Irons, and this is ok. Then it wanders into of all things: physics! Mr. Murphy seems to feel that our current crop of physics P.H.D.s have it all wrong, and that they should come to him to get straightened out. He talks about "true gravity" and all sorts of stuff. Then there is a chapter called "We are all Kites in the Wind". Interesting analogy you say? No analogy, he means it! He states that we are all acutally kites in the wind! What is the evidence for this statement? None is given.
As you have probably guessed by now, this book isn't about golf. It's about...., ahhhh,...whatever - you tell me. If you are the sort of person who likes silly things, claiming that proves "open-mindedness" and "imagination", then you'll probably like this book. If you are looking for a book on golf instruction, you'll be bitterly dissappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure alchemy! Golden...A gift! March 29 1999
Format:Paperback
Golf at its best bares us, shows us not who we think we are, but who we truly are. As we curse and delight in the game's cagey offerings of disappointment and intermittent reward, as we alternately buck and welcome its fabulous mystery and rolls, even the most reluctant of us cannot help but heed the ageless pull--we unwittingly fathom the game is alive, stirring our souls. Like no other work before or after, GOLF IN THE KINGDOM calls us to this recognition. From its epigram, "The game was invented a billion years ago--don't you remember?" on to the now-famed, "Let the nothingness into yer shots," we are beckoned to what we know. With grace and lyricism, Michael Murphy concocts a shimmering world in which golf can live, and like an alchemist--through the whimsical, wise, larger-than-life magical master Shivas Irons--creates the voice of the game itself. Some years ago this book drew me back to the game I love. As a golf coach, I've carried it as a talisman, recommended it to my students, and bought more than my share of copies for friends. Because Murphy's magic is infinite and simple. In his kingdom he lures us to fascination, moves us to believe in golf's--in life's--special powers, and so, ourselves.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Grandfather's Golf Book! ***** star Feb. 4 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
There are few golf books available that do not take as their premise that you want technical advice on how-to improve your score. Here is a book that uses golf as its storytelling foundation but moves on to much greater dimensions. With the help of one of the most fascinating characters in literature, golf-pro Shivas Irons, you will be taken on the ride of your life as you follow a round of Golf at St. Andrews (er, I mean, Burning Bush as the real name is hidden in the book), have dinner with the most interesting characters and end up back at St. Andrews at Midnight with your Mashie and an old leather ball. Prepare yourself to think about Golf in ways that you rarely have and to be impacted so much that you will not be able to go on your next round of golf without thinking of Shivas!!! This book only rates an eight because the main plot ends about 3/4 of the way through the book and contains a few chapters taken from Shivas' notebooks at the end. These chapters, while interesting in themselves, cannot match the intensity of the story. This book is not for everyone but if you are fascinated by the Eastern philosophy, by the feeling of being "in the zone", like to read books like Ishmael by Dan Quinn and The River Why by David james Duncan you will love this book
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasons to Golf
I loved the description of the reasons to play golf. This is a beautiful enlightened story that reveals philosophical under pinning about the game in a very humorous and academic... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jim D MacMillan
1.0 out of 5 stars Golf in who's "kingdom"?
I'm surprised by the range of ratings of this book (ostensibly about golf, and its mental aspects). The book has little to do with golf, although Murphy's description of his... Read more
Published on Oct. 21 2011 by Dr. Dennis Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
I don't care how many times I read this book, I always walk away with something new. If you enjoy philosophy in a modern context without going to "new-age", this is a... Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by Pedro Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars waste of time
First of all, brothers and sisters, this is just a pack of lies, he made it all up, it's a work of fiction. I think the author even admitted it later. Read more
Published on June 2 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars the Truth is simple, this book is not
As a scratch golfer and a Christian, I was very disappointed with both of this acclaimed book's topics: golfing and spirituality. Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Travel Reading
This book is great for the golfer and non-golfer alike. I read this book while traveling from Washington, DC to Chicago and needed something to read through Pennsylvania and Ohio. Read more
Published on Oct. 6 2002 by Joseph Valentine Dworak
2.0 out of 5 stars Seemed like it tried too hard
I feel like I could read just about anything revolving around golf and I had heard a lot of good things about this book, so I entered with an open mind and just could not like it. Read more
Published on July 9 2002 by mmharrin
5.0 out of 5 stars May the Spirit of Golf Be With You!
I read this book when it first came out and found it to be awe-inspiring. I've actually never read a book that has captivated me in the way in which this one has -- while reading... Read more
Published on May 8 2001
1.0 out of 5 stars I rarely return a book for a refund...
but this one just had to go. While this book offers tips on neither golf nor life it IS rife with stereotyping and lacking in continuity. Read more
Published on April 21 2001 by Matthew
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible Book
How does a high school level writer even get published. This is total junk.
Published on April 5 2001 by john tyson
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