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Golf in the Kingdom Paperback – June 29, 2011


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Golf in the Kingdom + The Kingdom of Shivas Irons + Extraordinary Golf: The Art of the Possible (Perigee)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reissue edition (June 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143120905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143120902
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #669,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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, it is part novel, part philosophy, part myth, part mysticism, part enchantment, part golf instructional, and is altogether unique. This confluence of sports and the supernatural looks at both life and golf from the inside out. The book's central character is a wily Scotsman named Shivas Irons, a golf professional by vocation, and a shaman by design, who Murphy, as participant in his own novel, meets on the links of Burningbush, in 1956 Fife. The story of their round of golf together culminates in a wild night of whiskey and wisdom where their golf quite literally takes on a metaphysical glow as Shivas explains how the swing reflects the soul. It alters not only Murphy's game, it also radically alters his mind and inner vision--and it's truly unforgettable. For a golfer, Golf in the Kingdom is as essential as a set of clubs. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

This is a great little book about the "inner" game of golf and what it really means.
Craig N. Robinson
Michael Murphy launched a new golfing organization--the Shivas Irons society--with this book that has become a classic in the field of golf.
Lorin Letendre
I just had way too many other books on my reading list to spend any more time trying to fight my way through this stuff!
B. Garner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 it and the after-effect it has had on my life. Michael Murphy's writing abilities to captivate you on a mystical journey about golf of all things -- is just amazing! And the sequel "The Kingdom of Shivas Irons" is just as incredible. I love many things about golfing and these books have opened my interest to the world of golf even further. I was surprised by a few of the reviews which had a different experience reading this book. I think you either understand the essence of these stories or you don't, but if you do they leave you with an overwhelmingly profound feeling and deeper interest in golf.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Valentine Dworak on October 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
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. Murphy weaves a masterful tale of his round of golf with Shivas Irons, a mythical caddie/coach and through this experience Shivas helps him understand more about himself, his swing, and his life, and his place in the universe. While this book is a bit out there compared to your run of the mill golf book, it is entertaining and thought provoking in a way not seen in many books about sport. This book has soul-not many do.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jack Morris on July 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A delightful journey through Eastern and Western philosophy and mysticism fashioned by the master teacher and acclaimed 'human potential' researcher/philosopher/writer from Esalen. The fine writing combines the simplicity and depth of Steinbeck with more than touch of J.P. Donleavy's raucus good humor. Don't miss the opportunity to laugh at yourself and the human condition with Murphy's wonderful characters. You may want to improve your golf score and succeed by reading this book, but this is a work with the potential to transform your perspective on life. Murphy delivers this jewel with an elegance and wit worthy of the wonderful game he uses to convey his message. Treat yourself to a classic. Thank you Michael!
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By T. H. Mckinnie on September 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Read this book, and you'll really want to be a better golfer. It may not help your score (in fact, it will make you stop cheating and you'll have to deal with your real score), but it will give voice to strong feelings you probably have always had about the game, but may not have realized out on the muni.
What is our true relationship with nature? Shivas takes dead aim, and one round of golf will change you forever.
If you are one of those who understands that Caddyshack (the best movie about golf), like all great comedy, not only is fun to watch, but also actually changes the way you play golf (and do everything else), then you will find that GITK (the best book about golf), like all great philosophical art, not only is fun to read, but also actually changes the way you play golf (and do everything else).
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mona Vold (mfvold@win.bright.net) on 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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is simply the best articulation of the joy and mystique of the game that has ever been written. There are lessons here that are obvious as well as subtle. I have read it at least five times and each time I find something new. This is for the true golfer who appreciates the mysteries of golf and understands that "the game is meant for walking."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By 71063.2117@compuserve.com on June 16, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have just finished reading this classic for the fourth time, and I never fail to learn something new. My copy is dog-eared, underlined, annotated, and highlighted, and I'm already looking forward to my next read. It is not a book about technique, but it has done more for my game than any book on technique ever has, and I've been playing golf for over fifty years. You can hear the Scottish burr, you can smell the heather, you can almost taste the whiskey. Thank you, Michael Murphy, for showing us the way.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pedro Smith on July 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
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 great book. I would also recommend Life of Pi.
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