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The Spirit of St. Andrews Hardcover – April 29, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1933 Alister MacKenzie put on paper his considerable golfing knowledge. One of the game's most revered course designers--he conceived Augusta National, site of the Masters, and served the hallowed links of St. Andrews for years as consulting architect--MacKenzie synthesized his thoughts on golf's history, its equipment, its personalities, and his musings on what makes a great course and what makes a great hole, into a manuscript that lay hidden for more than 60 years. Finally available, it stands as one of the most courtly and cultivated treatises ever written on the royal and ancient game. His concepts of the psychology of design are as apt today as when he penned them, and his anecdotal spinnings on his own golfing trials should inspire anyone who's thought of picking up a club.

From the Publisher

"If golf has had a true renaissance man, surely it was Alister MacKenzie....MacKenzie's prose sparkles as much today as it did 60 years ago."
--GOLF Magazine

"The Spirit of St. Andrews may have been written sixty years ago, but much of its content is timeless. MacKenzie never minces words, and his views on golf, golfers, and courses remind us that he was not only a brilliant architect but one of the most provocative characters the game has produced."
--George Peper, Editor-in-Chief, GOLF Magazine

"Alister MacKenzie believed that the chief object of a golf architect should be 'to imitate beauties of nature so closely as to make his work indistinguishable from Nature herself.' He showed us the way in this regard....I am lucky to have the book in my library."
--Michael Murphy, author of Golf in the Kingdom and The Kingdom of Shivas Irons

"In golf-as-religion circles, [the publication of The Spirit of St. Andrews] might be likened to the discovery of another Dead Sea scroll....It's a large dose of common sense about what makes a golf course interesting and fun."
--Wall Street Journal
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 29, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1886947007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1886947009
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #750,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

A great book for any golf enthusiast/historian.
Richard
If you want to better understand golf courses and the philosophy of their design, this is the book.
david crooker
The good doctor's writing flows with the charm of that era.
N. Sauvie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Great read and great sketches. When asked how he got such interesting, hilly, contoured greens, Dr. M once said, "Employ the biggest fool in the village and instruct him to make the greens all flat"
Scary how much of the comments written in the early part of the century apply to today's game and course design. Once section about the controversy of the day re: limiting the flight of the ball is exaclt what we are hearing nearly again 70 years later
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard on November 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A great book for any golf enthusiast/historian. Alister MacKenzie discusses aspects of golf from a perspective that is as interesting and relevant today as when it was written. Forgive my appetite for, "golf as it used to be", but I cannot help but think that MacKenzie's ideas on golf course design, golf etiquette, and swing mechanics could be applied today and be relevant.

When I listen to the Golf Channel and read golf magazine interviews of todays golfers, course designers, and swing coaches it is like a breath of fresh air to read The Spirit of St. Andrews. There is no mention of winners purses of $1MM, design fees of $2MM (which produce green fees that 99% of the golfing population cannot afford), and top golf instructors earning $250 per hour. What a novel idea that golf courses should be designed with the primary concern being providing pleasure to every golfer regardless of ability.

If you love golf and its' history before the primary criteria for every decision was money then read and enjoy Alister MacKenzie and The Spirit of St. Andrews.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1996
Format: Hardcover
This book, written in 1933 and never published until 1995
is the greatest find in golf. Entertaining anecdotes, wonderful
essays--all of which is incredibly interesting and relevant
today. WSJ called it "another Dead Sea scroll" for golfers.
The foreward was written by his co-designer at Augusta National
Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones, Jr.

An incredible discovery that you must read. A true timeless
classic. On a scale of 1-10, it is a 12.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
MacKenzie shares his timeless, and oft forgotten, philosophy on how a course should be designed - for the golfer, but not by the golfer; shaped and, when necessary reworked, by the professional architect, not by the whims of a committee; and finally, playable by all who love the game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Lost manuscript now publlished for all of us to hear the thoughts of such an influential figure in our sport's history. Bob Jones wrote of him in the preface: "all his courses that I have played have been interesting; in every instance he has placed interest and enjoyment ahead of difficulty."
Oh, that more modern designers would learn the lesson! He states that even the most emphatic golfer who says he's not interested in beauty is "subconsciously influenced by his surroundings." Easily the designer of some of golf's most influential hole scenes, this guy gives definite hints, e.g. Playing down fairways bordered by straight lines of trees is not only unartistic but makes tedious and uninteresting golf. Many green committees ruin one's handiwork by planting trees like rows of soldiers along the borders of the fairways."
Love the poem he quotes on the analysis of paralysis: The Centipede was happy quite until a toad in fun said "Pray which leg goes over which?" This put his mind in such a pitch he lay distracted in a ditch considering how to run."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brett A. Pedersen on July 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I feel that the spiritual aspect of golf is sometimes overrated or overwrought in various writings. Here, however, is a long-lost gem wherein Mackenzie, typically, gets it just right. The last two chapters on the societal benefits of golf and golf courses are spot on. I would suggest that anyone who wished to truly understand the spirit of golf should read those chapters. It causes me to hope that there will be numerous quality golf courses built around Iraq and Afghanistan in the near future. If that could be accomplished and some of the local kids and healthy adults take to it, as inevitably they would, then we would achieve our goals of victory and the establishment of advanced societies in those places. It may take that to get there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Sauvie on March 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
MacKenzie's "Spirit of St. Andrews" shows that his philosophy of golf course architecture is as relevant today as it was when this was written in the 1930s. The good doctor's writing flows with the charm of that era.
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