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The Spirit of St. Andrews Paperback – March 2, 1998

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Spirit of St. Andrews
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  • The Anatomy of a Golf Course: The Art of Golf Architecture
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  • Methods of Early Golf Architecture: The Selected Writings of Alister MacKenzie, H.S. Colt, and A.W. Tillinghast (Volume 1)
Total price: $49.78
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Reprint edition (March 2, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076790169X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767901697
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love historical gaming and thought this book would help in my research on the game of golf. I am not a golf fan but like miniature golf. In any case, I did enjoy reading it and seeing all the historical pictures and writing to help in my research.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy read. Amazing that it was written c1929 and not published by Mackenzies' family until the 1990s. Seems like it was written in the manner of that day. Some repartision but not a problem. Seems like Mackenzie had no love for golf committies where members (who no knowlege of golf course design) changed every year. Very much like the way he wanted courses to retain the natural contours of the land and not be destroyed by bulldozers. Bought a copy for my brother in New Zealand who is the green-keeper at the Riversdale Beach links golf course. Bought another for a great kiwi friend who is into the history of golf.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mackenzie makes good observations about golf course design which I feel are still applicable today...mainly that to maintain a golfers interest a course must have variety, difficulty, and beauty that appeal to golfers of all levels, and I think this is where the books shines. I'm not a good enough golfer to rate his comments on how to play golf, but I've read enough instruction books to know there are many paths up the mountain.There is quite a bit of space devoted to the technical aspects of course construction (circa 1930) that I found a little boring.
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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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