The Reading Room: Selection #14 (July 2019)

A few days late but here it is. Strongly encourage anybody to read who hasn’t yet…


Any reactions to Golf in the Kingdom? I feel like I need a reread… but initial thoughts:

  1. Damn there are some deep/convoluted thoughts on golf
  2. I don’t buy all of the spiritual/religious stuff. But I do buy that a focus beyond the golf swing is extremely important, and that the mental/emotional part of the game is as important to great golf as the technical skills.
  3. I used to think the “golf is a metaphor for life” idea was bullshit. I’ve changed my opinion on that. For example, as I’ve gotten older and dealt with more ups and downs in life, I’ve come to see how I deal with the breaks, both good and bad, relate to how I respond to situations in life. If somebody hits the ball further than me… ignore it, and play my own game. My ability to focus on the task at hand is essential to success, on the golf course or not. And how my emotional state is the basis for success… etc.

Without a doubt, the most impactful golf book I’ve ever read. By far. Was very excited to see @Randy’s selection of this book and equally let down by the lack of feedback/follow the book received. I haven’t touched this book in probably 15 years or so and I still think about elements of it every time I play. Every time. My old friend @Even_Parker and I quote it almost every time we catch up. There is a profoundness to this book that is undeniable.

@slick, I hear your second point, I get what you’re saying and I feel for you. It’s as if we play a different game. But it’s all good- I get your point and I’m not minimizing it in any way. To quote Shivas (loosely) “the game isn’t about the shots, it’s about the walk” and I don’t think Shivas is talking about burning calories.

One can carry a Mackenzie, have a bunch of Seamus covers and wear as much TBC gear as they want, but it doesn’t make them woke (a word I’m starting to really dislike.) But please, read this book. Maybe you’ll need to/want to read it twice like I did. It’s a life changer once it clicks.

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I made it 2/3 of the way through earlier this year, and then just stalled out. It really grabbed me at first but became a slog intermittently in the parts when just the protagonist was alone with his thoughts - the parts out on the course, especially that time at the evening, were compelling. Think I need to start over with a big enough block of time to read it all in one week and concentrate on it more.

But in its best parts, it taps into something different about how golf is immersive, fulfilling, yet elusive, and is what keeps me coming back even if I can’t do justice putting it into words about why I find so much meaning in the game (and the walk).

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Played with a guy named Thane a few weeks back. Thane can play. Like Big Time Play. He kept referring to flow as in “some people just get into flow easier than others.” and it kept reminding me of the zen-like state that Murphy draws us to in the book via Shivas.

It is definitely a book that needs a second (or third) read. I wasn’t as clear as I should have been on my second point. I absolutely think there can be something spiritual about being out on a golf - you’re out in nature, with a combination of solitude and camaraderie that’s rare. I just felt like some of it was over the top.

I think one of the biggest selling points of the book for me is that I’m really struggling to put my thoughts into words - but isn’t that part of something that’s a spiritual experience?

Laz, I’m just curious if you can share any more about what was so powerful about the book to you? Your last post on flow touched a nerve… sometimes (rarely) it’s there for me. And I can play some damn good golf. But more often it feels like playing through quicksand.

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“Ye’ll come away from the links with a new hold on life, that is certain if ye play the game with all your heart.” -Shivas Irons (as described by author Michael Murphy)

I finally got around to this book while traveling the last few weeks and I was…very disappointed. Interesting premise for a book but man, there is a ton of meaningless stuff you have to wade through.

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I concur - I think to some degree, the spiritual side of it has been co-opted by enough other sources that it doesn’t feel as important here as it probably did 25 years ago or so. There’s also so much filler around the golf stuff that it really ended up bugging me.

I totally get why this book resonates with so many, and I think I’m a complete subscriber to the message of the book, in as much as I got it, but the actual book itself was a major disappointment for me after being so hyped to read it.

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