Golf in the Kingdom

by Michael Murphy
“A masterpiece on the mysticism of golf.” – San Francisco Chronicle

Many people find there is a connection, through golf, to a higher order. Have you felt that?  What does that look like?  Is it a connection to something bigger than yourself?  Is it easy to define or is it unexplainable?  For many people, they find a connection to their higher self by way of playing golf.  I know of one person at least that claims it is his Church on Sunday.  And why wouldn’t it be?  For me personally there is a mysticism in the game that is hard to explain – Michael Murphy tells it perfectly in his true-to-life accounts of golfing in Scotland. 

Golf in the Kingdom is a first-person account of Mr. Murphy’s trip through Scotland on his way to India to study philosophy and practice meditation at the ashram of the seer Aurobindo.  Stopping to play golf at the legendary Burningbush Golf Club (name changed to protect the sanctity of the members and community), Michael is paired up with the mysterious golf pro, Shivas Irons.  Experiments in consciousness and the structure of space ensue through their round of golf together, through the night, and into the next day. 

One of my favorite parts of the book is when friends gather for dinner and share their interpretation of the connection we have with the games “strange and lasting attraction.” “For each has his peculiar understandin’, his peculiar theory, his peculiar view o’ the world, his peculiar swing, God Knows.”  I was going to pull a few more quotes from that part of the book to help give a better understanding of how fun these conversations were, but I soon felt it was better left to be discovered.  The conversations from these 8 people that evening exposed every feeling I have ever had about the game and articulated them beautifully.  A roasting fire and glasses half full of whiskey really helped set the mood in this storytelling adventure.

Personally, on the course is where I recognize how thin the veil is between what we are on Earth and the eternal everything that is on the other side of it.  There is something to it.  Not just in golf I don’t suppose.  In riding a bike, playing the piano or simply walking in nature.  Golf is my connection as it is for many others.  Church for many, yoga for others…a connection to something bigger.  Michael Murphy perfectly communicates this experience in what I would like to call a timeless classic for golf fans and spiritual seekers.

I suggest anyone interested should dive deep into this book.  I found the audiobook version to be a little more exciting than the book itself.  It allows you to walk in nature or be on a long car ride which seemed to help me reflect on the messages, personally. What really sets the audiobook version off though is that it is read in a deep Scottish brogue where they roll the r’s for days.  So much fun and you can really get a sense of the characters in the story this way. 

Swing with your “inner body” and experience “true gravity” as you walk the fairways of Burningbush.  If you are as lucky as me, it will surely translate to what feels like magic when you go play your next round.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *