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Review: Golf in the Kingdom

Editorial Review - Kirkus Reviews

One day in June 1956 Michael Murphy, founder-director of the Esalen Institute, played a memorable round of golf at the Burningbush course -- a fictitious name for reasons ""political and arcane"" -- located in County Fife, Scotland. His partner, whom he had not met previously nor seen since, was one Shivas Irons (real name), a reddish-haired, slightly buck-toothed, impish golf pro who was (or is -- Murphy's still searching for Shivas and hopes this book might draw him out) something of an Eastern mystic, knowledgeable about the little known Indian seer Aurobindo and given to trances. For many hours after their link-up, Shivas talked to young Michael (who appropriately was staying at The Druids' Inn) about the mysterious relationship between golf and life, or, as Shivas put it, ""the hidden meanin's o' gouf."" Whereupon our author learned such tommyrot as a hole-in-one is ""the flight of the alone to the lone,"" the swing reflects the soul, and that ""Enough golf springs you free"" (Michael asks, ""Free from what?"" -- the reply: ""From yer attachment to any point. Some part o' yet mind begins to sense the relativity o' things and the fertile void""). And you probably thought golf was for fogeys who wouldn't recognize Madame Blavatsky from a doomfreak. Way out.

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