With the current coronavirus pandemic disrupting both professional and recreational golfers, it's a great time to brush up on your reading with some of the great golf books on offer. Today, we look at what may be the most unique golf book ever written: Golf in the Kingdom by Michael Murphy.
Golf in the Kingdom is a bit of a polarizing book. It seems like readers either love it or hate it. The fandom is real--it has sold over a million copies and been translated into 2 dozen languages. It has also spawned the nonprofit Shivas Irons Society, named for one of the central characters of the book. However, other readers disregard the book as mere philosophical babble. Author Michael Murphy was a member of the Beat movement with a keen interest in eastern philosophy and spirituality. He was also an avid golfer. The book marries both these aspects of Murphy into a novel about a man playing a round of golf at a historic Scottish course on a layover to India. While there, he meets and plays with Shivas Irons, a local pro who teaches him about the mysteries of golf. Don't expect an action-packed novel, this book is a slow burn that relies on dialogue to make the reader think and examine why they play golf. As such, the book is best enjoyed by golfers who enjoy the mental aspects of the game and especially those that live for the feeling of peace the sport brings.