Golf’s Holy War: The Battle for the Soul of a Game in an Age of Science

Avid Reader: S. & S. May 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781476707594. $28. SPORTS
In order to determine the difference between the gifted amateur and the sports professional, New York Post sports reporter Cyrgalis explores the modern game of golf through the lens of everything from physics, biomechanics, and technology to education and coaching. He begins with Homer Kelly’s The Golfing Machine, and moves on to a wide array of theorists and practitioners including Michael Murphy (Golf in the Kingdom), Bob Rotella (Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect), former professional golfer Butch Harmon, and golf instructors Hank Haney and Sean Foley. Cyrgalis asserts that golf is at a crossroads, with one faction advocating the use of big data (similar to Michael Lewis’s Moneyball methodology), and another arguing for a return to a more naturalistic, intuitive approach. As a survey, this book omits seminal works, such as John Stobb and Alastair Cochran’s Search for the Perfect Swing and Theodore Jorgensen’s The Physics of Golf by.
VERDICT Cyrgalis does a credible job of covering the current state of golf in what is a passable overview of the sport for casual readers.

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