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

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

by Brett Cyrgalis


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Just as Michael Lewis’s Moneyball captured baseball at a technological turning point, Brett Cyrgalis’s Golf’s Holy War takes us inside golf’s clash between its beloved artistic tradition and its analytic future.

The world of golf is at a crossroads. As tech­nological innovations displace traditional philosophies, the golfing community has splintered into two deeply combative factions: the old-school teachers and players who believe in feel, artistry, and imagination, and the technical minded who want to remake the game around data. In Golf’s Holy War, Brett Cyrgalis takes readers inside the heated battle playing out from weekend hackers to PGA Tour pros.

At the Titleist Performance Institute in Oceanside, California, golfers clad in full-body sensors target weaknesses in their biomechanics, while others take part in mental exercises designed to test their brain’s psychological resilience. Meanwhile, coaches like Michael Hebron purge golfers of all technical infor­mation, tapping into the power of intuitive physical learning by playing rudimentary games. From historic St. Andrews to manicured Augusta, experimental com­munes in California to corporatized conferences in Orlando, William James to Ben Hogan to theoretical physics, the factions of the spiritual and technical push to redefine the boundaries of the game. And yet what does it say that Tiger Woods has orchestrated one of the greatest comebacks in sports history without the aid of a formal coach?

But Golf’s Holy War is more than just a book about golf—it’s a story about modern life and how we are torn between resisting and embracing the changes brought about by the advancements of science and technology. It’s also an exploration of historical legacies, the enriching bonds of education, and the many interpretations of reality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476707594
Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 05/05/2020
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 55,454
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Brett Cyrgalis is a veteran sports­writer covering hockey and golf at the New York Post. He has reported on almost all major sporting events, from postseason baseball to the Stanley Cup Final to the US Opens in golf and tennis. He is an accomplished golfer and a member of the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association, and he lives on Long Island.

Table of Contents

Prologue New Jersey xi

1 The Two Central Texts 1

2 Golf and Religion 23

3 Tiger Woods and Dualism 49

4 Science in Slidell, Louisiana 79

5 Babe Ruth and Teaching's Evolutionary Jump 101

6 Technology for Profit 127

7 The Art of Architecture 159

8 William James and the Birth of Sports Psychology 183

9 On Learning: The Essential Disconnect 197

10 Hogan 217

Epilogue Oregon and String Theory 231

Acknowledgments 239

Bibliography 243

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