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Guest Blog: Sport and Spirituality in the Golf Novel The Legend of Bagger Vance

An interesting look at spirituality and sport (golf). Read on!

Interesting Literature

By Lisa Beckelhimer, University of Cincinnati

Sport is frequently elevated to some higher meaning in American culture. Traditional sports writing, memoirs, and historical accounts can inspire readers. But so can several works of fiction, including Steven Pressfield’s mystical golf novel The Legend of Bagger Vance (1995). An athlete/tortured soul in need of salvation, his angelic or god-like mentor with the power to grant such redemption, and the mystical qualities of the sport of golf work together to create a powerful metaphor between sport and spirituality.

Pressfield’s book is often compared to Michael Murphy’s classic Golf in the Kingdom (1972), but the former screenwriter and avid golfer is better known for his military fiction. In The Legend of Bagger Vance, Pressfield explores war, but also guilt, redemption, and golf.The story follows Rannulph Junah, a broken man but also a local golf champion, as he competes with real-life champions Bobby Jones…

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Categories: Blogging

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

4 replies

  1. Oh, I loved that movie. I’m tempted to read the book but I don’t love golf. I always think the books are better than the movies though, so that’s motivational!


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