Konik Michael - In Search of Burningbush
|A deeply moving true-life tale of courage, wisdom, and friendship between two men united by their love of golf|
Part travelogue, part meditation on the great game of golf, In Search of Burningbush is a beautifully written true-life story of an unlikely friendship between two men with nothing in common save a consuming and abiding passion for the links.
Michael is a successful young journalist, educated, traveled, and sophisticated. Don deals poker at a small Las Vegas casino, is well into middle age, and smokes a pack a day. When they meet at Binion's Horseshoe during the World Series of Poker, they talk golf and make a date to play. But when Michael first catches sight of Don limping toward the practice putting green at The Canyons course, he thinks, "Golf is the last sport this poor fellow should be playing." He might be right. Don suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as "brittle-bone disease," a condition that renders him imminently breakable--the mere grip of a firm handshake could cause a fracture. Yet he manages to play the game with grace and good humor, pro-style, soundly beating his younger opponent. It is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Since he first fell in love with the sport, Michael always wanted a "best golf buddy." And he wanted to travel with his best golf buddy to Scotland--the promised land, the sacred birthplace of the game. From that first day of playing with Don, "a hobbling train wreck of a man who plays golf as though possessed by the ghosts of Jones and Hogan and Sarazen," Michael knew in his heart that he had found the best golf buddy of his dreams and that, someday, they would play golf in Scotland. Together.
That day comes in a whirlwind two-week golfing excursion across the Kingdom of Fife. In search of the mystical course "Burningbush," made legendary by Michael Murphy's bestselling novel Golf in the Kingdom (a book that has inspired legions of devoted acolytes, Don included), the two men embark on a self-actualizing journey of the mind, body, and spirit. As Don struggles with his physical challenges, Michael struggles to keep the game--and life--in perspective. Because, as Don reminds him, in the end, it's not your final score that matters, but how you made your way along the course.
"The first tee at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club sits directly in front of a stately white clubhouse whose large picture windows afford a splendid perspective of the Grampian coast. Members enjoying the otherwise unspoiled view of the North Sea may choose to inspect the swings of visiting hackers--or turn away in horror, if necessary. As I wave a few irons to warm up, I notice several of the club's older members looking toward me and Don, trying discreetly not to stare. It must be difficult. We are, admittedly, quite a sight: both wearing floppy bucket hats of the Gilligan-meets-Jim-Colbert variety; both toting identical Ping Mantis golf bags; both playing Titleist DCI irons. Plus, I've got this all-red Tad Moore Skyrider driver, now a collector's item, which looks vaguely like a Porsche 911 painted with lurid nail polish. And Don--well, Don tends to draw looks no matter what color sticks he plays with."