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In Search of Burning Bush: A Story of Golf, Friendship, and the Meaning of Irons [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Michael Konik


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Book Description

25 Nov 2005
"Few authors write as passionately about the game of golf as Michael Konik. "In Search of Burningbush" communicates why the greatest sport in the world has touched so many lives so deeply, including mine." - Jack Nicklaus. "Golf is a game of Spirit and spirits. This true story, which reads like good fiction, describes a journey into golf's magical realms."- Michael Murphy, author of Golf in the Kingdom and chairman & cofounder of Esalen Institute. "I thoroughly enjoyed reading Michael Konik's "In Search of Burningbush". As the story of one man's quest to experience the ultimate in golf in Scotland despite all odds, it is an inspirational must-read for golf fanatics." - Ty M. Votaw, LPGA Commissioner.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: American Media International LLC; abridged edition edition (25 Nov 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932378863
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932378863
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 19 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,102,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

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."

From Chapter One --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Michael Konik (Los Angeles, CA) is the author of three previous books, including the wildly popular The Man With the $100,000 Breasts. His writing has appeared in more than 100 publications worldwide, including The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Travel & Leisure. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
If I understand the shouting of this incensed Scottish fellow correctly-and there's always the outside chance I've completely mistaken his livid burr for an enthusiastically warm welcome-what he means to tell me is that a proper game of golf here in the land where the sport began is supposed to take only three hours to play. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book! 7 Jun 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I just finished In Search of Burningbush and felt compelled to write. The author's true voice and passion for golf come through in every chapter, and many of the passages describing the Scottish links and countryside are simply beautiful.
I was also drawn to the spiritual aspects of the author's quest as I am in a mid-life search for my "Burningbush". In Hinduism, I have read, the main thrust of the belief system is that people think they want certain things such as pleasure and worldly success. But ultimately, in this life or another, even noble life pursuits become unfulfilling. What people really want is something else - infinite being, infinite awareness, and infinite bliss. We can only get brief spatterings of true joy; we feel as though some great harmony exists in the world, then our bodily limitations take over.
Golf is like that. We feel the sensation of perfect body and soul in a golf shot, but then it is instantly extinguished as we remember the double bogey on the last hole. I wish the feeling would last forever. As I read this book, I sensed the same longing. I think what many of us are looking for is there, just past our conscious selves. When our bodies are quiet and our minds are still, the door opens for an instant. In that instant is an eternity that we simply cannot comprehend.
As I write this review, I am looking at a picture of the Old Course at St. Andrews hanging on the wall of my den. I bought the picture many years ago because it looked like a great den picture. But now, after reading In Search of Burningbush, I think something else may have drawn me to that picture - a type of "connection" I am sure Don (the main character in the book) would say. Someday I hope to play the Old Course and discover, if only for an instant, the metaphysical connection explored so beautifully in this book.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Search 20 May 2004
By Mr. 30 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you've played a perfect round of golf, you don't need this book. If you've hit one perfect shot in your life and been satisfied never to try for another, you don't need this book.
If, however, you have ever walked off a green ready to quit the game altogether (I paid money to be here?) only to walk down a fairway two holes later wondering if you might make a run at the PGA Tour after all, then Michael Konik has written the golf book for you.
Mr. Konik's world is a world of very high highs and very low lows. Apparently, there have been "afternoons" (plural) of lovemaking and wine, nights of high-stakes poker, weeks of world travel and miles in fast cars. But there has also been divorce, betrayal, and serious heartache. He has come close perfection, he has lost it, and he is out there in search of it again.
The perfection Mr. Konik seeks this time is the ultimate pilgrimmage to the birthplace of golf with Don, the ultimate "golf buddy" Konik has been searching for since childhood. He wants the golf to be pure: he wants to walk the hallowed courses with someone who appreciates them as much as he does. But he also wants the relationship with Don to be pure, special, and deep.
If Thoreau's "mass of men" lead lives of quiet desperation, Mr. Konik is not one of them: his desperation is loud. He desperately wants Don to have a magical time. He desperately wants to have a magical time while Don is having a magical time. He charts the golf-trip itinerary in great detail, and calls on his travel-writing contacts to be sure that he and Don will have the right caddies and play the right courses. He prepares a tremendous gift to his friend Don, who would never have the chance to experience like this if it weren't for Michael.
It is what happens next that makes the book special and causes reveiwers to say it is about more than golf. Perfection, again, eludes Mr. Konik, usually in direct proportion to his effort to find it. Konik tries too hard, he realizes, and he knows it makes him insufferable as a golfing partner, let alone as a buddy. "I hate myself for it," he says.
Thus the metaphor linking golf to life is complete. Nothing is easily or permanently perfect (except, perhaps, Mr. Konik's ear for the thick dialect of the Scots, which he reproduces with laugh-out-loud accuracy). The journey, which was to have been the ultimate golf trip, has considerable highs and lows. Throughout, Mr. Konik confesses to his own imperfection and tries to understand Don's. When writers --and friends-- are that honest, we end up pulling for them to the end.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Golf in scotland 29 May 2004
By Mr. A. Hamilton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Those of us who live and play golf in scotland are accutomed to reading books in the golf journal genre written by Americans. The authors speed from famous course to even more famous course and say nice things but are clearly unsettled by the lack of caddy carts, yardage posts, no surf and turf or iced water and the warm beer.
There is nothing patronising about Konik's book. He understands Scottish golf, considers it to be real golf, and he can write some. On the agenda is the hunt to re-create writer Michael Murphy's experience and more mundanely find the Burning Bush golf course and the hole where Murphy came to understand everything. Konik also does the obvious - he phones Murphy from the likely spot and gets an answer - of sorts. The action moves nicely along with moments of high commedy. He gets into the small places, and likes them, throughout using his companion as a foil and straight man. Usually these golf journals end on an understandably flat note - i.e. the plane out of Edinburgh. But Konik has a surprise...
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent read for all handicaps..... 5 Aug 2004
By R. Simon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have played played most of the courses mentioned in this very readable book. Their experiences brought back many fine memories.... To go to Scotland with good 'buds' and to see how golf is part of the basic fabic of everyday life there, really sums up the trips I have taken. It is the next best thing to actually going there. Also true to fact, is that there are really no bad links courses, just lesser known ones....

This read compares very favorably with books such as 'A season in Dornock' and should be read prior to any first time trip to Scotland / Ireland.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Masterpiece 17 April 2004
By Barry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a frequent flyer Delta, I have been an avid reader of Michael Konik's golf writing for more years than I care to admit. I'm a fan. He writes with a lot of passion and sentimentality for the great game of golf. He's at the same time also very funny and dry when he has to be. I appreciate Konik's style, which stands out from the mainstream golf writing. However, even though I own his other golf book about caddying for Jack Nicklaus I was somewhat unprepared for "In Search of Burning Bush." To say this a "great" book is not doing it justice. This is THE book that captures exactly why golf makes a difference in my life. As soon as I finished it and caught my breath, I gave it to my wife and said, "If you read this book you'll understand."
I have already written a personal note to Mr. Konik to express my appreciation for his honesty and his eloquence. I am rephrasing some of it here because I truly believe anyone who cares about golf will feel grateful that he read "In Search of Burning Bush." I know many people from the Shivas Irons Society will consider what I'm going to say offensive, but I've got to be honest. Konik's books, which is based on "Golf in the Kingdom," is far superior to the original. The emotions in "In Search of" are much deeper, and more powerful. It's very real. I came away feeling like I knew the author and his friend Don like they were old family members without any secrets.
Don is very eccentric and likable character. I would love to play a round with him or just talk golf. As he's described in the book, Don is a very inspiring guy who doesn't let his physical ailments get inthe way of his love for golf.
On a side note, if you have ever played golf in Scotland you will find yourself saying "yes!" when you read the descriptions of what golf is like over there compared to America. Excellent descriptions that really capture the spirit of Scottish links golf vs. American park golf.
I expected Michael Konik's next golf book to be good. However, I was unprepared for it to be so powerful and so effective.
I can't recommend any book I've read in the last year any more highly.
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