The Kingdom of Golf in America


For golf’s true enthusiasts, the game is far more—and far more complex—than a simple hobby, commodity, or slice of the sports industry. It is a physical and mental place to be, a community. It has a history, a hierarchy, laws, a language, and a literature. And in Richard J. Moss, it has a chronicler.

From its beginnings in the northeastern United States in the 1880s, golf has seen its popularity, and its fortunes, wax and wane, affected by politics and economics, reflecting ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (16) from $8.05   
  • New (11) from $21.85   
  • Used (5) from $8.05   
The Kingdom of Golf in America

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$19.49 price
(Save 44%)$34.95 List Price


For golf’s true enthusiasts, the game is far more—and far more complex—than a simple hobby, commodity, or slice of the sports industry. It is a physical and mental place to be, a community. It has a history, a hierarchy, laws, a language, and a literature. And in Richard J. Moss, it has a chronicler.

From its beginnings in the northeastern United States in the 1880s, golf has seen its popularity, and its fortunes, wax and wane, affected by politics and economics, reflecting tensions between aristocratic and democratic impulses. The Kingdom of Golf in America traces these ups and downs, ins and outs, in the growth of golf as a community. Moss describes the development of the private club and public course and the impact of wealth and the consumer culture on those who play golf and those who watch. He shows that factors like race, gender, technology, suburbanization, and the transformation of the South that shaped the nation also shaped golf. The result is a unique, and uniquely entertaining, work of cultural history that shows us golf as a community whose story resonates far beyond the confines of the course.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal - Henry Allen

"[Richard J. Moss's] own love for the game is infectious."—Henry Allen, Wall Street Journal
Wisconson Golfer - Dennis McCann

"A historian specializes in the past, but Moss casts a sharp eye on the game's future as well and his conclusion is sobering."—Dennis McCann, Wisconson Golfer
Orin Starn

“Richard J. Moss is the leading historian of golf in America. A scratch golfer as well as a crack scholar, Moss brings his clear yet sympathetic and deeply knowledgeable eye to this very fine new book. The Kingdom of Golf in America is the best study we have yet of golf’s by turns snobby, democratic, and in any event surprisingly large place in the fabric of American life.”—Orin Starn, author of The Passion of Tiger Woods
Jim Dodson

“Any book by historian [Richard] Moss is a reason for celebration, especially when the subject is golf, a game he understands far better than most. With The Kingdom of Golf in America Moss has provided a richly detailed and brilliantly nuanced account of the game’s social growth in America, must (and delightful) reading for anyone who wants to understand how golf got into the bloodstream of a community and a nation. He beautifully reveals the scope of our enduring love affair with life’s most complex and social game. Bravo.”—James Dodson, author of Final Rounds and American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf
Library Journal
Moss (history, emeritus, Colby Coll.; Golf and the American Country Club) here presents what is effectively a social history of golf stateside, his premise being that golf has engendered a kind of community in America, i.e., a "kingdom," with its own rich history. To support this premise, he covers U.S. golf from its beginnings including the emergence of courses and country clubs, the rise of the golf professional and tournaments, the evolving of equipment, and the personalities associated with the sport. While this is largely a conventional third-person history, when relevant, Moss clearly indicates where his own opinion diverges from those of others. VERDICT As a social history of golf, the book succeeds. The premise of golf as a community, however, needs further development. The book would have benefited from a more sociological approach, such as that taken by Robert D. Putnam in his Bowling Alone. While a number of titles deal with the individual elements covered in this book, Moss's work covers a broader swath. This is an ideal library book in that golfers may wish to read it once but would not necessarily feel a need to keep it in their own collections.—Steven Silkunas, North Wales, PA
Kirkus Reviews
Moss (History, Emeritus/Colby Coll.; Eden in the Pines: A History of Pinehurst Village, 2005, etc.) presents a study of golf's development in the United States. In this painstakingly thorough review of the history of golf in America, the author categorizes it as a community, consisting not just of those at the top--the professionals and executives who control golf organizations--but also the millions who play, either on private or public courses throughout the country, as well as spectators of the professional game. This idea of a community, one of many such that formed in response to the upheavals and modernizations of the 20th century, is one of several themes Moss develops as he traces the sport's evolution from a pastime of American nobility, imported from Scotland in the late 1800s, to a significant part of today's cultural landscape. Others include the game's ever-present, often class-based dichotomies: private versus public, professional versus amateur, and "snobs versus slobs" (Caddyshack). The author also covers gender and race, perennial hot-button topics for the sport, as well as the impact of technology, including not only equipment, but, just as important, the rise of the automobile and, later, the golf cart and TV. As one would expect from a historian, the author provides detailed information from period sources and locates developments within the social, cultural and political context of their time. Though Moss includes stories of noteworthy individuals and events, his emphasis on facts and historical analysis rather than narrative makes the reading experience a bit more like playing from the rough and hazards than an easy stroll from fairway to green, and Moss' occasional inclusion of a first-person aside adds to the feel of listening to a college lecture. A valuable survey of U.S. golf history, but a bit too dry and academic for casual readers.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803244825
  • Publisher: UNP - Nebraska
  • Publication date: 6/1/2013
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 608,863
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard J. Moss is John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Professor of History (emeritus) at Colby College and the author of Golf and the American Country Club and Eden in the Pines: A History of Pinehurst Village.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)