Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Links at St Andrews, Scotland A phenomenological hermeneutic exploration of golf's primordial place
by Blalock, James Madden, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2014, 283; 3623930
Abstract (Summary)

The central research questions of this study are: What is it to play a fully authentic round of golf? And how can a depth psychology that includes an imaginal perspective perceive the game of golf in such a way that allows for a fully embodied experience? Flowing out of these questions is a multi-layered approach that aims to unfold golf's soul by exploring its primordial place, the Old Course at St Andrews, Scotland, which is officially called The Links. From a phenomenological hermeneutic exploration of The Links, its features, place names, and layout, a map of Jung's individuation process emerged. Here, place and person are given the opportunity to individuate. How does a place individuate? The challenge for this dissertation is to show that the individuation process of person, psyche, and place are seamlessly woven into the enfleshed fabric of Being.

Phenomenology describes the surfaces of golf and its play-scape, depth psychology guides us below and underneath those surfaces, and hermeneutics invites a mythic interpretation of how enfleshed embodiment experiences this place. This study takes rich metaphors from depth psychology and integrates them with phenomenology's lived body and then implaces their confluence into an actual place. The Links is a living place that both invites and exudes imaginal embodiment.

This dissertation links golf's physical surface with its soul, players with targets, motion with stillness, and mind with body. Indeed, golf on The Links is a play of duality and wholeness. Hence, this study will observe, describe, and inquire into the dyadic relationships that form the whole of golf, and then release these relationships from their fixity in the literal, in order to allow golf's authentic layout to reveal itself. This is done by interpreting the mythic stories that are embedded in and throughout this ancient play-ground. These stories guide each individuating golfer who ventures on The Links to discover his or her authentic Swing. The authentic lived experience is that while playing on The Links, this golfer is, at the same time, being played by The Links.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Casey, Edward S.
Commitee: Meyer, Ruth, Moorhead, Cari
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 75/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Clinical psychology, Aesthetics
Keywords: Embodiment, Golf, Individuation, Nature, Play, Wholeness
Publication Number: 3623930
ISBN: 9781303968051
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