A Native American History

As seen in the Boston Globe, The Golfer's Journal, Golf Course Architecture, ICT News, the Worcester Telegram, and elsewhere, Mark Wagner's writing on golf have focused on unique history and excellent design.

In 2024, Wagner was first Runner Up in the Coyne Prize, which celebrates the best storytelling in golf.

In his new book, Native Links, Wagner turns his attention to the surprising history of the country's First People. The result is an entertaining and inspiring look at the history of the game—and the country—we all love.  

ADVANCED PRAISE

"I am honored to be a part of this book. Growing up on the Pueblo of Santa Ana New Mexico, I started the game of golf around the age of 8 years old. It was a unique opportunity for the summer recreation program to do 3 days of golf at Santa Ana Golf Club. It was then that learning this new game I found silence and the best part being outdoors. During my high school years I started taking lessons and spending all my days in summers at the course, knowing every pro and staff it was truly home. This was then I wanted to start my career in golf. I have had many mentors through this journey, once I received my PGA in March 2012, I took the path of golf instruction. My goal has been growing the game in Native Country, working at Native owned courses in New Mexico, Arizona, and New York it has been my point to get Native American youth involved in the world of golf. With my platform that the PGA of America and the Nike N7 Fund has provided me, I am truly living my dream in growing the game of golf in Native Country." 
—Jason Montoya, PGA Teaching Professional, Player Development, Santa Ana Golf Club

“I had the good fortune of participating in the Great American Indian Shootouts, which were turning points in raising funds for Native American youth in academic and vocational training. Shepherded by American Indian Services, those funds have provided thousands of scholarships. The Forever Young Foundation continues this work in many areas, though we know there is more work to be done. Mark Wagner’s history of Native Americans in golf, including his research on the Great American Indian Shootout, is a step in the direction of healing and hope."
—Steve Young, hall-of-fame quarterback and Superbowl champion, founder of the Forever Young Foundation 

"Mark Wagner’s book Native Links is a well researched history of Native Lands upon which golf layouts took shape from the magnificent Shinnecock Hills of Long Island, New York, to the Cochiti tribal lands at the headwaters of the Rio Grande in New Mexico. Native Americans have revered their lands and played their sports thereupon, and they took up the European sport of golf on their lands. Mark is a great story teller about many Native Americans’ competitive successes. Mark’s book is rich with new details and insights into the vast contribution to American golf by Native Americans. His clear writing is a joy to read and captivating. You will learn new golf stories which will energize you to explore Native Links from coast to coast. Be sure to pray over your putts and the Native Spirit will assist you, too. Enjoy!"
—Robert Trent Jones, Jr.

"Through Native Links, Wagner expands readers’ historical context for golf in the United States. Vignettes capture stories spanning more than two centuries, stretching from Southampton to Redding, Calif. His thoughtful exploration of Indigenous experiences within golf history reveals the inescapable intersection between sports, culture, race, use of natural resources, recreation and politics. Communion with the land, connection, and complexity serve as themes, while Wagner’s many interviews elevate voices that have long deserved a platform and shed light on communities actively creating new pathways for opportunity in the game." 
Victoria Nenno, Senior Historian, USGA Golf Museum and Library

About the Author

Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Dr. Mark Wagner is the fourth child of eight born to Jack and Pat (Coyle) Wagner. A decorated athlete and educator, Mark has published extensively on golf course architecture and history. In 2021, as he explored the history of Native-owned golf courses, Mark began to realize there were many firsts among our First Peoples in golf, a game he has loved since his childhood outings in the Adirondacks with his family.

The result is Native Links, a travelogue and oral history about and by the Indigenous people who have shaped and played the game. Mark lives with his partner Monica Elefterion on a small farm in Dudley, Massachusetts, where they raised their son Myles and fostered Cody and Jared.