I was at a family dinner in Brooklynn, NY sitting next to Uncle Ed and I knew the conversation would end on golf somehow, someway. “I got the next book for you to read.” Ed began. “A Course Called Ireland.” Ed has availed me several times about his own adventures on playing in Ireland. “This guy walked the whole country and played golf all over the place.” Ed continued. I was sold and grabbed the book as soon as I home.I enjoy reading travelled books of famous wonderers. Neil Peart’s collection is one of my favorites. The tale of a wondering person looking for enlightenment on the road pulls at my bones to get up and head out into the unknown. A Course Called Ireland tells how Tom Coyne pulled off the impossible of plotting a trip through Ireland playing every course seemingly in his path which would take over four months. He would do this all on foot and his wife agreed to it. What a miracle man!
A Course Call Ireland Journey
You did not read that wrong. Tom Coyne plotted a journey across the emerald Isle that would span over 1,100 miles on foot. He carried all his gear including his golf clubs. This is a incredible logistical nightmare. Tom named his goal to be:
When you played golf in Ireland, you walked. So I would walk. I would set out with golf clubs, and a good pair of shoes, invite all my golfing friends to join, and I would play until Ireland was done.
Tom shared his trek with a variety of travel partners including his wife. Whether its a traveling partner or alone, Tom treks along keep to his schedule and overcoming unforeseen obstacles including questionable dogs in his path.
A Course Called Ireland Picture
Tom does not describe each golf course hole by hole which would be difficult as he played over 50 courses. Some courses get a paragraph or two and others get descriptions of lost ball searches or the cast of characters he meets there. The book rolls in and out of topics from pubs, B&Bs, the road itself, people he meets, his traveling companions, and memories of trip to Ireland he took with his father.
Tom describes Ireland by how it is made up of the people and places he encounters. He becomes a minor celebrity as his progress is monitored by the local papers. This often comes as a surprise to him and helps to open a few doors for him.
A Course Called Ireland Favorite Passage
The book is chock full of great stories and adventures from beginning to end. As a writer of a golf blog, I found the following passage nailed how I rate golf courses:
Rather than focus on the fine points of course architecture and design, I had come to judge the golf courses of Ireland by a more essential set of criteria – number of balls lost, sandwich selections in the bar, proximity of the clubhouse to a B&B with a working shower, locker size, animist importantly, the number of tims I reached for a camera.
I think the only element missing for most of us is the pace of play but in the end that is one fine list.
Is A Course Called Ireland Buy/Borrow/Bypass?
The best way to describe a Course Called Ireland is to call is a golf beach book. The perfect book to peal through on vacation with your toes in the sand or a cold one in your hand. I doubt many of us will book a pedestrian tour of Ireland’s golf courses but it may just inspire you to get off the beaten path of your home course. This is a Buy for me.
Other Books by Tom Coyne
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