I just wrapped up the my second Tom Coyne novel, “A Course Called Ireland” and to say I’m ready to hop on an airplane with my sticks is an understatement. The first of two travel novels by Coyne, as the title hints, takes place in Ireland. This is Coyne’s native land, as he describes himslef a few times in the book. a tall, pale, redhead. He had travelled to the “mother land” a few times with his father growing up but never like this.
There is something almost romantic about this journey, similar in feeling to the stories of the Wild West back in the days of cattle drives and cowboys. Swap saddles and steers for rain gear and a bag of Mizuno’s and you’ve got the makings for an incredible adventure. 1100 miles, over 50 courses, all on foot may be one of the most incredible feats accomplished by a golfer. Coyne does an incredible job of ballancing between describing the golf and telling the story. It is easy to start giving a shot by shot recap of every course you play (I’m guilty myself) but he focuses more on the people, the place and the journey more than anything. There is plenty of room for your imagination even in this non-fiction novel, I caught myslef a few times thinking I could smell blood sausage and eggs or tasting the carmel flavors in a pint of Guiness.
Having listened to Coyne in interviews and even in the books themselves, he will be the first to tell you that the people make the story. This adventure is full of characters, whether they are family that came to play with him, locals he met in a tavern, or someone that offered him a lift as to not get eaten by a stray dog. This hits home in today’s society where human interaction amongst “strangers” is very short and impersonal, and even more so when traveling. Tom showed that you can be thousands of miles away from home, wearing wet hiking shoes, golf clubs strapped to your backpack and walk into a pub in the smallest Irish town and not find a stranger in the place. My take away is such, golf is a game that can bring together people separated by oceans, class, education, and profession. There is some unspoken kinship amongst golfers so next time you are at your local course, or club and you see someone playing by themselves, ask to join up because we are all golfers alike.
For more infomation about Tom and his wokrs see the link below. I will be starting, “A Course Called Scottland Next”.