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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Book Review - A Course Called America by Tom Coyne


A Glorious Golf Journey Around America

A Course Called America by Tom Coyne

Tom Coyne’s wife, as he points out, has the patience of a saint! Not once, not twice, but three times she has endured her husband disappearing for months at a time to play golf. He insists this was the last time, but we’ll see! His first two golf adventures around Ireland and Scotland featured tall tales and were wonderful travelogues of the Celtic lands. Thanks to Tom’s book recommendation we visited extraordinary Dunaverty GC near Machrihanish on our last Scottish trip before Covid stopped the world from turning.

His third golf travel book sees him set out to find the “Great American Golf Course” as he plays in all fifty states. Does he find it, golfs nirvana? Well, I suggest you read this thoroughly enjoyable book to find out. It’s a joyous celebration of golf. The people in Tom’s stories are the stars, with the courses as co-stars  - including the one and only guy in the book who is a complete dxxx!

As golfers, we have all lived these stories, but Tom with his engaging and expressive language makes sense of it all. There was no club trophy hunting, and with his extraordinary logistical planning crossing the country it feels as though the people led the way and not the highest-ranked courses. 

Tom’s unique planning method of sending random emails, making random tee times with random people all came together beautifully and I suspect he is really an AI expert.

I found this book more personal than his previous tomes as he talked about his love for his father and the times they spent on the course together.  This had great meaning to me personally as I was fortunate to share the love of golf with my father before he passed away. Countless games around the world including playing Augusta National were the spiritual passing of the baton from father to son and I hope to do the same to my son. Rarely did my father miss the opportunity to tell people of his back-to-back pars on the eighth and ninth at Tall Pines!

I have been fortunate to play many of the courses in the book, from Cypress in the west to Shinnecock in the east and in a country obsessed by lists Tom has his - defined by the Coyne/Olympic burger dog rating - I agree with some and disagree with others, as will you - they are Tom’s sign off at the back of the book and you’ll no doubt devour it like its aforementioned halfway house snack!

Did he discover the “Great American Golf Course”? Well, you can be the judge and along the way, you’ll thoroughly enjoy his cross country adventures and the characters he meets. A Course Called America does a beautiful job of combining lessons in golf architecture, geography, and history, but mostly it explores what really makes "our game" so special - the crazy, funny, passionate people we call golfers.

And Tom, if Australia is next, I’ll see you in Melbourne!

Order your copy here on Amazon

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