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Coyne, Tom, A Course Called Ireland: A Long Walk in Search of a Country, a Pint, and the Next Tee (New York: Gotham Books, 2009).

An epic Celtic sojourn in search of ancestors, nostalgia, and the world’s greatest round of golf

In his thirties, married, and staring down impending fatherhood, Tom Coyne was well familiar with the last refuge of the adult male: the golfing trip. Intent on designing a golf trip to end all others, Coyne looked to Ireland, the place where his father had taught him to love the game years before. As he studied a map of the island and plotted his itinerary, it dawned on Coyne that Ireland was ringed with golf holes. The country began to look like one giant round of golf, so Coyne packed up his clubs and set off to play all of it. And since Irish golfers didn’t take golf carts, neither would he. He would walk the entire way.

A Course Called Ireland is the story of a walking- averse golfer who treks his way around an entire country, spending sixteen weeks playing every seaside hole in Ireland and often battling through all four seasons in one Irish afternoon. Coyne plays everything from the top-ranked links in the world to nine-hole courses crowded with livestock. Along the way, he searches out his family’s roots, discovers that a once-poor country has been transformed by an economic boom, and finds that the only thing tougher to escape than Irish sand traps are Irish pubs. By turns hilarious and poetic, A Course Called Ireland is a magnificent tour of a vibrant land and a paean to the world’s greatest game.


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Studies in Travel Writing (journal)
Centre for Travel Writing Studies (Nottingham Trent University)

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