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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2009
Tom Coyne has not added to the landfill of ho-hum Irish travel and golf books. Rather, he has penned 300 pages of interesting, and often hilaroius, insights gleaned from walking more than 1,000 miles in the land of his great-grandparents with golf clubs strapped to his back.

While golfers will find plenty to love in Coyne's four-month quest to play every one of the Emerald Isle's links courses, the rest will laugh at his run-ins with mountain goats, Irish sausage and the British Army while gaining a better understanding for a people who have drawn the short straw throughout much of history.

Whether he's negotiating a sideways rain with a 6 iron in his hands beside the Irish Sea or sitting at a dinner table with distant cousins he has never met, Coyne relays all the redeeming and regretful aspects of his journey with disarming honesty and great feeling.
"A Course Called Ireland" is a pleasure to read and I recommend it highly.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2009
I was marvelling to my mother the other day about how Tom Coyne has had three books published by major publishers, and he hasn't even sniffed his 35th birthday. That in itself is a huge accomplishment, but what really sets him apart from other young writers is that his writing and the maturity with which he expresses ideas and emotions have improved with each book.

Disclaimer: I'm a golf fanatic, so I pre-ordered the book. However, if you're hoping for a traditional golf book, you might be disappointed. This is a book about life on the road, the Irish people, the changing (or maybe not changing, depending on how you interpret Coyne's observations) culture in Ireland, Irish history, and what one can accomplish if he sets his mind to it and puts one foot out in front of the other. Golf is the vehicle that drives all of these other things, and Coyne makes sure that golf nuts get their share of anecdotes about the 50+ courses he plays. He digs into many of the courses enough to make the reader extremely envious.

I don't know what this kind of book is officially called. It's not a travelogue, a memoir, or a documentary. The only phraseology that sounds appropriate is "vicarious literature." Coyne goes out and creates an unique experience, and then the reader gets to relive it through him with the added bonus of his reflections after he has removed himself from the experience.

Without giving away the ending, I'll say that the surprise finish actually choked me up a bit. It's possible that the Irish sentimentalism he describes throughout the book is contagious.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2009
With his third published effort, Tom Coyne continues to grow as an observer and storyteller, this time taking his audience for an enjoyable - and insightful - walking tour of the entire perimeter of Ireland.

Though the cohesive theme is golf, this is not a typical "golf book", as evidenced by my wife's enjoyment of the book, despite her complete disinterest in golf. Tom Coyne spends an appropriate amount of time on the golf courses to appeal to the golf-interested reader, but also shares his "tales from the road" in such a way that even the non-golfing reader is thoroughly entertained.

Walking the entire route produces a thoroughly rewarding experience, and the author does an excellent job of immersing his reader in the Irish experience at every stop along the journey. Even when describing some of the challenges of the road - wild dogs, narrow bridges, military exercises, and the poorly chosen "Bog Road" - this book feels more like a rewarding walk down a finishing fairway, putter in hand.

This is a fast-moving read, littered with numerous "chuckle-out-loud" moments. It's a must for anyone traveling to Ireland - golf or not - and a should-read for just about anyone else regardless.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2009
Coyne's latest book is easily the most fun I've ever had reading about golf, maybe even more fun than playing the game! But to be sure, it is much more than a golf book. This almost absurd idea to trek around Ireland on foot would certainly make for an interesting book concept on its own, but told in Coyne's poignant, witty, self-deprecating, and heartfelt style, this book is utterly enjoyable to anyone - be they golfer, Irish, dreamer, or simply fans of a great story. I finished the book in just two days, disappointed to reach the end. It's a rare non-fiction book that can make you laugh out loud as often as this wonderful story does.

Coyne's writing comes across so effortless, yet void of pretense, that you truly feel and wish that you were experiencing the journey with him - as physically and mentally torturous as it obviously was!

I challenge anyone to read this book and not simultaneously wish that they were golfing, vacationing in Ireland, and wondering more about their own heritage and craziest dreams.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2010
If you're considering reading A Course Called Ireland, Paper Tiger, or Gentleman's Game, here is what you need to know: Tom Coyne studied writing at Notre Dame and attempted to play on their golf team - turned out he was better at writing, proven by his first book - A Gentleman's Game, turned into a movie starring Gary Sinise, Phillip Baker Hall, and Mason Gamble. Mason went on to play the lead role in finally producing a film of Golf in the Kingdom(1972)- the best selling golf novel of alltime (and shot at Bandon Dunes). Tom's next writing project required he spend a year attempting to improve his golf enough to make it thru Q School and earn his tour card - then write about the experience. Paper Tiger was a joy to read and must have been a dream experience to live. A Course Called Ireland was based on this simple premise: I'll walk the entire perimeter of Ireland, carrying my clubs and all that I need on my back with one pair of Keen hiking shoes - and write about it. He journeyed inland, entertained visitors, broke out and traveled small parts by car, but all in all, lived and wrote an incredible story that, like his other books, puts his reader in a place they would otherwise never experience and it's done with great skill, humor, self-deprecation, and incredible passion for golf. If you like Michael Bamberger, James Dobson, or Curt Sampson - you're going to like reading Tom Coyne very much. Enjoy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2009
Having bought Tom Coyne's second book, "Paper Tiger" on a trip to the United States I was excited to hear that his third book was taking him across the Atlantic. After a long wait for it to be published, I was not disappointed when it finally arrived on my doorstep.

By choosing to walk from point to point, Tom takes himself and his readers to parts of Ireland that are rarely mentioned in other books about this great country. Whether it's in Florida or Ireland, Tom tells his tale in a way that makes you feel that you are right there along side him. One cringes with the emergence of each new blister, and one rejoices with him at the emergence of sunshine from behind the rain clouds. Golf is the central theme to this book, but like his others it does not dominate. The book is as much about relationships with family, friends and the discovery of one's personal heritage.

Tom does this with distinct style, weaving observation, history, anecdotes and pure comedy together in a narrative that is as beautiful as its setting.

Congratulations Mr. Coyne on another great novel, I eagerly await your next great adventure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2010
I stumbled upon this book by accident but boy I am glad I did! It was one of the best golf books I have ever read. Tom Coyne takes us on an unforgettable journey that kept me turning pages as fast as I could! It made me laugh out loud, love the game even more than I already did, and prompted me to tell every one of my golfing friends that this is one they have to pick up!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2014
Tom Coyne's trip around Ireland's golf courses spoke to me in a way that I wasn't expecting. As a non-golfer, I wasn't sure why this book was recommended to me, but it quickly became clear that this is WAY more than just a golf book, it's an incredible story. Highly recommend for anyone who enjoys compelling true stories and thoughtful writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2013
A wonderful book about Golf in one of the greatest locations in the world to play this frustrating game. Every golfers dream is to be paid to play Links Golf on the Emerald Ilse. The sub title of looking for a "Good Pint"only adds to the mystique. When you read about "The Incident" your sides will ache from laughter
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2014
If you happen to be going to Ireland to golf this is must reading. It paints a very accurate picture of the daunting weather conditions you will face and the exhilaration of the fabulous, towering dunes that surround many of the golf holes. It also gives you a good sense of many of the towns you will be enjoying.
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