Book Review: A Course Called Scotland

by Dan M | Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2018


scotlandTOM WARD

Author Tom Coyne who penned the New York Times bestseller A
Course Called Ireland is back at it again and this time around has set
his sights on the birthplace of golf in his latest book called A
Course Called Scotland.
Coyne has concocted a highly ambitious and incredibly daunting
itinerary at age 40 to play 107 courses in 56 days.
During his two month jaunt abroad in Scotland he used the time
to search for the secrets of golf while putting together massive
comprehensive practice rounds in learning to play links golf. All of
this in hopes it will culminate his qualifying for the Open
Championship which was being held at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
What really impressed me was how Coyne created what seemed like
an unattainable goal challenging himself with his own Mission:
Impossible bucket list. Very early on in his trip he played an average
of 36 to 54 holes a day checking off the courses on his list. That
alone on its own merit is a pretty impressive feat figuring he was
walking close to 15 miles day in sometimes extremely difficult weather
conditions…. while carrying his clubs. I personally felt exhausted
for him after those rounds as he crashed into his bed each evening.
Throughout his journey he played all the well known courses that
are used in the British Open rotation like the aforementioned St.
Andrews, Turnberry, Dornoch, Prestwick, Troon and Carnoustie which is
the host club for this year’s championship. However, I enjoyed his
descriptions of a lot of lesser known links courses that people aren’t
too familiar with like Montrose Links, Brora and Askernish.
Along the way he teed it up with numerous golfers at each course
some of them were members who provided him with great insight to the
layout and history of the course. I really got a kick out of the
colorful cast of characters that met up with him periodically at
different courses who he either knew before or corresponded with him
through e-mail. There was his best friend Robert, Gramma Billy and her
partner Gene, Alan, G-Money and many others that wanted to be a part
of his golfing quest.
The author does a great job describing the different courses and
nuances that each one possesses. He turns out to be an excellent
travel guide as well pointing out sites to visit near each town and
naming some of best places to stay and dine while there.
I was enthralled by Coyne’s sense of humor, insight and brand of
storytelling making me want to start planning my own trip to Scotland
as soon as my hand recovers from surgery.
Perhaps the greatest feat that he pulled off was getting his
wife Allyson to agree to let him go on his two month odyssey, of
chasing a little white ball all over Scotland, while she was back home
in Philadelphia with two small girls. They eventually did join him,
along with his father, when he was at St. Andrews making for a nice
family working vacation.
As a golf professional this book resonated with me on so many
levels. Even if you don’t play the game you’ll appreciate the effort
and fortitude the author went through in his attempt to attain his
dream of playing all those courses and trying to make it into the Open
So, does he accomplish his mission of playing all of those
courses? Does he discover the soul searching secrets of the game that
he so covets ? Did he qualify for the Open Championship? All those
questions and more will be answered in this hilarious, rollicking good
read that I highly recommend.
The book is 320 pages with eight pages of color photos and is
published by Simon & Schuster. It’s available in hardcover, Kindle and
Audio CD. Order your copy today at To learn more
about Tom Coyne please visit his website at
Tom Ward can be contacted at


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