Imagine being able to chat with your favorite all-time writers. To pick their brain for details on the words that have given you joy, fueled your imagination, stirred your soul. For the third time on Talking GolfGetaways, hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch and Producer Kris McEwen have that opportunity, as author Tom Coyne joins the trio again (go to Episodes 129/130 for earlier podcasts) to discuss his newly-launched, highly-anticipated “A Course Called America”, following his previous best sellers “A Course Called Ireland” and “A Course Called Scotland”, both of which are must-reads for the passionate, traveling golfer. In this engaging episode, Tom (we can call him Tom here due to his valued friendship) offers insights and details on his latest journey, a monumental undertaking that covered “50 States and Five Thousand Fairways”.
To open the episode, Mitch asks Tom to describe the excitement and support he felt during the launch party for ACCA, held a couple of nights before. He talks about the friends, business associates, golf media members and golfers who had joined him on his trip that all came to Rolling Green Golf Club in PA to celebrate an incredible accomplishment, and adds that the experience was emotional for him as he thought about the difference between the “launch” of his first book (3 people and a subway ride in NY) and the detailed, 8 month planning journey that had gone into the Rolling Green event.
Darin asks Tom to talk about his first impressions of Tobacco Road in NC, a course both he and Mitch have at the top of their US list, and to compare it to the Ireland courses he had written about so eloquently earlier in his career. Tom uses that discussion to describe the ultimate realization of what constitutes the strength of golf in America, the incredible variety of courses and designs available, while at the same time noting the difficulty of getting onto the great private courses in the US, quite different in policy than in the UK.
Mitch, Darin and Tom then dive deeper into the search for the Great American Golf Course and discuss various mutually-played layouts. Hawktree in South Dakota, Northwood in California, which Darin has also played, and Wawashkamo on Mackinac Island in Michigan, which blew Mitch’s mind, are mentioned, with Tom noting that he set off on his trip to discover as much about America and its people as its golf, and getting straight to the impact of his trip by saying “This journey saved my American soul, if you will”. Darin and Tom then talk about two courses in Oregon, Gearhart and Highlands, both of which were key stops for Tom in the Pacific Northwest.
Mitch asks Tom about course architects and the effect the trip had on his appreciation of them. Tom shares his thoughts on the classic guard as well as the up-and-coming new wave of architects that make up, for him, a new “golden age of design in America”. With talent like the late Mike Strantz, Rob Collins, Keith Rhebb and Riley Johns, Dan Hixson, and Keith Cutten (all discussed), Tom’s assessment of the future is spot-on.
Darin asks the obvious question at this point in Tom’s career, “What’s next? Another “Course Called…..”? Tom says that he’s he’s happy with the trilogy of Ireland, Scotland and America as it now stands, and will focus on his new role as Senior Editor of the fantastic golf magazine ‘The Golfer’s Journal’, as well as going back to his first writing love, fiction. He notes that after the time spent traveling and being away from his family in order to work on “A Course Called America” he’s thrilled to be able to create fiction right from home.
One thing is certain. All golfers should be grateful for the latest work from Tom Coyne. “A Course Called America” firmly establishes him as one of our most gifted writers, about the game we all love.