The ultimate Scottish links homage
10 years ago I wrote a book called A Course Called Ireland where I played every links course in Ireland, writes Tom
Coyne. Scotland seemed the next logical destination. I’ve been searching for the secret to golf since I was eight years old, and if it really existed, it would have to be in Scotland, the home of the game.
It took the better part of a year to plan my journey. I spent long evenings glued to my computer, emailing hotels, B&Bs and club secretaries. I wasn’t going to leave any stone unturned in my quest, so that meant every links, even out on far-flung islands.
The trip was 57 days long. The end date was a qualifier for The Open, where I wanted the story to end as a test of what I had learned about golf.
I travelled in a station wagon and took puddle jumper flights between islands, and a lot of ferries, especially down the west coast where the coastline is broken up with lots of fingers and peninsulas of land. I played with friends and family, and some strangers too.
Cruden Bay (pictured) was stunning for its views, quirks and joyful golf holes, and its hulking dunes, bigger than anything else I found in
Writer and 3-handicapper Tom Coyne played all 127 of Scotland’s links courses in 57 days
Scotland. Shiskine is nestled in a bed of preposterous rock walls and strange geographical formations, so it’s wonderful to look at as well as to play. Machrihanish Dunes was a favourite for how it was built – a modern day links built with no heavy machinery, just a shovel and imagination. And Askernish was my soulful favourite. I felt like a pilgrim traveling to the edge of the world to visit Old Tom’s lost course, and what I found there was a stunning and spiritual retreat for a golf soul seeker. Tom’s book about his journey, A Course Called Scotland, is available now.
Fish and chips; Tom in action.