The ul­ti­mate Scot­tish links homage

Golf World (UK) - - SPIN -

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.

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