Golf is truly a fun game to play. But even in golf, there are many challenges, it's more than just a literal walk in the park. You need to have patience, determination, courage, and resiliency to complete the course and achieve your goal.
As a golf lover myself, I’m so happy to have Tom Coyne on the Reaching Beyond podcast to share his truly inspiring story with you all. He is simply amazing. His books challenged me into living a life that is meaningful, fulfilling, yet interesting. In our episode, Tom will talk about his travels in different countries to play golf and the challenges of different courses while writing golf stories at the same time. It’s an exciting conversation!
Who Is Tom Coyne?
Tom Coyne is a New York Times bestselling author and a popular sportswriter about golf. His bestselling books chronicle his golf journey in different countries, and he has been writing golf stories since 2001.
His biggest breakthrough in writing came with his third book published in 2009, A Course Called Ireland: A Long Walk in Search of a Country, a Pint, and the Next Tee, which made him a bestselling author. The book was a New York Times bestseller and a Barnes & Noble bestseller. It was also included in the American Booksellers Association and won a silver medal in the category of “Best Travel Book of the Year” by the Society of American Travel Writers.
Tom’s follow-up in 2018, A Course Called Scotland, was also an instant hit. It quickly became a New York Times bestseller. The book chronicles his travel to Scotland’s breath-taking golf courses that include even the secret ones in the highlands. The golf chronicles of Tom Coyne reached a trilogy with the release of A Course Called America: Fifty States, Five Thousand Fairways, and the Search for the Great American Golf Course in May 2021.
Aside from writing books, Tom is a podcast host and senior writer at The Golfer’s Journal. He has also written for various popular publications like Sports Illustrated, Golf Magazine, Golfweek, and The New York Times. Right now, Tom is looking at another golf map to venture into and write a course about. Eventually, his golf course series will no longer cover an entire country like America, but the whole world. So I will not be surprised if Tom Coyne someday concludes his “A Course Called” series with “A Course Called Earth” when he completes most of the best and exotic golf courses across the globe. And it all started with a simple dream of making a small place like Ireland his golf course.
The Inspiring Story Behind A Course Called Ireland
Sometimes there are unique opportunities that we fail to catch because we focus too much on the micro side. But if we zoom out, we will see the whole picture and the multitude of opportunities that lie before us.
“I was looking at a golf map of Ireland and trying to decide where we would go. … The more I looked at the map, the more it looked like one giant golf course. I could play the whole thing. Like, why try to do just one little piece of it? Let’s just play Ireland as one golf course.” – Tom Coyne
What started the journey to success for Tom was a complete shift in mindset. While most golfers are focused on playing each course in Ireland, Tom shifted his gameplay by looking at Ireland as a whole course — each actual golf course is like a part in a bigger picture.
“My whole world was on my back or in my pocket. I had everything that I needed and … my day was very simple. I was going to walk. I was going to see beautiful things. And at the end [of the day] there was a bed waiting for me as my reward.” – Tom Coyne
As Tom Coyne traveled from one golf course to another, he lived on a single backpack and experienced the simplicity of life, sometimes living with the assistance of people he met on the road and in pubs. But what made his journey exciting were the stories of every person he met.
There Are Stories In Every Course
Ever since he was a kid, Tom Coyne played golf. His dad introduced him to the sport that led to his passion. Aside from golf, he also loves to write and travel the world. The unique combination of golf, travel, and writing gave Tom the ability to become a bestselling author of golf stories about the challenges and everyday hurdles in the golf courses of different countries, like Ireland, Scotland, and the United States.
“I write golf because I love the game, and I’ve been playing it since I was a little kid. … Because of golf, … I was meeting three or four new people with interesting stories every day.” – Tom Coyne
Beyond the game are the people with varying cultures, beliefs, and perspectives in life. Each person has unique stories to tell, which makes the journey even more motivating and fascinating.
“Golf was just full of stories sitting around listening to caddies telling stories for hours and hours. … So, the storytelling aspect that is so central to golf … was hugely important to me — a chance to tell character stories. So it’s all about characters. It’s all about people.” – Tom Coyne
It’s the stories that ignited the inspiration to write. The captivating stories of people became a part of Tom’s journey while chasing his dreams.
“It’s not about me. But it’s really about all these people that … became a part of my life as I was chasing a dream. And then the Course Called Ireland is about the road that leads me to all these different people who are excited, supportive, and insightful about what I’m trying to do.” – Tom Coyne
The stories of the people he met on his journey led Tom to write his first novel, The Gentleman’s Game, a drama that revolves around various characters whose lives at an exclusive East Coast country club were transformed one summer.
“I wasn’t writing about myself, and I wasn’t writing about sports or wasn’t writing about golf. I was writing character sketches. … I was looking at people, and I was curious about what their lives were like and why they did the things they did. And I think that’s probably a motivating factor for every writer is this curiosity about people and their worlds. And so golf just seemed like a natural way.” – Tom Coyne
How about you? What stories can you tell from the people you have crossed paths with for a while during your journey towards your dream? Tom Coyne was passionate about the stories of the people he met during his journey and converted that passion into something that makes an impact on others while enjoying the monetary rewards at the same time. You, too, can turn your passion into a financially rewarding career.
Reach Beyond With Tom Coyne
Guys, this is such an incredible interview with Tom Coyne — especially for those who are contemplating traveling the world while working and playing at the same time. It is possible. It may seem like a dream job, but like all else, there are challenges and hardships. It’s not even close to a walk in the park. But if you put in the effort and your heart, it is truly rewarding.
Do you work towards perfection in everything you do, even in other matters that may seem trivial? Sometimes, we only do our best at work but coast by when it comes to over things. What separates the best from the mediocre is that they do their best in everything they do. This creates positive habits, which serve as a good foundation for success in any endeavor.
Tom Coyne is really amazing, and I love all his books. His writing style is insightful, humorous, and very enjoyable. You should check them out.