Notebook: Curling Up With a Good Book
On these cold and windy days, teeing up with a good book makes a lot of sense. I just finished one I really enjoyed: “A Course Called Ireland” by Tom Coyne.
Coyne has written for Golf magazine and Golfweek, and authored “Paper Tiger” and “A Gentleman’s Game,” which was adapted for the movies and starred Gary Sinise.
To quote Jim Dodson, “Tom Coyne’s purely delightful adventure reminds us of why we love this game, with all its quirks, characters, unexpected bends in the road, and small epiphanies. I thoroughly commend this bittersweet yeoman’s tale to any fellow who simply feels the urge to play his way over the horizon.”
In the course of 16 weeks, Coyne walked his way around an entire country, playing nearly 60 courses, 900 holes and walking more than a thousand hard-fought miles. He draws you in with humor, wonderful stories and songs in pubs, glasses of Guinness, Ireland’s history and its welcoming people.
From time to time relatives and friends joined him in this adventure: his father, who introduced him to golf; his wife, Amy, who encouraged him to follow this dream; golfwriting friends’ and brothers-in-law.
Coyne continued walking while they often went ahead by car. Listed as the top course he would walk back to first is the Carne Golf Links in Belmullet, Co. Mayo.
In 1948 I made my first trip to Ireland, staying for three months. My mother had not been home in 20 years and decided this was the year to return and see her parents, and also my father’s family, only one village away.
My father and my sister and brother held down the fort in Holyoke, Mass. I was the lucky one sailing off on the SS America for a trip that still warms my heart.
I remember walking the “Banks” with my uncles in the early evening, along with their dogs, who loved chasing rabbits. Even at 12 years old I knew the beauty of the ocean views.
In this western most part of Ireland, on a small peninsula, the beauty was astounding. The Carne Golf Links was built on community owned land, purchased in 1985.
Eddie Hackett designed the golf links with the first nine opening in 1992 and the second nine in 1993. The clubhouse was finished in 1995.
Today Carne Golf Links is listed in seventh place in the top 100 courses in the U.K. and Ireland. My late husband and I were fortunate enough to play the Carne Golf Links several times. To walk the “Banks,” playing golf meant marveling in the beauty of a dozen or more holes that ring the ocean.
Who would think that all those many years ago, when I was chasing rabbits, I was now chasing golf balls?
My aunts often frequented the clubhouse at Carne Golf Links. Lunch after Sunday Mass, celebrations of all kinds and the distance was only a couple of par-5s away.
I hope to play Carne one more time and to visit again with my cousins. It’s surely on my bucket list and ’tis a joy just thinking about it.
Hole-in-One: Bill Gilmore scored his ace at Hyland Golf Club on Ja. 20, on hole No. 6, 115 yards, using his 7-iron. His playing partners were Bill Parris and Dr. Bill Hill.
Pinehurst: The Birdies played Jan. 21 in an odd and even game. One best ball was needed on odd-numbered holes and two best balls on even-numbered holes.
Overall – Janice Kaczmarek, Sue Griggs, Joyce Riedell, Roe Lyons, 95.
Front – Anna Vigilis, Donna Tanner, Irene Corbin, Mary Bartley, 42.
Back – Francine Smnarrelli, Barbara McKitrick, Barbara Ann Miller, Darlene Skinner, 52.
Knollwood: The Rainmakers played in a low gross and low net tournament Jan. 21: Flight 1 – Gross – Peggy Jones tied at 47, with Doris Stone. Net – Judy Smith, 32. Flight 2 – Gross – Carolyn Crenson, tied at 47, with Lois Vollmer. Net – Joanne Hoff, 32.
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