What's the best indicator of a good book?
For me, it's reading the book cover to cover in less than a month.
And that's exactly how I tackled "A Course called Ireland" by Tom Coyne, published by Gotham Books (www.penguin.com. A hard-cover costs $26).
I've never finished an entire golf book in that amount of time. Most golf books I adore for the photos of those courses I'd love to play in the future. I dabble in reading them from time to time, but rarely do I finish them.
Coyne's book drew me in for two reasons: It's an interesting story, a guy who walks the entire Emerald Island playing all the links the island has to offer. Anyone who's ever been there knows it's amazing that he came back alive to tell his story.
The second reason was more self-serving: I'd been to Ireland three times and cherished every trip. I wanted to relive those experiences through Coyne's travels.
Anyone who dreams of going to Ireland, or has been there and dreams of returning, should read about Coyne's four-month journey. He explains Ireland's history, and its links golf courses, better than most guide books ever could. With first-hand experiences and a passion for all things Irish, Coyne rehashes funny stories from pubs and bed and breakfasts and road-side encounters.
Coyne has officially become the most enviable golfer in the world, having played every Irish links with 4,531 strokes. It's a book that allows us all to dream that, maybe someday, we too can do the same.
With a car and a caddie, of course.