Since the publication of A Course Called Ireland, I have been fortunate to find myself in a position to promote golf travel to Ireland. I like to think that I’m as vocal and as well-researched an advocate for Irish golf trips as one might find. But in the curious case of Thomas Young, co-owner and head designer at Ballpark Blueprints, it seems that getting in touch with me has put an Irish golf trip on hold.
I have no doubt Tom will get to Ireland soon–he’s as links-obsessed as I am, and he’s desperate to play Carne. He was so excited about designing the perfect Irish itinerary that he shot me a message out of the blue, seeking advice from a well-traveled stranger. An ordinary email exchange about whether to stay in Belmullet or in Sligo somehow turned into a blueprint of my alma mater’s stadium arriving in the mail, which turned into a conversation about A Course Called the Kingdom, which turned into this incredible print and an Irish golf trip diverted to Scotland, where Tom will be teeing it up with me this summer at Machrihanish, Mach Dunes, and Askernish.
Things are coming together in a funny way for this trip. They’re mostly unexpected. And they’re all really good.
A Course Called the Kingdom is about a lot of things for me, but at its heart it’s a story about obsession. It couldn’t have a more fitting print to represent it. The below movie hints at some of the obsession behind the art, but it doesn’t show Tom tracking down yardages for every golf course on my list of 105 (a lot of the lesser known courses don’t have scorecards online), often adding up yardages hole by hole in order to reach a final tally for the trip. Finding the right home for each tiny pin, matching up all the flags with the correct numbers, then redoing all of them when I added a course, then subtracted, then added another–he’s obsessed with his designs, and it shows in their extraordinary quality. He knows the joy of giving all your energy to the pursuit of something uncommon. And that’s the blueprint for every minute of the next two months.
The prints are now available framed, unframed, or on canvas, and signed editions will be available soon as well. I will be giving one of these to each of the clubs I visit as a way to thank them for being a part of this adventure. Check out Tom’s work at Ballpark Blueprints, and get a unique gift for the sports enthusiast in your life. You can tell them about the guy who designed it, and they’ll be able to read about his trip to Scotland soon.