Fine Art

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 soFullSizeRender copyon–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 obsessionFullSizeRender 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.

9 thoughts on “Fine Art

  1. Mary,

    Proof positive that Tom is thinking about his friends at Carne. And follow the links for more on his latest project. Thanks again for the hospitality.

    Best Regards,



  2. Our greetings to Thomas Young…congratulations on a keepsake, fantastic work of blueprint art! Now, we want to know how obsessed you really are with the links ! How many have you played and what can you share about the roll and the sound, the sheep and cows!,,…Enniscrone is our Irish favorite. (I’ll show you mine if you show me yours !)….Cheers……Billy and Gene….


  3. To the other Tom…if you stay in Sligo ….nearby is a must for great food “The Venue”…I was almost satisfied
    Inhaling the aromas the first time. I think across the way you can see Strandhill Golf Club. And now I must confess a fib…not as serious as an outright lie! I woke up thinking about favorite Irish courses and Nairn & Portnoo came to mind..AND a thatched roof club house ..a British soccer player with bad knees…and the absolute delight playing Connemara Isles twice…unique and so much fun..competition for Otway!!!!..I must admit..each time I think about favorite….it’s Ireland…it’s magic…how can anyone not feel enchanted …and now I am having similar thoughts about The Kingdom…….we are ready for another “green bible” !!! We just have to live long to play most! We are eager for “In Search of A Course Called The Kingdom”. Cheers to all Gramma Billy and Gene


  4. Thank you for the warm welcome! It’s been a real honor and pleasure to be a part of A Course Called the Kingdom.The only real downside to the whole thing is it pushes back my Ireland golf trip, one that I’ve been looking forward to for years. But I suppose Machrihanish, Machrihanish Dunes and Askernish (and whatever other courses I can squeeze into that week) will be a decent substitute.

    And, as long as we’re making confessions, I will admit that I’ve never played a true links course. I’m obsessed with them, yes, but thusfar it’s all been vicarious pleasure: I think I have ever book ever written about links golf, links golf courses, and people who designed and have played them.

    My first round on an authentic links will be with Tom C. at Machrihanish, 67 days from today (but who’s counting?!)


    1. Warning! Links golf is more aditive than drugs and only slightly more expensive. You are in for a real treat. The smell of the sea, the sting of rain drops in a high wind, most of all the feel of the sand base ground the courses are on. The great courses were layed out on good ground not engineered. They will have quirks never found in modern designs. I have had the pleasure of playing Machrihanish on several occasions over the years and I believe the first tee shot may be the most impressive risk and reward opening in the British Isles. I feel certain you wil love the links and will want to go at least twice a year. Sell your house an go.


  5. Sunday after golf I get opinionated ! This is testimony to Tom’s embracing of all people. Young, old, normal, strange, Irish, Canadian,salt of the earth, upper crust, artistic, poor, Guinness drinkers, tea lovers, all, some serious, and others with slight OCD..just a wee wacko….but a lover of the game…golf.

    Sooo it might just be me or does anyone out there have a sense of fun and humor? Perhaps everyone is waiting for TOM to start. Personally I am enjoying the thought of I’m getting excited counting my unders (ok so it’s a female thing), checking my rain gear, testing the weight of my bag, choosing sunglasses, watching The Masters, picturing Tom playing in Scotland, cheering him on, having a laugh, betting some GBP.

    So I hope I woke someone this game and adventure not suppose to at least partly be incredible fun. My job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable……AND I would love to hear others thoughts, feelings about golf in Scotland.

    We will probably never meet so go for it…so please someone tell me off…..looking for life in all the wrong places? This is too quiet for the game I have come to love….


  6. I woke up again this morning…Hallelujah! My thought on golf today..the emotion of love and hate in the game…good….the emotion of indifference…a killer.

    Now a thought for our Sir Tom Coyne… journey ..SEOIRSE!…I heard/saw this Gaelic some time ago ..I was told it meant “freedom” (another feeling of golf)…but alas the Urban dictionary states “a strange Irish creature that can dance and use it’s head to keep a football in the air for multiple minutes – woo that SEOIRSE is strutting his stuff”. “The Kingdom” awaits and I am sure will give you a proper welcome everywhere! I’ll call ahead just to be sure!


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About Tom Coyne