Saturday, January 9, 2021

20 for 2020: Number 11—Dare to Dream—The Links Life

In a time when we have learned, lived and been reminded time and again: there are no guarantees, is it okay to dream? My question is not a rhetorical one; I ask it with humility. In an effort to offer an answer, I've noticed my psyche undertakes a small but sincere battle. Yes, no, maybe! My optimistic disposition wants to offer a resounding "yes," while the pragmatic, personal side says "not so much." Fortunately, I found an answer—not from within, but from a friend. Thanks to the sharing of her dream, I encountered what is number 11 on my 20 for 2020: The Links Life.

Lesley, who I know through the Women's Golf Network (WGN) at the Olympic Club wrote:

I don’t know if the WGN board is talking at all about future “on the road” trips, but I thought I’d send along a little something for consideration.

Take a look at the video link attached. Ireland has always been on my wish list for a trip, but seeing this just pushed it over the edge for me. And then take a look at all the other Ireland episodes these guys put together.  Heck, I’d be happy to copy their whole travel itinerary!

Would love to hear your thoughts on the possibility of putting Ireland on the schedule for 2022.

Reading her message was an emotional and spiritual shot in the arm. To read about it in the midst of limited travel and heightened restrictions didn't make me sad, I found it hopeful. 2022: We can do this!

I should have known golf in Ireland would be a shared dream among my golf girlfriends. I watched the video, smiling from ear to ear as I imagined the possibilities. The joy and beauty of Adare Manor was trumped by the delight of seeing Notre Dame alum and New York Times best-selling author Tom Coyne join this crew. What a great trip!

I have only loosely followed Tom's career as an outstanding golf writer. A year behind me at ND, I remember encouraging Tom to apply for the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program as I thought his affable nature, quick wit, notable presence and keen intellect would make for a great teacher. ACE's loss was creative writing's gain as he completed his MFA in the year following his graduation. When his first book "A Gentleman's Game" came to print and was made into a movie, I thought he certainly made the right choice. And, since that time he has written a number of best selling books that golfers everywhere appreciate.

But, I still see that teacher in Tom as demonstrated in the YouTube series "The Links Life." Created to accompany his next novel, "A Course Called America," these eight to twelve minute video shorts tell the story of golf, with Tom as the narrator. His input is stellar, his swing spectacular. 

He begins each episode with questions golfers and their families ask of each other: 

Is golf a game? A lifestyle? An obsession? My name is Tom Coyne and for me, golf is connection. It's a connection with nature, places, but most of all—with people. I've traveled the work on some crazy golf adventures and everywhere I go, I find people whose lives revolve around this little white ball because this isn't just a game—it's The Links Life.

I watched every episode with awe and amazement, envy (he gets a lot better weather than I did at some of these venues) and an increased appreciation for this great game. They say that golf is a thinking person's game but I would contend it's that much better when played with a reading and writing person. Some of his erudite comments, e.g. Who set these pins? Nero? Caligula? have stayed with me. Love it. I don't know what I enjoy more— the courses or the commentary.

Tom on the Cliff's course at the Olympic Club. Ep 7

Tom's ultimate claim, as professed by introduction to The Links Life is that golf is about connection. And if there's one word I use to describe spirituality in my class, it is connection. Golf can be a spiritual experience because of the way it connects us to what he said--people and nature and God's creation. It creates memories to which we are bound through the good and the bad. It has in the simplest way reminded me that it is okay to dream and that we should....and we need not do that alone.

Thanks, Tom. Looking forward to hosting you at the Olympic Club for a book event celebrating: A Course Called America. Hopefully in 2021—if not 2022!

Photo Credits
A Course Called America
Author, Tom Coyne

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