After just two holes on the Culver Academies Golf Course, New York Times best-selling author Tom Coyne said, “I already love it.”
Seven holes later, Coyne walked off the ninth green saying “Fantastic. I loved it. Loved it so much I’m going around again.”
High praise from a golf writer who has written best-selling books about the courses in Ireland and Scotland. Now he is working on his next book, A Course Called America, criss-crossing the country to play courses that show Americans’ love of the game.
The Culver course was recommended to him by people who follow his social media accounts, Coyne said. He contacted Facilities Department administrative manager Lyn Hanley who worked with golf course superintendent Mike Vessely to set up a time for him to play. He then put on social media he was going to be at Culver and soon people were offering to play with him.
His nationwide trek will include every course that has hosted a U.S. Open, along with a variety of municipal, public and private courses. Many of the courses he plays have been recommended by others. His goal is to play 36 holes each day. His intention is to paint “a full portrait” of the courses across the country.
Coyne’s Tuesday schedule included playing the Warren Golf Course at the University of Notre Dame, which recently hosted the U.S. Senior Open, in the morning and Culver in the afternoon. He then drove to the Chicago area to play Olympia Fields Wednesday morning and Medina Country Club in the afternoon.
This is his first trip through the Midwest, he said, and it is serving as an introduction to some of the courses designed by regional architects like William Langford (who designed Culver’s course with Theodore Moreau) and Perry Maxwell.
What impressed Coyne about the Culver course is that it has “an incredibly natural feel to it. To me, that’s what makes a great golf course.” The design takes advantage of the topography, so golfers are “playing the landscape” like the natural bumps and dips, he said. “That’s what makes great golf holes.”
Plus the course, especially the greens, are in “ridiculously good shape,” he said, “It’s hard to believe this is a school course.”
“I hope these young lads and lassies appreciate what they have here,” Coyne said with a Scottish accent, then he smiled. “I’m here and I appreciate it.”