Dan and Lincoln Markham are experts at cracking things open. Seven million people tune in to the father-son duo’s YouTube channel, What’s Inside, every week to see them chop something new in half and marvel at its contents. Might sound simple, but Dan and his 14-year-old son, Lincoln, have tackled some unique cut-jobs that speak directly to our curiosity genes: opening up rattlesnake rattles, a World Cup soccer ball, an electronic music machine, to name a few. But the What’s Inside crew had a new challenge on their hands when Erik Anders Lang showed up on their doorstep hungry to sample the local golf in southern Utah.
Thankfully, Dan left his handsaw in the toolbox for this one, and Erik’s clubs let out a massive sigh of relief. Instead, Dan and Lincoln performed some trademark What’s Inside gymnastics and broke down seven of their favorite nearby golf courses, pulling out 18 individual holes to showcase for Erik’s visit. Behold, Random 18.
“Some golf courses have those two or three holes that stand out from the rest,” Dan told me, speaking about the hole selection process. You know the ones he’s talking about. They’re burned in your brain due to either the pure aesthetic beauty of the design or by the sheer difficulty it took to finish—the unsolvable puzzle that leaves you questioning your self-worth, as the course architect’s diabolical chuckle echoes in the distance. Dan and Lincoln’s Random 18 was composed of both.
“The really cool part,” he continued, “was that the 18 holes we landed on as a first draft ended up being a par-72 at 6,600 yards. It wasn’t even our intention to do that—we just wanted to pick our favorite holes from these courses, and it worked out perfectly. It felt like a sign that we’d have a great time playing this way.” This proved to be a big understatement.
The Random 18 started as many great courses do: with a gentle handshake—in this case, though, the handshake was simply that the first five holes would be played on the same property. Over the next 12 hours, including more than 50 miles in the car, Erik, Dan, and Lincoln hopped from course to course in the southern Utah heat to complete their journey.
Something cool happened. One player in the group shot their personal best on the Random 18: an even-par 72. The format raises interesting questions about the mental approach to this game. Largely, how much does score matter? How much should it matter? Particularly in the pursuit of an adventure in golf, should we spend more energy seeking enjoyment in the moment and the process, rather than fixating on our end result? One thing is certain: this player will be counting this as their best round, despite technically not being able to add it to their handicap.
Use the comment section below to share how Random 18 would affect your game. Would you get frozen out by the fits and starts, or could the long wait from green to tee give you a chance to restart your engines? Lastly, share a city or town where you’d build a Random 18—maybe Erik will tee it up with you on your custom track!
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