It all began with a few wayward Scots whacking a pebble over some dunes with a stick. A couple soldiers and shepherds playing hooky, giggling as they haphazardly smacked a rock over a pile of sand. Apparently, it’s been addicting since Day One.
The game of golf caught on and the first official golf society was formed in 1744: The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. They played on a 5 hole course, the quality of which can be determined by rule 10: “If a ball be stopp’d by any Person, Horse, Dog or anything else, The ball so stop’d must be play’d where it lyes.” Sounds like a dog track to me.
Three centuries later, the southerly winds graze the deciduous dogwoods at Augusta National every April. Each year, a game is played there that is somewhat reminiscent of its predecessor on the eastern shores of Scotland. Except everything is noticeably more…manicured. Meticulous.
Surely we appreciate and fawn over this beauty, but would those Scots recognize this as the game they started all those years ago? If you are at all familiar with the game of golf, chances are you were initially drawn in by Sunday at the Masters. While we rightly esteem its tradition of excellent golf, there’s one big problem—it does not square with the actual experience of 99.9% of golfers.
Think about it—you’re watching flawless players hit perfect shots with scores well under par. They’re wearing expensive clothes neatly hung on their athletic frames. They’re playing on a perfect course with wealthy peers in an aura of…dare I say…exclusivity. Not even pinecones are allowed.
Now, ask yourself—does this represent your golf experience? The reality is this: most golfers are introduced to the game in its most unrealistic form. As you consider it further, does your golf experience align more closely with the Scots of old?
Centuries may separate us, but as you ditch work at 3:00pm on a Friday and head to the local muni to get a quick nine in, the Scottish ancestors look down upon you favorably. When you’re slamming tall boys and laughing with your equally irresponsible friends on that Friday afternoon, and the boss is wondering where you are — you may be much closer to the roots of golf than the next green jacket winner.
Perhaps counterintuitively, we at RGC believe golf in its purest form is you and your friends tromping across a ragged muni. This is golf as the world knows it, and this is what Random Golf Club seeks to recapture.
The first installment of our print series, available for purchase from Random Golf Club.
The glorified allure of exclusive club membership has altered the world’s view of this vital necessity in golf, and that’s what we want to revitalize. We need a club for all the non-members. A club that’s accessible. A club for all — especially the beginners.
This is a club where the doors stay open (Editor’s Note: Are there even any doors?? Shout out to Nick in Sydney, Australia. Love the vision, mate! 😉), and where the newest member to show up to the first tee is the most important person on the course. Because this group believes in the power of this game to connect people, and in the responsibility we have to preserve its masterpieces. And we believe all newcomers are up to the task. If you want to replace exclusivity with accessibility, expectation with liberation, denial with acceptance—welcome to the club.
We’re not a club you belong to, we’re a club that belongs to you. We’re not a fellowship of the perfect, we are a global hodgepodge of the fallible and fun. So if you’ve got a ball, and you’ve got a stick—RGC is for you, and RGC welcomes you. Now let’s get back to playing hooky and whacking it all over the dunes.
> > Grab an RGC Member Kit and the second one’s free < < . That’s because we believe every new golfer should have low-cost access to golf’s essentials — and a free way to pay it forward to another newcomer.
Erik is a writer and teacher from Fort Lauderdale, FL. When he's not trying to figure out ways to golf for free, he's usually hanging out with his wife and Rhodesian Ridgeback, Koa. You can find more of his work at punchbowlgolf.co