You know how it goes.
Harry Potter: come for the wizardry, stay for the friendship. Lord of the Rings: enjoy the quest, but be captivated by Frodo and Sam. The storyline is compelling, but it’s the characters that stick with you.
You might not recognize them at first, but when you come to an RGC Meetup, you’ll come to find you’ve known them all along. It’s the unusual stance on the first tee. The way they react to a bad shot. The awkward crouch when reading putts, or the groan when they stand back up. It’s the way they linger in the parking lot, not wanting to leave the course. Maybe you recognize them because they’re your friends. They’re your family. And for you, they’re the group that makes golf fun.
And that’s what RGC is all about: bringing people together for a new kind of golf experience that just might open up something that’s been locked away inside of them. And each meetup, no matter where in the world it takes place, is a collection of unlikely characters that become lifelong friends by surrounding themselves with the game that brought us together in the first place. And how do we play golf? We all play together: every person, every hole (unless there’s, like, 150 people…in which case we split up into groups of 50 to make it a little less dangerous). That’s the essence of the RGC meetup.
But in order to get here, we had to start somewhere. Here’s a look at the RGC Meetup since the beginning. What it is, how it came to be, and why we want to do more of them in 2021 and beyond.
Royal Park: The First Meetup Ever
On May 17th, 2018, eleven golfers decided to meet up with EAL and take a chance that ended up paving the way. In Melbourne, Australia, Erik and Stuart got together with a bunch of other random golfers — and they had no idea what would become of it.
In truth, eleven people don’t divide very naturally into foursomes. So it was a simple suggestion that made the RGC way permanent: “Should we all just play together?” It was the first meetup in its purest form: the first time walking the fairways nine-wide with total strangers. The first time feeling nine other golf balls flying by you at almost every turn. The first time that feeling of community and camaraderie felt like it could be something enormous.
It was misty. It was perfect. It was the beginning.
Roosevelt & Griffith Park
Returning home, it only felt right to pick it back up on home soil. So Erik and the gang went out at the Roosevelt Golf Course just a few weeks later, and then followed it up with a Griffith Park meetup at Wilson just a couple months later with twenty some-odd oddballs in August 2018. Can you spot Beau??
Canal Shores: 26-Person Alternate Shot
Up next was the famed Canal Shores in Chicago, Illinois. The course here was the star, not only because esteemed guest Andy Johnson, founder of The Fried Egg, carved one of its bunkers by hand. It wasn’t just that — it was the history that this narrow metropolitan course offers in its shack.
None other than Bill Murray used to sling hotdogs out of the turn house at Canal Shores, and it’s safe to say some of the inspiration from the most famous movie in golf history came from this place. Check out what golf in Chicago looks like when 26 people all play at the same time:
Winter Park in Orlando & Orange Tree in Scottsdale
Now…The Not-So-Official Official Random Golf Club Meetup Tour was on. These two meetups saw the RGC Community growing and growing from the swamps of Florida to the deserts of Arizona. And we even crashed a wedding and had the officiant hit Erik’s ball (and, tbh, he striped it).
Plus, you might notice that these meetups helped inspire our forthcoming Character Collection. Can you guess which characters were inspired by Los Angeles and Australia??
Joe Hooks, Tom Coyne, and Ben Goodly have arrived at the 17th at TPC Sawgrass with their pride on the line. And when the last putt drops? We’re on to Torrey Pines, home of the 2021 U.S. Open, to see what YOU, the RGC Community, can pull off on camera. Will you Break Torrey? Or will Torrey break you?
Royal Park: The Return to Melbourne
“No matter what, it’s still hard to hit a shot when there’s 90 people behind you.”
It’s only fitting to do it big at the home of the meetup, right? And this time: it was 90 people instead of just eleven. Connections, re-connections, and re-tees, all at the original location of the RGC Meetup. Plus the newest additions to the RGC Community: some youngsters.
Pacific Grove: An RGC Opera
Ever heard a vibrato on a tee box? If not, we highly recommend it. Because when you throw in some dogs and about fifty people, you’re gonna get yet another entirely unique RGC Meetup. Or, as Erik has termed it, the “moving cocktail party with a subtle purpose.” Just check out the video from our meetup at Pacific Grove Golf Links on the Monterey Peninsula — just a short drive from Pebble Beach and Spyglass, but a hell of a lot cheaper and easier to play with half a hundred people.
Gus Wortham: The Biggest One Yet
Gus Wortham Golf Course in Houston, Texas is perhaps the perfect venue for an RGC Meetup: the former site of a country club reclaimed over history by the people of Houston and maintained as a sterling municipal course in the heart of the city. Plus, when we stopped by in February 2020, they were in between clubhouses, making for a hodge-podge day for our ragtag bunch of hackers.
The best part of this meetup? The sheer number of people, and the places these characters came from. Over 100 people from Texas and beyond, with representation from Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston. Beginners and experts alike took to the course in a giant flock, and the road continued on.
Penmar: The Calm Before The Storm
It was a rainy day in Los Angeles at our final RGC Meetup before the pandemic took hold. But rain never stopped anyone who really wanted to enjoy their round from having a good time, right? The vibes were at an all-time high here at Penmar, and the weather actually made it all oddly more beautiful. Little did we know it’d be the last time we saw each other for quite a while.
And now? The time is almost here to get back out there with you. Our first meetup in over a year is coming up before you know it (we gotta leave a little room for surprise, right?), so keep your eyes peeled and your game sharp — and let us know where we should have an RGC Meetup when we get back on the road!
Andy is a writer and the Editorial Manager at RGC, tending the pin for any words you see from Random Golf Club. On the course, Andy believes himself to be the "Flop Daddy", but he also knows that you can't choose your own nickname. Out of bounds, he enjoys live music, taking a shower, and a good pair of sneakers. He no longer sleeps in a van.