Culture | November 8, 2022 7:06 am

Austin-Based Random Golf Club Proves Golf Is for Everyone

The fun-loving company produces videos, makes gear and hosts 50-person rounds

On the course with Random Golf Club
On the course with Random Golf Club
Random Golf Club

We won’t argue that any good came from the pandemic, but certain industries benefited from the global shutdown, including online retailers like Amazon, food delivery apps and golf. The sport often associated with old, rich white guys enjoyed a resurgence in 2020. According to the National Golf Foundation, more than six million new golfers took up the game, accounting for the largest ever year-over-year increase. And golfers played more net rounds than the prior year, even though most courses were closed for at least part of the spring season.

All in, 2020 was a bad year but a good one for golf. It’s also when Austin became the new home of Random Golf Club, a company founded by filmmaker Erik Anders Lang, who moved to Austin and brought the fledgling RGC with him. 

Lang’s career began as a photographer in New York, eventually moving to Los Angeles to make documentaries, music videos and commercials, as well as those behind-the-scenes features on DVDs. In 2009, his brother introduced him to golf, and he fell hard into the sport.

“Nothing in my life captivated me the way golf did and still does,” Lang tells InsideHook. “I’ve been down the rabbit hole and have seen more golf than most people will in a lifetime. Golf doesn’t have an answer. It’s ridiculous but also so deep. It’s the most paradoxical thing.” 

Naturally, Lang turned his camera toward golf, shooting a documentary about golf and meditation called Be the Ball and then hosting Adventures in Golf, a series that took him around the world to spotlight the game, its courses and the people who play it. But he noticed that, as much as he loved golf, golf wasn’t particularly inclusive. 

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“I joined a private club in L.A. The course was nice and the people were nice, but they weren’t my people,” he says. So, he canceled his membership with the intention to form a new club that welcomes everybody and plays publicly around the world. The answer was Random Golf Club.

Random Golf Club makes gear and apparel, produces videos and hosts in-person meetups for golfers, but Lang describes it simply as “a global community of local golfers.” Fans of the brand can wear hats and polos, they can learn where to play and how to play, and they can meet people to play with. It’s the last one that excites Lang the most.

“You never know who you’ll meet on the first tee,” he says. “RGC was built around the opportunity that golf presents from a community standpoint. Why not make it a big-ass club where we can all find our game and our people together?”

The big-ass club manifests in RGC Meetups, in which local golfers are invited to join together in large groups numbering from a few dozen to 100 people, all playing balls on the same hole. Austin’s first meetup was last fall at Lion’s Municipal, while Dallas recently hosted an event at Keeton Park. The latter saw 50 golfers come together in a casual free-for-all, with amateurs and veterans playing alongside each other in a nine-hole scramble. 

Lang hopes that these meetups get more people interested in golf, and he encourages anyone to join, even if they’ve never swung a club and just want to stroll the fairway with their friends. Ideally that leads to more people, and different types of people, taking up the game. Because the more people who find golf, the less it will belong to stuffy country clubs.

Random Golf Club hopes to launch a paid membership next year where members can connect online and in person, plan trips together and gain access to events. RGC will continue to create videos and products and host meetups to feed its growing community, with the goal that the next person you meet on the first tee box might become a lifelong friend, or at least provide some temporary camaraderie as you bond over a shared love of the game.  

“There are very few things that encapsulate our entire experience in life the way golf does, whether social, personal, physical or emotional,” says Lang. “Golf hasn’t stopped being fascinating. It’s a great subject for storytelling.”