“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep rolling under the stars.”
It’s not often we begin with a quote from a great American writer, but as it relates to Patrick Koenig, photographer and golf road warrior, it’s perfectly understandable. Jack Kerouac’s thoughts fit Patrick to a tee (with apologies to the letter T), having just completed a 13-month, 35,000-mile club-swinging journey across 47 states as part of his RGV (Recreational Golf Vehicle) Tour.
All of us have traveled to play. All of us love to share stories and pictures of our favorite tracks with other golfers. All of us, in the recesses of our dreaming minds, have entertained the “I wonder what it would be like to just take off for a while and play golf every single day” scenario. But few of us allow the thoughts to actually turn into a yearlong reality, combining a passion for adventurous golf with the logistical and physical demands of playing more than 8,100 holes at 405 different courses across the United States, sharing it all along the way with friends, family and thousands of followers watching the adventures unfold on social media.
But that’s exactly what Patrick Koenig did.
Few of us have the luxury of taking that much time away from the normal demands of work and life. But tackling the RGV Tour also made big demands on Koenig. He quit his software sales job, bought an RV (having never driven one) and began the work of mapping out course possibilities, photography necessities, partner options, weather reports and potential Redbox viewing lists. What began as a simple idea to play golf for a year took on bigger meaning as he drove deeper into the nitty-gritty of it all.
The seeds of Koenig’s epic odyssey were planted long ago. Introduced to golf at a relatively young age — when it hit him “like a disease” — and becoming proficient in photography as an adult, he combined the two interests to create an exploding Instagram following (now at more than 75,000), which started the wheels of the RGV Tour turning, literally and figuratively. Once committed, he made a decision that tells us all we need to know about where the Koenig heart lies. Without any sponsorship money, willing to pillage his savings and setting out to raise money for The First Tee of Seattle, Patrick ensured that the RGV Tour would be focused on two things: Fun and Charity.
As we find out in Episode 131 of the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast, Koenig accomplished both goals in glorious fashion, Pied-Pipering 743 card-carrying members of the RGV Tour along the way and presenting an oversized check for $20,000 to the First Tee, which will allow 100 kids to participate in the program free for a year.
Patrick details what it’s like to call his RGV a home, which parking lots provided the best (and strangest) experiences (including a story about the possibility of having to “defend” the RGV outside a Walmart), how he dealt with the challenges of receiving and sending mail while on the road, and the best part of having a mobile driving range on top of the RGV. He shares how he decided which courses to play along the way, how input from locals helped him find hidden (and often remote) gems, which courses he missed that are still on his radar, and how he realized how much truly great golf there is to play in every state.
So kudos to Patrick Koenig — for dreaming, for taking the risk, for throwing caution to the wind. And for bringing all of us along for the ride.