Erik Anders Lang


As a subheading I dabbled with “Golf’s Great Saviour”.  Strong sentiments even though I feel there is real truth to the title.  Erik Anders Lang is changing the entire paradigm of golf.  For those who know golf is a fun loving, don’t-take-so-seriously, spiritually motivated, game for everyone, he provides validation – he is pointing the way. He is the truth and the light.  Too strong again?  I also played around with “Making Golf Relatable” but noticed his banner pic on Twitter is him jumping in a helicopter with his golf clubs. So, I landed on what you see above in “Golf’s Really Important Guy”.  Here’s why…

Wait, before I dive deeper into what contributions Mr. Lang has made, and is currently making, in the game of golf I would like to preface that no matter how much digging I do to create this little blog post, it will pale in comparison to the work this man puts into each article, blog, podcast, tweet or video he produces. In other words, this little write up won’t really do him justice but, rather, point another much deserving light in his direction.  He is a professional journalist and documentary film maker who has narrowed his focus in on the game of golf, its deeper meaning and how that relates to all of us as human beings.  Our internal battles, questions, goals, joys, failures, successes and how this funny game delivers lessons and metaphors the whole way through.  He’s doing it. He’s bringing this part of the game to light.  Golf, in many places is the elitist sport that the nay-sayers claim it to be but golf in its fullest expression is a game for everyone and, at the same time, is our life’s great philosopher, and Mr. Lang continues to dust off the great and ancient text which may one day reveal the truth to our humanity, entirely.

Erik. Looks like a nice person. Photos by Stuart Kerr

I found him on Youtube a couple years ago with his series, Adventures in Golf where he travels the globe in search of unique golf experiences, people and places. I watched Slum Golf in Mumbai.  What the…!!  The people he met love golf and they are playing it through the streets and alleys, in the super down-trodden back streets of India.  This episode was an inspiration for me. Then I watched World’s Northernmost Links Course about a golf course in Norway that lies inside the Arctic Circle.  It is the most rugged, raw, and natural setting for a golf course that you might ever see.  “It is golf in nature pushed to the extreme. There is nothing like it in the world.”, said the Superintendent in the 10 minute piece Lang completed two years ago.  Depending on the season you can play 24 hours a day or you can bask under the northern lights, in which there may be no better spot in the world for viewing. And since seeing the northern lights is literally the only thing on my bucket list right now, this is definitely the place I would like to go to see them. The miracle of this golf course’s existence is that it lives on a Gulf Stream and gets a steady dose of warmer air than is usual for this part of the world.  They are literally surrounded by permafrost but have the unique and good fortune of being able to grow grass.  I find this entire story just incredible. He plays blind with two of the world’s best blind golfers suggesting proudly that if you have a disability you are encouraged to find your way into this game.  He recently did a piece on a little known 9 hole course in California designed by someone very special. It is titled Jaw- Dropping Course of 10,000 Redwoods.  This is one of the best pieces I have seen.  Partly because of the work that went into it and partly because of the incredible history of the course.  The redwoods are special as well but the part that speaks to me the most is the family-owned and operated part of the story. There is such love, respect and passion for each other, their customers, and the course itself, it is hard not to feel real emotion watching this episode.  Another super inspiring episode was the work they are doing at Rivermont Golf Course in Georgia, USA to allow for natural grasses to grow in around bunkers, ponds and the peripheries to help create a sustainable landscape.  This golf course is working hard to have the least possible environmental impact and are a sound example for the rest of the golf courses.  It will only be a matter of time before everyone recognizes that this re-wilding is prettier than anything you see at Augusta.  Wall to wall green grass looks amazing but come on; colour, texture, birds and bees, these are the things we are communing with as golfers.  A perfect lie is nice but real nature is nice too.  Golf Outta Compton, Urban Street Golf in Portland,  The African American Golf Experience are all just slices of a pie that is too big to eat in one day, one week or one blog post.  He’s making golf relatable; he is golf’s great saviour, and he is also just a guy doing his thing.

Golfing in the slums of Mumbai. Why wouldn't ya!

He’s kept his message clear that golf is for everyone, and it is meant to be enjoyable.  One of his more recent endeavors is Random Golf Club. Random Golf Club is a community of creative golfers all over the world who want to make the game more inclusive and fun for everyone. Across the globe, our local chapters spread the ‘ALL ARE WELCOME’ message in their hometowns by getting together for rounds of golf and RGC Meetups: one-of-a-kind events where groups of 10 or 20 people (or even 100 people) all play the same hole at once.

As I write this blog, I just started following Random Golf Club Vancouver and look to participate in their upcoming events.

Safe to say there is nothing too pretentious about this logo

As I watch in awe at the depth of meaning Mr. Lang pulls from each location he visits I continue to piece together the path to my own life.  I look to him for signs that might help point the way for me.   Others will identify with it and use it to strengthen themselves also. They will use it to find their own purpose in this world and there will be precedence to act and to move that purpose forward.   For me, I have had 3 or 4 meaningful encounters in my life that have helped point the way and the work Mr. Lang is doing counts as one of those encounters, albeit in the form of seemingly infinite content.

Finally, a personally directed shout out to Erik Anders Lang:

Thank you for inspiring people and for being inspired.  Thank you for moving forward with your call to make golf relatable and to extract an Aha! moment from every golfer who knows deep in their soul that this game is played by the spirit that lives inside of us and not the bodies we were born with.  I will give back to this game and my community in an important way and you will have had something to do with that.  And in this life, I will manifest a hole in one that is so “point-your-shot-to-the-bleachers” that they will have to invent a new word for viral – and you’ll see it first, brother!  

Continue your good work – you are making a huge difference.

Your Friend (whether you realize it or not),

Scott McCartney

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