It’s not easy getting time with a guy who – deep breath now
– plans and plays 18 holes on one or two different golf courses every day;
takes, edits and markets stunning golf course photos he posts on social media:
drives himself all around the country in his Recreational Golf Vehicle and,
occasionally, squeezes in a meal.
The RGV has a lovely kitchen, but the meal tends to be a
golf course sandwich or burrito eaten on the run. Such is the life of Patrick
Koenig, who broke the world record for most 18-hole courses played in a year
when he notched Course No. 450 at Omni Interlocken on October 17. By the time
his 13-day, 19-course visit to Colorado ended with 18 holes at Redlands Mesa
and he crossed the line into Utah, he’d set a new goal for the year: 10,000
different golf holes and 555 different 18-hole golf courses.
“It’s a lot,” the 43-year-old said with a nod. “It’s a lot.”
I caught up with him in the parking lot of Lakewood Country
Club, just after his round at Broken Tee (No. 454) and before Round No. 455,
with some questions CGA members wanted me to ask the 2-handicapper about the
journey he started Jan. 3 at Monarch Beach Golf Links in Southern California.
You can follow along on the rest of his journey on Golf
GameBook, Twitter and Instagram.
CGA: So Patrick, how many holes-in-one have you had
on the tour?
PK: I’ve had zero on this tour. I’ve had zero in my
lifetime. It’s estimated that I am zero for 32,000 attempts. It’s quite an
achievement of inadequacy.
CGA: What’s been your worst weather round?
PK: That’s easy: Royal New Kent Golf Club (No. 271,
Virginia). I showed up just to say hi but they let me play so I headed out. And
I absolutely should not have been playing. The first hole was a river. The greens
were unputtable. My umbrella snapped in half on the fifth hole. The
superintendent came to me after the front nine to tell me I couldn’t play
anymore and I pleaded with him to let me play. “Hey, I’m going for a world
record, I’m completely soaked, if I only play nine it doesn’t count!”
Eventually he just said, “Fine.” If I had jumped into a swimming pool I
wouldn’t have gotten any wetter. It was horrible.
CGA: How did golf in Colorado compare to the other
places you’ve been?
PK: The elevation is nice, you hit it farther.
Colorado is one of the more dramatic places to play golf, with the mountains,
and there’s Arrowhead (No. 447) with those massive slates of earth. There are
more newer courses, as opposed to the “golden age” courses in other states. And
golfers here are passionate about the game, especially in the Denver area.
CGA: Are you walking or riding most rounds?
PK: About half and half. I rode this morning and I’m
walking this afternoon. I do most of my walking with Stewie, my little robot
from Stewart Golf that I put my clubs on and then he follows me around.
CGA: What’s been your longest day?
PK: I played 72 holes in one day at Doral (Courses
158-162), and it was in April so it wasn’t a long sunlight day and I had to
drive an hour and a half in the morning to get there, then played up until the
final putt dropped and the sun completely disappeared. It was a long day – took
a midday shower.
CGA: People want me to ask what’s your favorite
course. I say you can’t possibly pick just one.
PK: Yeah, it’s Sand Hills (No. 438, Nebraska). It was
Shinnecock Hills (No. 302, New York) and then it moved when I played Sand
CGA: Our members set their alarms, sometimes get up
at midnight, just to get a tee time. They want to know, how you are getting all
PK: There’s probably 25 different ways I get tee
times – everything from booking online to calling up and booking. Sometimes I’m
playing a course with a member, and they’ll say, hey, what about this other
place, a private course, and they’ll call and book it for me. There are
invitations – I had hundreds of requests through the form on my website.
Sometimes courses reach out directly. I have a partnership with Troon and they
have courses all over the country. We got the Broken Tee time on Golfnow.
CGA: The RGV looks very comfy, but where do you park
PK: It’s a challenge. I couldn’t get into Castle
Pines (No. 446) because they have a clearance barrier, so they sent a member of
the club out to pick me up. Shinnecock I don’t think would have liked to see an
RV in their parking lot. That may have been offensive to them, and we didn’t
want to ruffle any feathers, so we called a little driving range about a mile
down the road and parked there overnight in the back of the range, then took an
Uber to Shinnecock.
Some people love it. Omni Interlocken said, just pull in and
park up on the range so everybody can see it and know what’s going down. It was
a prime location.
CGA: Where’s home? How about family and career?
PK: Laguna Beach, California. I’m originally from
Fort Wayne, Indiana.
This is the career. I used to be a sales guy in tech and
telecom, in San Francisco and Seattle. Then I decided I can make it in golf
course photography. I believe I take some of the world’s best golf course
photographs, and that’s how I make my living.
I have a girlfriend, Rachel, who is an angel. A lot of guys
say, “I don’t know if I can get away for a weekend of golf. Two days in a row,
I don’t know.” I got 365 days in a row! She has raised the bar for golf
girlfriends in America. And any of this you would put in the article obviously
does me good too. (Laughter) Oh, I love that woman. She’ll come out and bring
me cakes with numbers on them.
Seriously, it’s great to have that support, which I also
have from my sister and my parents. It frees you to be creative and be yourself
and achieve things you wouldn’t achieve without people you know you can count
CGA: Please tell us Rachel plays golf.
PK: She does not play golf. She wants to learn, but
she expects she’ll take a couple lessons and then be as good as me.
CGA: I see you have someone traveling with you right
now – have you played by yourself at all?
PK: I’ve played about half the rounds I walked by
myself, which is great. My buddy Eric here, he puts on fun tournaments and we
met in Palm Springs and hit it off. He reached out a little while ago (“I got
some time!” Eric interjects) after his girlfriend and him broke up. Love on the
rocks. Nothing soothes a broken heart like two boys on a bus playing golf all
CGA: What’s your plan for 2024?
PK: There will be more stuff with Golf GameBook, the
app that’s powered this entire journey. They not only have underwritten the
tour, they never lost sight that to be successful this had to fun, exciting and
something I want to do every day. Golf GameBook, Breakfast Balls (for fashionable
polos) Ecco Golf (for comfy shoes) and Stewart Golf (for Stewie) – those are my
sponsors. Together we’ve raised more than $32,000 for First Tee local chapters
around the country. Seattle’s First Tee is the primary beneficiary. I didn’t
know much about fundraising, but we’ve been able to put it where it belongs.
CGA: Finally, we all love golf, but we don’t want to
do what you’re doing. What gets you up in the morning?
PK: It’s the people you play with, they make a
difference. It’s the love of the courses. I see different, unique courses –
like the one I’m looking at right now (Lakewood) looks so cool, I’m getting
excited to play it. But it’s really the people that bring the energy that keeps
Veteran journalist Susan Fornoff has written about golf
for publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, ColoradoBiz magazine
and her own GottaGoGolf.com. She became a CGA member when she moved from
Oakland, CA, to Littleton in 2016, and ghost-writes as “Molly McMulligan,” the
CGA’s on-course consultant on golf for fun. Email her at email@example.com.