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The Evolution of Golf Runs through Links Golf Club

Links Golf Club is disrupting traditions to provide easy golf access to anyone with a passion for the game.
7 min read
The Evolution of Golf Runs through Links Golf Club

As a new organizational structure that, while at times controversial, brings the disruptive force of blockchain straight to the framework upon which modern businesses run, DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) promise to revolutionize how resources are coordinated and business is conducted in potentially every industry. 

Why not golf?

For a sport hundreds of years old that is perpetually entrenched in its traditions and exclusivity, it's only fitting that it would take the early emergence of DAOs to bring golf to a new, more egalitarian era. Over the past couple of years, while the golf world has focused on the PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf commotion as the central narrative concerning the sport's future, the beginnings of a new DAO-based golf club were taking place—one that I believe will, when the history books are written, be described as having a far greater impact on the sport because it transforms how all golfers play, not just the pros.

This is Links Golf Club.

From social media to golf’s most sacred grounds

In December of 2021, Mike Dudas took to X to propose a question: What if a group of people came together to purchase a Top 100 golf course?

The tweet went viral, leading to LinksDAO being formed and shortly after raising over $11 million from 9,000 memberships sold in 24 hours. From there, the path to owning a golf course wasn’t as straightforward as you may think. A proper organization and member’s network needed to be built first.

The team began forming strategic relationships with top golf brands and organizations to extend benefits to members and built The Clubhouse, an online experience hub where members can “connect, access their benefits, explore network courses, and earn rewards.”

With members from around the world, a substantial DAO treasury, and a platform to bring the DAO together, the foundation was now in place to achieve the original goal: coordinate resources to purchase a world-class golf course with membership for all DAO members.

Along came Spey Bay, one of only 247 true links courses in the world.

A true links golf course refers to a specific type of golf course, one of the earliest styles of golf courses, typically built along coastlines. The term "links" is derived from the Old English word "hlinc," referring to the terrain found in coastal sand dunes and, occasionally, open parkland. These courses are mostly found in Scotland, where the game of golf originated, but they can also be found in other coastal areas around the world. They are beloved by golfers for their rich history and traditions, unique challenges, aesthetic beauty, and the strategic play they demand. 

One would assume that membership to one of these courses would be tough to come by, but in May 2023, Links Golf Club achieved the extraordinary feat of bringing one under its ownership, meaning its members have a home-away-from-home on the northern coast of Scotland.

A welcoming golf experience

Inclusivity remains largely foreign to the world of golf; however, many golfers would agree solutions are needed—inclusivity and diversity have been hot topics for years. Links Golf Club is a major step forward in this realm.

If you’re familiar with golf, the club is not what you’ve come to expect from others. There are no crazy initiation fees, no need to find a sponsor to vouch for you, and no vetting or membership committee interrogations. You simply join.

The club is dedicated to making golf more accessible to people from all walks of life by offering flexible membership options and affordable fees. It removes the familiar club bureaucracy, placing golfers in control of their own experience by giving them a say in how the club is run and by offering them a variety of tools and resources to help them improve their game. This level of belonging is unprecedented in the sport.

From beginners finding their footing to veterans seeking to perfect their swing, Links Golf Club is a converging point where everyone with a passion for the sport can unite; the inclusive atmosphere ensures that each member feels valued and engaged, fostering a sense of community among golf lovers.

"We founded Links to improve the golf experience for everyone—whether you're looking to play the top courses or join the best online golf community, Links membership rewards you however you want to play, connect, and compete in the world of golf." - Cooper Sherwin, Co-Founder of Links Golf Club

Contributing to the club’s inclusivity is how it operates outside the confines of the traditional neighborhood country club. Players don’t need to buy a $500,000 house and pay HOA fees just to get stuck with a locker next to “that guy.” Instead, members converge around the online platform, complete with a peer-to-peer system that encourages reciprocity between members by enabling them to arrange rounds with other pass holders at courses spanning from California to Scotland. It’s a tremendous way for members to grow a global personal network through shared passion, competition, and fun.

Unparalleled membership perks

Members are bestowed with a myriad of exclusive perks, enhancing their golfing experience. They get the privilege to access a growing list of 1,300+ golf courses, organize golf outings with other members, and acquire discounted golf lessons, as well as top-notch discounted equipment, apparel, and gear from the most renowned brands in the industry. Moreover, members can attend various exclusive events throughout the year, creating ample opportunities for networking and leisure.

There are currently two different paths to join the club: the Web2 route, and the Web3 route. Web3 membership involves purchasing a LinksDAO NFT to gain access to the exclusive benefit of DAO governance voting power (NFT holders can play a key role in deciding the future of the golf club). All other Links Golf Club benefits are shared between NFT holders and traditional members.

Proof that DAOs work

At a time when DAOs remain a big “if” for many people, Links Golf Club is a shining beacon of proof that exemplifies what can happen when people align around a focused mission while utilizing a DAO structure. 

Membership in the DAO can be likened to being a citizen of the early beginnings of a golf network state—coordination spans the globe, benefits have global reach, and smart contracts are law. It’s revolutionary for golf, serving as the first example of a club founded on the principles of Web3 and blockchain technology.

In utilizing the DAO structure, the club maintains several advantages over traditional clubs, including:

Community involvement - Members are encouraged to propose ideas and vote on decisions, resulting in innovations that make membership far more rewarding than traditional clubs, including decentralized competitions and tournaments.

Global and local benefits -  With members in 48 States and 40+ countries, members can access great golf worldwide, as well as in their backyards. 

Partnerships - Links Members are at the intersection of innovation and technology in what has been a very traditional game. Legacy golf brands are excited to offer our members special pricing and early access to new products. As a result, members save up to $700/year on gear, apparel, and golf expenses.

It's advantages like these that won Links Golf Club a spot among Fast Company's list of Web3's top 10 most innovative companies for 2023.

Teeing up the future

Today, Links Golf Club stands as a beacon of modern golf communities, blending unprecedented benefits and networking opportunities with a mission to reinvent the golf club experience. It serves as a common ground for golfers of all skill levels, promoting accessibility and inclusivity. 

The range of exclusive perks and top-tier amenities, coupled with a commitment to providing the best possible golf experience, position Links Golf Club as a premier destination for those passionate about the sport. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned player, Links Golf Club promises an enriching experience, fostering a sense of camaraderie and passion for golf (as I found out).

It’s beautiful in this way—taking a highly exclusive sport of luxury and, in its own Robinhood way, providing easy access to anyone with a passion for the game.

By using Web3 and blockchain technology, the club is creating a more transparent, accountable, and innovative golfing experience for its members. In doing so, it’s creating a blueprint for others to follow as it continues to serve as the global epicenter of golf’s evolution.

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