“Enjoy the walk” is how Rob Rigg ends every email and newsletter he sends to members of the Walking Golfers Society, and it might as well be its mantra.
“It’s pretty simple, right?” Rigg said.
A devotee of walking from a young age as a caddie growing up in Canada, Rigg founded the society during a rainy Oregon winter in 2009 as a passion project to provide information about the many benefits of walking during golf. It has stayed true to that mission, rating thousands of courses for walkability, organizing member golf trips and advocating for the enjoyment of golf as a walking game – the way the game was intended to be played.
“As soon as I started it, I began getting emails from people telling me how they’d lost 15 pounds from walking,” Rigg said.
The society has grown to more than 2,000 members – there’s no membership fee or annual dues – and created some lasting bonds. Rigg, for instance, began trading emails with member Sean Eidson, and eventually they met to play Bandon Dunes Golf Resort’s Pacific Dunes. They started talking about footwear and decided to launch a company together, True Footwear. (Rigg resigned as company president in 2013, and later worked for TaylorMade-Adidas Golf. He’s currently an executive for a CBD company.)
Then there is Ben Cowan (not to be confused with Ben Cowan-Dewar, CEO of Cabot Links in Nova Scotia), whose parents met when Cowan’s father caddied for his mother and has been swinging a club practically since the day he left the womb. Cowan discovered the society while on vacation in Florida while doing a Google search for walking-friendly courses in the Sunshine State.
“It was everything I believed in. I wanted to help spread it in the Midwest,” said Cowan, who lives north of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and described his role as both second-in-command and as a permanent intern.
Within a year he began hosting events throughout Michigan and beyond. His favorite was a gathering of 24 golfers from 12 states for a Ryder Cup-style competition at walker-friendly courses in Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee. Ballyneal in Colorado, Pine Needles in North Carolina and Pasatiempo in California are among the hosts of national walking gatherings, and celebrated architects such as Mike DeVries, Jim Urbina and Tom Doak have participated and spoken to attendees.
“When we can get our members together, it is really awesome,” Rigg said.
Both Cowan and Rigg are encouraged by the influx of walker-friendly courses. They tabbed it the Bandon Dunes influence, after an era in which course construction was geared towards selling real estate, forcing architects to lay endless ribbons of pavement for golf carts. Those vehicles were deemed an essential source of revenue. These days fewer courses turn away walkers, but still it is a far cry in the United States from the way it is ingrained in
By: Adam Schupak
Title: #AGoodWalk: The foot soldiers of the Walking Golfers Society
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/08/15/a-good-walk-foot-soldiers-walking-golfers-society/
Published Date: Sat, 15 Aug 2020 13:00:42 +0000
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