A Journey Inside Patrick Koenig’s World-Record Breaking Golf RV Tour
By Ryan Adams, PGA
When you’ve seen as many golf courses and played as many rounds as Patrick Koenig has over the last 12 months . . . well, let’s stop right there.
Because you haven’t. Actually, no one has.
Koenig is a newly-minted world record holder, and it’s for playing the most 18-hole courses — not just one course, either. All different ones. On Oct. 16 in Denver, he tied the record of 449 at Green Valley Ranch and the next day, Oct. 17 at Omni Interlochen, he broke it with his 450th round on a different 18-hole course.
Now, as the New Year begins, Koenig is still going. He smashed the previous 449 mark and just completed his final stop on Jan. 2 — a 580th round at Chambers Bay in Washington . . . the new world record. Thanks to a well-oiled RV, a handful of helpful sponsors led by Golf Game Book, and a burning desire to see as many courses as possible, the world record got more impressive by the day.
Koenig seemed properly built for this type of quest, though. A combination of the Energizer Bunny and Lewis & Clark, he has the energy, nose for adventure and fierce appreciation for golf courses that makes a journey like this one not only palpable, but a ton of fun.
“When you're passionate and driven by something, there’s no limit. You never get sick of it,” says Koenig. “And I don’t know if anyone loves golf courses as much as I do.”
Which brings us to how this all started: an idea and that trusty RV.
Back in 2010, Koenig was thinking one day how he could play as many different golf courses as possible.
Eight years later, he was on the right path.
Koenig had quit his job, purchased an RV and turned it into an RGV (recreational golf vehicle), playing 405 courses across different states in 2018. It was an idea to see a lot of places via one vessel and kickstarted a golf photography career, maybe making a life in the golf industry for him. Then someone toward the end of the year mentioned “world record.”
“I just remember thinking, ‘If I’m really going to break this, I’m going to smoke it.’ But it was going to cost me a lot of money,” says Koenig. “I couldn’t afford to do it again.”
But the idea never left Koenig’s brain and it came back in the form of the RGV Tour 2.0 (1.0 was the first RV adventure in 2018). In June and July of last year, Koenig put the idea to paper, at first thinking it’d be a mini-tour type journey, and wrote down a business plan. The world record goal was firmly included and ended up being the part that stood out to Teemu Ruuska, the COO of Golf GameBook.
“After a couple months went by, Timu called and asked, ‘Have you ever thought about doing RGV 2.0?” We talked about it, and kept talking,” remembers Koenig. “They loved the idea of going around and setting the world record, and would help make sure I could accomplish it. That’s how it was born, and it’s amazing how it materialized.”
A man with a plan — and a world record
With Golf GameBook as the igniting sponsor, Koenig also brought in ECCO, Breakfast Balls and Stewart Golf to help keep the RGV Tour 2.0 rolling along. The group was a likable and supportive partnership stable, allowing Koenig to have fun and do the best he can to play as many golf holes as possible.
“When you're passionate and driven by something, there’s no limit. You never get sick of it. And I don’t know if anyone loves golf courses as much as I do.”
Which, and you’ve probably already guessed, requires a lot of planning.
“It was never-ending,” adds Koenig. “And it was all based on the weather, right? I didn’t want to be in Boston in February. So I started in California and took the Sun Belt route east, with the goal to be in the Northeast by late June or early July.”
And that’s exactly how it went. Take one look at the RGV Tour 2.0’s detailed schedule and you’ll see just how much Koenig played. He also put a stop request form for people to fill out that was linked to the spreadsheet. If an operator or a private club member wanted the RGV to stop-in, Koenig would try to make it happen.
“Every day is a little different, but the amount of activity every day is staggering,” says Koenig.
For instance, when this interview took place last fall, Koenig was in Utah. He’d just completed 36 holes at Copper Rock and Black Desert near St. George. Days before that, he was on the news — “kind of a local legend, I guess,” — and raising money for First Tee – Utah (over $32,000) in Salt Lake City. In between driving the RGV, Koenig takes photos and video, meets people who want to join the party and play with him, edits his content for social media, then hits the road for his next stop.
After all, there’s more golf to play.
“And there’s been more interesting rounds of golf on this tour than the rest of my life combined,” Koenig says with a laugh. “I’ve parked in some weird spots, too. A lot of Walmarts.”
With each course comes a different story
One trip through the RGV, with mementos from each stop, explains just how many courses Koenig has seen on this record-setting adventure. And he’s got the stories to prove it, too.
When Koenig visited Myopia Hunt Club outside Boston last summer, he couldn’t pull his RGV in the club’s parking lot overnight.
“So they called in a special favor to the education board of a local school nearby,” he says. “And I slept in the parking lot there. That was also the round, at Myopia, where after we finished I went and watched polo at the oldest active polo ground in America. There’s some rounds you forget right away and some you don’t — I walked away thinking I’ll never forget this one.”
The stories roll on and on, too. Koenig lost a bet at Palmetto Dunes and had to jump in the pool post-round. Or, also in South Carolina at Quixote Club, Koenig was playing with Shaun Kent, one of the premier defense attorneys in the state.
“Shaun, phew, he was a force of nature,” remembers Koenig. “While we were playing, he got murder charges dismissed on the front nine. It was a big deal to him, but just kind of wild at the same time that he was getting that done on the course. There were personalities like that all over the place during this trip.”
Also on Tour 2.0, Koenig finished Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses list at Belvedere in Michigan. He thought he had played them all except for the William Watson classic in northern Michigan. So he met up with some local kids and finished out with a par. Not a bad spot to round out your Top 100.
Back in Utah, after 18 with friends at Ogden Country Club, Koenig played Hubbard Golf Course at Hill Air Force Base, accompanied by a retired fighter jet pilot who flew in the U.S. Air Force for 23 years.
“We were sitting on one of the greens, just watching F35s take off,” says Koenig. “It was cool to be sitting there, taking that scene in . . . from a golf course.”
And while he racked up scenes and stories like that at 580 different courses in world-record breaking fashion, it’s actually the story of Koenig traversing the country and playing unruly amounts of golf that’s the most remarkable.
But he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I think about the fact that nobody in the history of time has played this many different golf courses in a single year,” says Koenig. “It’s a major golf mark. It’s something I’ll always have.”