Armed with more than $10 million, this cryptocurrency and golf enthusiast group aims to buy a world-class course

Golf course news & notes: January, 2022
The rise of cryptocurrency has made its way into the golf business.

Acronyms are very popular in the cryptocurrency world. Business moves very fast, you see, so all the time saved typing out those words could be better spent accruing more bitcoin, ethereum or dogecoin, depending on your tastes. Check into any crypto-fan Twitter stream or Discord (a community/message-board app popular in the space) and you'll see a flurry of 'gm' messages: "good morning."

You'll also see a lot of 'WAGMI' - "we're all gonna make it" - which has become a crypto-trader's mantra. "It," in this case, is money, made from successful speculation on the decentralized currencies that more and more people believe will replace dollars, pounds and drachmas as the legal tender of our time.

Another acronym, popular among a certain group: 'WAGTBAGC'. That's "we are going to buy a golf course," and it's the rallying cry of LinksDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization led by venture capitalist and crypto-media mogul Mike Dudas that, in less than a month, has mushroomed from a hypothetical into a cash-flush concern with an initial crowdfunded treasury of more than $10 million. With future funds, the organization seeks to buy a golf course and eventually make members out of its thousands of fans.

How did LinksDAO raise that money so quickly? Through the sale of NFTs - non-fungible tokens - which are individually unique parcels of digital data that can signify ownership of any of a wide variety of assets, both tangible and not. Many NFTs function as digital versions of unique pieces of art. Their valuations are driven by demand among the crypto cognoscenti. Last month, crypto-artist Pak sold 30,000 shares of an NFT for a total of $91.8 million.

LinksDAO's funds came from a sale of 9,090 individual membership NFTs, which confer different levels of input on the further mission of the organization: to buy, take over and run a golf course.

For legal reasons, though, the money from the NFT sale cannot be used to buy the physical golf course that the DAO's leaders seek. Instead, this initial infusion will be applied to the formation of what amounts to a shell company, which will then pursue the ultimate prize: a physical location.

Experts are divided on the long-term viability of cryptocurrency as a true replacement for the world's current media of exchange. But the enthusiasm for LinksDAO's project is real, and their view that the game - especially the entrenched model of club membership - is ripe for disruption resonates with many golfers. They do not yet own a top-100-caliber course, as is their stated goal, but with thousands of backers and a distinct sense of momentum, it seems difficult to bet against them.

For more on LinksDAO, read this excellent explainer from CNBC's Taylor Locke.

Other golf course news & notes

The sporty North Course at Innisbrook will be partially redeveloped and reimagined into a 12-hole short course.

PGA TOUR HOST RESORT TO SHRINK GOLF FOOTPRINT - Innisbrook Resort, whose Copperhead Course hosts the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship every year, will be redeveloping more than 50 acres of its Osprey North layout to make way for 186 single-family homes and townhouses. That project will prompt a redesign of Osprey North that will shorten it from its current 6,300-yard, par-70 layout to a 12-hole short course. [LINK: Tampa Bay Times]

DONALD ROSS-DESIGNED MUNI TO BE RESTORED...FINALLY - It's been a long quest to rehab Bobby Jones Golf Club in Sarasota, Fla. On Monday, city commissioners voted unanimously to approve architect Richard Mandell's plan to restore Donald Ross golf on the property, which has been closed since early 2020.

TWO SIDES OF TULSA - Southern Hills Country Club will shine in May when it hosts the PGA Championship on its Perry Maxwell-designed, Gil Hanse-restored course. But the city's municipal golf courses are struggling to find footing and funding, although help may be on the way in the form of the American Rescue Plan Act. [LINK: Tulsa World]

GOLF-ADJACENT - Good news for fans of the broken-up British boy-band One Direction: Niall Horan and Liam Payne are getting back together...for a round of golf, sometime. Horan has been hooked on the game for years, and now Payne is saying of 2022, "This is my year of playing golf." Could a duet album of links lullabies be in the offing? [LINK: CapitalFM]

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Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
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Armed with more than $10 million, this cryptocurrency and golf enthusiast group aims to buy a world-class course