Updated: Nov 16
Erik Anders Lang is the host of Adventures in Golf, the Erik Lang Show Podcast and overall a very lucky dude to win the chance to play Augusta National. Erik joins the Par Train crew for an insightful, hilarious and probably one of our favorite conversations overall.
Highlights: -Every detail about Pro Shop heaven on Monday after the Masters -The top 3 must have golf gear items when you go to a big tournament or famous course -Would the prestige flip if Augusta National was public and Pebble was private? -The magic of Augusta National and why it’s like the world’s most interactive museum -What it’s like winning the lottery to play Augusta National -Did Augusta National really not allow Erik to play a yellow golf ball? -What all Augusta National caddies have in common -The differences and similarities of Augusta National and St. Andrews. Is one better? -Behind the scenes of Adventures in Golf series -How Erik’s life is a contradiction to golf -Which Adventures in Golf episode Erik would pick to be a movie -What grows the game more: Walk Up Music on Tour or golf boards at your local muni -Why we will probably be in the next Adventure in Golf -And much more
Q: Augusta National is super exclusive, obviously. St. Andrews is a public park, technically. You’ve played both. The commonality between both places is the people there are probably having the best day of their golfing life so there’s that natural energy there. What’s the difference?
St. Andrews feels a bit more like you’re playing in a nicer version of a picnic in a huge park where everyone is hanging out and grilling, talking and watching. It’s a much more communal atmosphere where everyone is equal.
The caddies themselves behave in a less reverential way. It could be the Scottish accent but they know you’re a tourist, you’re American and they have stories to tell you that they feel OK sharing.
The structures around St. Andrews are very inclusive. The entire place is like a nest. St. Andrews you can see great distances and see many other people experiencing the same thing as you – I’m at the home of golf. Everyone is experiencing emotional things. I actually found this more emotional than playing Augusta, my experience at St. Andrews.
St. Andrews has this wonderful, emotional feeling when you walk up 18 as you’re returning home after this journey. Augusta is much more like a medieval ritual that you’ve been invited to watch a sacrifice. Augusta is much more secret. There’s a uniform. There’s a code. The caddies are not going to chime in and tell you about a story about when they visited the town you’re from. The lines on the golf course are much more mysterious. There are many more blind shits. The trees tower over you and make you feel really small at Augusta whereas St. Andrews you’re the tallest thing out there besides maybe a grandstand from The Open or a massive gorse bush that’s so far away it actually seems quite small. At Augusta, you’re standing next to a tree that’s 225 feet tall and you feel like a jerk. You just feel like a microscopic spec of the golfing universe. At St. Andrews you actually feel like you’re about to win The Open. The finishing hole at St. Andrews is quite easy. The finishing hole at Augusta is rather difficult. It’s a blind tee shot with in some cases a blind second shot up a massive hill. You don’t feel like you don’t belong, because they told me I’m a member for a day, and I believed that. You just feel small. It’s not a bad thing, because in a lot of spiritual practices the idea is to feel small. The weather at Augusta was very soggy, saturated and quiet where at St. Andrews it felt like I was inside of a jet engine, and it was blowing some kind of toxic liquid in my face.
It couldn’t have been more different, but if I had to choose, I would pick St. Andrews 51 times out of 100.