Kyler Dawson and Kyle Crews, a pair of Austin based entrepreneurs, are on a mission to bridge the gap between golf and crypto by catering to fans of both pastimes with their NFT company Crypto Country Club.
The virtual golf club pairs cartoony golf art collectibles and a Discord clubhouse chat group with real world perks. These run the gamut from swag giveaways to discounts on simulator sessions and entries into raffles for big-ticket items.
To gain credibility in the golf community they have enlisted Joel Dahmen to spread the NFT gospel. The fun-loving, bucket hat wearing PGA Tour pro currently ranked 45th in the FedEx Cup points race, is Crypto Country Club’s brand ambassador.
“It’s a place where golfers and the crypto world can unite. It brings in a different fanbase to the game of golf and also golfers to the crypto world. It’s a fun thing to combine and hopefully there is a bright future,” Dahmen says.
The colorful cast of Crypto Country Club character designs feature golfers in zany get-ups, typically with one hand on a golf club and the other brandishing anything from a lightsaber to a roll of toilet paper—it’s The Sims meets T.V.’s Let’s Make a Deal. Since Dahmen’s come onboard he’s begun to build a bit of a collection himself. He’s most partial to characters holding hotdogs, fitting as he’s known to indulge in a dawg at the turn at Mesa Country Club, his home club.
While a Joel Dahmen estate sale wouldn’t exactly feature the unique cuvées or rare works on paper that would cause a Sotheby’s specialist to swoon, golf NFTs aren’t the only collectible asset class the Washingtonian has dabbled in.
“I collected baseball cards growing up like a mad man. I think we all did at the time if you are around my age. ‘Collecting’ wine may be a strong word. I have a lot of wine but it’s not very expensive and it’s all for drinking. I do like wine and I have plenty and I am starting to like tequila a little bit—high end stuff,” Dahmen says.
Straight out of the gate eight percent of Crypto Country Club’s 10,000 ‘Founding Member’ NFTs have been minted and added to the blockchain. With a .05 ether mint price, front end sales of the new collection are already north of six figures.
“There is still a lot of room for people to come join Crypto Country Club, go and mint and then get their membership card and join,” Dawson says.
On the top page of the NFT leaderboard a collection of Azuki avatars minted in mid-January sold out in just three minutes, netting $29 million, and over a span of four weeks amassed $300 million in secondary market transaction volume. A couple weeks ago a single rare CryptoPunks NFT changed hands for 8,000 ETH which translated to $23.7 million at the time of the sale.
“The NFT industry in general is still in its infancy and I think it’s still growing quite a bit. It’s interesting for us to see that something like that is possible” Crews says, and he also doesn’t see the current prices highly sought after collections are fetching as indicative of a bubble.
“The market in NFTs has rapidly grown month-over-month and I can see the uptick continuing. I’m not a fortune teller and can’t tell you the future but I think there is still a lot of room to grow,” Crews adds.
Crypto Country Club is currently compiling options for a charitable partner to raise funds for, but they haven’t honed in on a beneficiary as of yet.
“First Tee is our first choice but we want to put it up to a vote in our Discord community. We’ll provide a few options and allow members make suggestions. We want our community and NFT holders to have a say in where it goes,” Dawson says.
A real-life golf tournament for members this coming summer in Austin is also in the works. To test drive the idea, they held a small 20-player skins game at a par-3 course in Scottsdale the week of the WM Phoenix Open and are looking to scale up to a full field tournament.
“We are trying to make NFTs and golf more welcoming to newcomers and par-3 courses are not as scary or intimidating Dawson says. “We are going back and forth between doing a scramble at a traditional golf course or doing it at another par-3,” he says.
Next on the tee for Crypto Country Club will be a Joel Dahmen collection, a line of NFTs attached to super exclusive IRL golf experiences—think grabbing a beer with Joel or caddying for him at Pro Am. No word yet on whether an opportunity to re-enact Dahmen’s viral shirtless shenanigans with Harry Higgs on the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale is on the list. If the sale goes well, they hope the attention it garners will attract more pros to join their roster.
The metaverse is another arena where Crypto County Club can see itself putting up a virtual shingle, perhaps by building a driving range or putt-putt course on a platform like the Sand Box or Decentraland where NFT holders could be granted access to schmooze.
“We are envisioning a country club that we build in one of the metaverses where our people, if they can’t make an event in real life, they can’t afford to make the trip or the timing doesn’t work out, can go. We will host special events where access will only be given to those who hold our NFTs and that’s just the ground level,” Dawson says.
As for Dahmen who will next see action at the Players Championship, he has his own ideas for a what form an immersive metaverse experience may take. He jests that it might entail “smoking a joint with Snoop Dogg,” before delivering a more introspective response.
“I don’t know if I will be one of the first to join that metaverse world because I’m enjoying my time here on planet earth but it seems like everything is open and it’s all possible at this point in time,” Dahmen says, while allowing that he would be down to explore collaborating on virtual golf course design.