19NEWS Mag: Hello, Rasti. Would you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Rasti Dominik: No problem. I’m Rasti Dominik and I’m 43 years old. I’m married to a great woman and I’m father to a daughter and son. I live in a small town called Winnenden, which is located 25 km from Stuttgart, Germany. I’m the founder of The GolfFellas and was one of the organizers of the first EUGC (European Urban Golf Cup) in Cologne, Germany.
19NEWS Mag: Please tell us about your first urban golf experience.
Rasti Dominik: It was about 8 years ago when I was about 35. My little brother, Sven, had started to play classic golf and at that time I was still playing handball. He and I talked about golf and I remember thinking that it was a sport for old farts that required no skills and that it most definitely couldn’t be fun.
Sven happened to have some clubs and real golf balls in his car, so we took them out on to a field. I remember him shouting from a safe distance, “Try to hit the ball!” From the first club to ball contact, I was hooked. The ball flew just over 30 meters.
That same day I began to search for golf lessons in my area, but they were all fucking expensive. A few months later, I heard about something called crossgolf. When I decided to seek out nearby crossgolf players and it wasn’t long before I found Klaus Simianer who had started the website www.grossgolf.de. That’s how I made my first crossgolfing friends.
19NEWS Mag: How does it feel to play everywhere?
Rasti Dominik: Interesting and awesome! You have no limits. Constantly confronting different obstacles definitely makes you a better player. It doesn’t matter if you play on grass or on the street, if you have to shoot your ball over rooftops or straight into a rubbish can … you can really make anywhere your playground. It’s a terrific, one-of-a-kind experience.
19NEWS Mag: When did you create The GolfFellas?
Rasti Dominik: We started 6 years ago. Since the founding of The GolfFellas, our mission has been to promote crossgolf in the area of Stuttgart. We are composed of a group of people from all social classes, professions and age groups (20-60 years old), and we vary from 10-30 players depending on the weather. We love to play urban golf and have a good time with friends. We are no crossgolf club. We are open to everyone who loves the game. Our first tournament in 2010 took place in a small village called Spiegelberg. It was truly the beginning of something great in my life.
19NEWS Mag: Why do you play in competitions?
Rasti Dominik: Because there’s beer. No, I’m joking. You can have beer anytime. To me it’s not very important to play in a competition. I’m in it to meet the other players that make up the international crossgolf family. I have met so many kind people and made many great friends this way.
19NEWS Mag: Could you tell us why EUGC exists? Is it to help offgolf grow, develop partnerships with brands, make players famous or just show that this sport exists?
Rasti Dominik: Oh, man! That’s a very interesting question. I think it was time to have competitions between the different nations in Europe. It started like a small battle between Germany and France. I think the EUGC is very important in that it connects different crews from around the world, thereby spreading the spirit of urban golf. It’s with these kinds of tournaments that we will manage to push this sport into the mainstream.
We started in Cologne with 8 different countries and have grown to 15 participating nations this year in Amsterdam. This sport is here to stay and it’s growing fast. I’m very glad about that!
With the growth of this sport, the EUGC has drawn a lot of attention from various brands and companies who are interested in sponsorship. Honestly, we’re happy about this attention because we need partners in order to organize the events properly. It’s not cheap, you know.
19NEWS Mag: What was it like to organize the EUGC 2014 in Cologne? How were you involved? Did the event go as you expected it would?
Rasti Dominik: It was a fantastic experience for me. We started with a team of 9 organizers and a lot of Skype meetings. In the end we managed to put on a spectacular event. As founder and leader of the GolfFellas, I obviously had to be a part of the organizing team. When I look back at it, nothing catastrophic happened. Of course there’s always room for improvement, but overall it was a great experience to organize such a large-scale event. I learned so much.
19NEWS Mag: Tell us more about EUGC 2015?
Rasti Dominik: I missed the qualifications for the German EUGC Team 2015 in Wittenberg. I got so drunk the day before that I was a disaster the day of, but I still had fun! The EUGC Qualifications 2016 took place in Aachen. There are so many great crossgolf players in Germany that it gets harder to qualify every year.
19NEWS Mag: What do you expect for this season?
Rasti Dominik: FUN! I expect to meet good old friends and to have a great time with them. I’m looking forward to the Summer Calling 2016 event that will be held between the 15th – 17th of July in Aidlingen-Dachtel. It’ll be an awesome meeting of the crossgolf family. We’ll surly have a lot of fun and beer ;-).
19NEWS Mag: Do you prefer freegolf with friends or competition?
Rasti Dominik: It really doesn’t matter to me. I always try to play golf to the best of my ability and to have the maximum amount of fun.
19NEWS Mag: How would you explain offgolf to a classic golf player or someone who is totally unfamiliar with the sport?
Rasti Dominik: Actually, I also play classic golf and often talk to the other players about offgolf. Instead of trying to explain, I simply invite them to train with us or to participate in a competition. Most of them are surprised at how difficult it is to play crossgolf.
19NEWS Mag: Any surprises or new projects in store?
Rasti Dominik: Hmmm, yes! Keep your eyes open and mark your calendar for 6.26.2016. We have an interesting project coming up.
19NEWS Mag: Is there anyone you’d like to thank before we sign off?
Rasti Dominik: Of course my wife and children … I know it’s hard to have a golfmaniac in the family. I thank them for understanding. Also, a big thank you to all the other players around the world who share the same attitude. Let’s have a good time together wherever we are!
19NEWS Mag: Can you please describe the offgolf scene in Germany? Is it true that Germans play more crossgolf than streetgolf? Why is that? Is it because they are more respectful of the police/laws?
Rasti Dominik: The crossgolf/urbangolf scene in Germany is still growing. You can meet a lot of new players and crews from all areas in Germany at the tournaments. Mostly you meet youngsters who aren’t interested in spending a lot of money to play classic golf. These young people are also turned off by the regulations, etiquette, and strict dress code of golf clubs.
In recent years, a lot of German crews have gone from playing in open parks on green grass to playing on the streets. The police are not a problem in Germany. Since you could already play football everywhere, they would have a hard time justifying restrictions on streetgolf. GolfFellas play much more on the streets than in parks. We find it to be more fun and a good way to sharpen our skills for the next EUGC.
19NEWS Mag: To conclude our interview, please describe offgolf in 3 words.
Rasti Dominik: Fun. Friends. Party. It’s a lifestyle.