How one New Jersey Town Staged A Socially Distant Golf Tourney (Without a Course)

The Love Child of Golf and Cornhole Made it Possible


hen the world jumped into a volcano last March, it took away a lot of things that most people may have almost taken for granted. Like when they closed down the golf courses and there was nowhere to go practice your putting, whip around a rattling electric go-kart for four hours, and dress like you’re on The Tour.

What quarantine also did was make people get crafty, get creative, and pivot to make do with what the circumstances presented. For golf, this was a little more challenging considering not many people have the land and the means for 18 holes, but the residents of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey picked up on the new backyard golf game to make their own makeshift tournament. Short game competitions, lego leaderboards, and over fifty residents of this small town coming together to make the best of the current situation.

When Cornhole and Golf Do the Dirty

What do you get when you cross the nearly ubiquitous backyard fun of cornhole with the finer points of golf’s short game? Brendan McAuley, backyard game and golf enthusiast, dreamt up and invented the answer you didn’t know you were looking for—Chippo Golf.

Photo courtesy of Mike Soul

The beautiful lovechild between the two leisurely pastimes takes the expense and length of golf out of the equation, bringing your short game to the family gathering in the format of cornhole. Instead of trying to throw your bean bag into one hole, it’s all up to the swing of your wedges.

How New Jersey locals took Chippo Golf to the next level

Have you ever heard of the town Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey? Neither had we until they creatively put on a full blown golf tournament while all the golf courses were shut down. All it takes is imagination and a couple of Chippo boards.

Photo courtesy of Mike Soul

It all started when a nice local won a Chippo board at a golf outing. Him and his buddies started to really get into it when under quarantine because it was something they could do while keeping their distance. Trying to feel normal in such a strange time, the group of six pals decided to have a little Chippo tournament. After emailing Brendan about some extra balls, the two got to talking and word of the makeshift golf tournament was shared. As time progressed it went from six buddies, to a 50-person tournament in the town park with the grand prize being a handcrafted Lego trophy by one of the kids. A lot at stake here. The people of Ho-Ho-Kus, all skill levels included, were safely coming together in a time of isolation to play the backyard game of Chippo Golf. They had mini Chippo tournaments, as well as creating a makeshift golf course, having to swing through residents’ backyards, playing obstacle-filled dog-legs, avoiding whatever was deemed as a bunker, and trying to get it into the Chippo board under par.

A lot at stake here.

It got so big in the small town of Ho-Ho-Kus, Chippo started making them custom boards and the tournament gave Brendan a lot of hope about the game he dreamt up. Not only did it make quarantine more enjoyable just in the backyard, it safely brought an entire town together when told to stay apart.

Lego Leaderboard, photo courtesy of @chippogolf

The Tournament, photo courtesy of @chippogolf

Not only changing the game of golf for the recreational players deprived of country clubs, Chippo has also opened up new doors at the professional level. PGA tournaments have begun incorporating Chippo, playing cornhole golf instead of the average putting contest. More entertaining to play and more entertaining to watch. Even Dustin Johnson dabbles. And he’s quite good.

You’re probably still thinking about how this whole thing works and how someone could come up with such a good idea that you can bring to the beach, to tailgates, or to your living room, allowing the fine folks from Ho-Ho-Kus to execute the socially distant golf tournament to end them all.

Out of the Tee Box

It all began in 2017, when Brendan McAuley thought it would be a good idea to zhuzh up the backyard game roster by bringing golf into the equation. Launching it with a small budget and not even a website, the new game blew up as he and his friends posted videos of themselves playing. Going viral, Chippo was written about by Barstool Sports, Golf Digest and quite a few other publications, making it, well, even more viral. In 2018 the road up continued as Chippo was awarded at the PGA Merchandise Show for being the best new product of the year.

Photo courtesy of Mike Soul

PGA professionals started to take interest and soon enough the McAuley’s found themselves working with the PGA Tour, going to The Masters, going to Tiger Woods’ events, and even meeting John Daly.

Originally created to be a backyard drinking game, Chippo has outgrown the basic backyard barbecue. It’s even often used by instructors to help teach beginners at camps and golf clubs. We’ll still open a Brew Co. when we play though.

Whether it be for fun at the beach, for your sanity in the backyard, chipping lessons, or even an organized town-wide tournament, Chippo Golf can change the way you play. Don’t forget the beer.