In recent years, as traditional golf journalism has declined, a variety of YouTube channels have sprung up to vie for a small but active audience of golf nuts. While most of these channels are too lo-fi to enjoy, a few have begun to produce content of genuine depth and polish. Below you will find a list of five of my favorites.
In debates about golf, as in debates about politics, people tend to split into opposing armies and dig trenches. I often find myself caught in no-man’s land, seeing and understanding (and taking fire from) both sides. So in this occasional series, which I call “On the One Hand, On the Other Hand…,” I delve into controversies in the golf world not by picking a side but by considering all sides..
On the one hand… Grayson Murray, PGA Tour pro, is frequently a jerk on Twitter. He has feudedpointlessly with other professional golfers. He has flirted with a high school girl. He has offered his — shall we say — undercookedopinion on police shootings. He has exited an argument about world ranking points by saying, apropos of nothing, “I love you @realDonaldTrump #MAGA.”
When Tiger Woods won the Masters by 12 strokes in 1997, I was 13 years old, and I had already been obsessed with golf for a couple of years. My favorite players were Ben Crenshaw, Corey Pavin, and Steve Stricker. As I watched Tiger shoot 65 on Saturday, however, I realized that the guys I rooted for were in trouble. This 21 year-old, with his cool, austere clothes and his wiry power, was Google, and they were AltaVista.
This past weekend, as Brooks Koepka overwhelmed Erin Hills on his way to a three-stroke victory in the U.S. Open, golf obsessives on Twitter debated whether the venue was any good and, more interestingly, whether the tournament could use a new identity. Beneath all of the bellyaching and inexplicable rage, there was actually an engaging discussion.
Opened in 1891, redesigned by Tom Doak with Jim Urbina in 2006
I first heard about Aetna Springs Golf Course, a nine-holer in the northern reaches of Napa County, in volume two of Tom Doak’s Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. He rated it a 6 on the Doak Scale (by comparison, he gave TPC Harding Park, future host of the PGA Championship, a 5) and wrote, “there are a lot of good holes for such a little piece of property; it’s a lovely place to go and play.” Doak’s firm also happens to have redesigned the course, so my first thought was, What shameless self-promotion. My second thought: Hey, that’s pretty close to where my in-laws live.
I don’t get to play Tom Doak courses very often, much less for $23 per nine.