Friday Feels + NLU Architecture Musings


#21

I have the utmost appreciation for this thread. It’s well thought out, it comes from the right place, and is geared towards helping us succeed. I will respond in full, but first want to post in here to encourage others to share their thoughts. I think it’s important for people to know that they are heard on this forum, and that they can expect interaction with us. I still need a bit more time to fully flesh out what our strategy is (while at the same time, hoping that there is understanding that there is obviously things that we need to keep close to the chest).

I’m torn between letting the readers/followers/listeners have the discussion amongst themselves with us removed from it, and us chiming in. But what will help us the most is to get the maximum amount of feedback on what’s working for you and what isn’t. This entire thing is built upon us providing the content to you that resonates the most, and it’s something we take very seriously. So ask away, share away, and we’ll do the best we can to address any concerns or questions, and to either continue our path or improve upon areas that need improved upon. I can’t thank you guys enough for caring enough to come here and discuss it. I promise that there’s a reason behind everything that we do, but if it’s not resonating with you, that’s likely on us.

Crack on.


#22

Thanks for letting us know we are heard. It would probably be easy for you guys to ignore us at this point and just hang out with Bones, and JT. The interaction is what makes NLU so great.

PS - I need more Large Randall, and Trap Draw in my life.


#23

Are you for or against the trees right on 11 because they are horrible if you ask me, I like what was suggested, leave the new length but open up the fwy so you have to play to 1 side or the other for the best angle dependent on the pin position. Also, Patron viewing isn’t very good there now with all the trees.


#24

I’m for them. Huge reward for pullling driver and hitting it to proper spot. As far as spectator viewing you can see all you want just past the trees.


#25

I agree with general sentiments presented by @drew_224 and @3wiggle
I was originally attracted to NLU because of the humor. I thought #TourSauce was hilarious and I enjoyed the over analysis of the characters/personalities on tour and/or the general reputations/lack of reputation that go along with each tourney, each week. Also enjoy the analysis of the networks/commentators and the jobs they do each week.

As for the golf course architecture stuff… sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes I don’t. But I dont need NLU for that. There are a million other websites that nerd out on that stuff. And lets be honest, that conversation always gets so pretentious, so fast - and that, at its core, go against what NLU is all about and why NLU rose to where it is. What made NLU great was the humor, toursauce, getting Ian Poulter to ban you on twitter, etc. How was there not a 2017 Saucy Awards?

Regardless - still love the podcast the refuge - keep doing your thing fellas.


#26

there wasnt a saucy awards because they dont have the rights to the videos and now that they are not under the radar of the pga they dont want to get sued. it was mentioned on a podcast or live from a little while back


#27

Really appreciate the evolution of the content and the obvious personal growth each member of NLU is experiencing. The more you guys are around players, the tour, great golf courses etc., you can tell you are looking at the game from a different lens. The bonus is that you are able to pass that knowledge level to your audience effectively. I really appreciate this as I will likely never have the opportunity to have the experiences and gain the knowledge first hand like you guys are.

The “funnies” are fine and well, but from a content gen/journalism prospective, you guys are better then just that. NLU is one of the only places to engage in advanced golf talk that focuses on the game of golf and everything that makes golf great.


#28

I think most people are in favor of you guys chiming in now and again. I obviously speak for myself here but, the tour takes & player profiles are what keep me coming back. The architecture stuff can be a nice change of pace from that every once and a while, but it can get kind of heavy. I really enjoyed and actually used some of the info from the travel stuff last summer so I hope that continues to be profiled. There is a noticeable improvement since it looks like you guys jumped into this full time. If we could get more @Randy & @TheMerchCzar with some trap draw peppered in that’d be great too. Keep up the good work.


#29

I think the NLU guys sit at the perfect crossroads to make architecture appreciation more palatable to your average fan. @SplashShots69 is right, if I want to get real nerdy I can read golf club atlas, the fried egg, ZB’s twitter feed, golfwrx, or any of the other platforms available to me. I prefer NLU for the tone and candor. Showing the trickle down effects of good architecture would be a welcome change from the other platforms (muni restoration, cost savings, etc.). I have greatly appreciated the recent foray into LPGA coverage. It appears the women’s tour is chock full of personalities far more interesting than corporate shills like J. Day. Of course, I will always follow @Tron closely for PGA tournament coverage.

I knew I was letting the hardcore guys color my view of golf courses a little too much when I briefly wasn’t excited about a surprise trip to Torrey Pines my wife planned. That course is on the ocean, affordable, in good condition and is the sight of Tiger’s last major. All of those factors alone should have any golf fan amped to play it. Sure, elements of it could be better, but I would bet that 99.9% of the golfing public would enjoy 18 holes out there. Additionally, it’s an affordable muni course that the community gets to enjoy. Those elements should outweigh an unimaginative routing and repetitive par 4’s.


#30

This. This. A thousand times THIS. If NLU is feeling like they have run out of PGA content, go deep on LPGA, Web, and champ tour.


#31

It bears stating that, quibbles about architecture focus aside, the sheer volume of NLU articles, podcasts, and other content has been ridiculous the past few months. Between Tron’s weekly takes and the Eurozone, we’re getting a pretty good primer on each tournament, and I barely spend enough time driving to work to keep current with all the podcasts. There is a Lot of Phenomenal Content Provided.

Very excited to see how things are humming by the time the Ryder Cup comes around.


#32

I was attracted to NLU at first because it wasn’t #ForePlayPod. You guys are avid golfers who get the game and talk about it. It’s like I’m with my good buddies shooting the breeze on golf and I love that vibe. That difference of you getting access to Bones/JT/Rors/(GET SPIETH ON THIS)/DJ makes it all the better for me. Breath of fresh air compared to the Golf Channel Propaganda that I’ve really just become numb to #GolfCentralbroughttoyoubyMEDICUS

Also a good kicker is the NLU squad had a few Miami grads. Love & honor, find me at Skipper’s.

I’ve found a parallel increase in architecture as I’ve listened to you, TGJ, and Fired Egg more and more. My solo trip to Sweeten’s was a religious experience and revival for me golf-wise. I came home and wanted to work on using ground in my game more, not just hitting greens but understanding where to go. Hell, I made a yardage book for my home course that made me really study the design of my course and I loved every second of that.

However, I feel a little priced out of the architecture reviews that a lot of the #enlightened golf pods are doing. I can’t afford a trip to Scotland / AUS/NZ to play those tracks, nor do I have a shot in hell to go play California golden ages or Raynor’s everywhere. I’ve actually gotten to a few of the hidden gems that Sugarloaf publishes, including Sweeten’s, and love that concept. I was able to go play good design without burning favors and paying huge fees…that’s how golf should be, and I hope that crusade only increases.

You guys are awesome. Dream content:

  • Killhouse vibe is great, I love that as your “anchor desk”
  • For some reason, @Tron’s voice combined with his character (don’t know you personally, but your vibe is a great character nonetheless) make me laugh every time. Never change that.
  • Good design & architecture that’s common man level of access. It’s hard to probably find, but It has to exist
  • More non-golfer pod interviews. The super pod on fried egg was so cool, so was the Wahn podcast, agent, caddy, etc.
  • Need Miami stories…also some Heuston Woods (post-tree removal) Wolfhammer would be electric

#33

Appreciate the candor and the #Involvement on this whole thread. Keep the feedback coming! Hopefully there’s room for the mid-(to-low) brow #takes and high brow architecture stuff (in doses). I intend to add more to the former over the coming months.

With all the positive feedback about NLU architecture coverage here, it’s a perfect opportunity to remind everyone that #17 at Augusta Stinks. period. point blank. I stand by the only architecture take you’ll ever get from me. #StinkyNandina https://nolayingup.com/2018/04/05/stinky_nandina/


#34

Also love that you guys are speaking out and giving feedback. Writing the EuroZone column gives me a chance to do a little architecture shit-slinging from the cheap seats. I try to always make it fun/entertaining while also bringing some real analysis to the table as well. Truth is, there are a lot of mediocre golf courses played on tour(s) for a variety of reasons. But by bringing these critiques to light, my hope is that the readers will begin to sop up the GCA basics through osmosis.

I saw one of the posts here about becoming more knowledgeable about architecture and in-turn, becoming more disillusioned with most of the courses available for the every day golfer. I have to say that while I also take a more critical look at golf courses now that I did in the past, and have become more keenly aware of “good” and “bad” principles of architecture, I never have to make a conscious effort to block that stuff out when I am on the course. Even a day of golf on a ho-hum paint by numbers design is still better than a day at the office.

If you don’t like, understand, or care about golf course architecture principles, there is nothing wrong with that. I’d argue that having some baseline understanding of what makes for good strategy and what differentiates more than just the “look” of a hole can add to your enjoyment of the game, but no one here wants to force it down your throat, either.

More than anything, at this juncture in the history of golf, when we are seeing more course closures than openings, we really need to ask ourselves as a community why these courses are closing, and what we can do to prevent more closures in the future. A lot of that has to do with architecture…most of the courses that are struggling are bland, boring, strategically daft, unmemorable, or so expensive to maintain that they are unsustainable. The simple fix is building or renovating courses that hold the interest of the average golfer. We are in the middle of a really cool revolution that is doing just that, and learning more about GCA will only enhance your enjoyment of all the great stuff to come from a plethora of up-and-coming designers.


#35

I’m in this camp. While I wouldn’t ever want NLU to solely be architecture focused or even majority architecture focused (nor do I think that would ever happen), I’ve enjoyed the intro into golf architecture provided by NLU and appreciate being exposed to more architecture-centric outlets, such as Fried Egg.


#36

Really appreciate everyone’s thoughts on this, including the weigh in from the NLU crew. I think we’re all square.

The consensus is that we’re all happy to read mid-to-low brow architecture #takes every now and then – and even to have a separate section of the site devoted to architecture. But we can’t lose focus on what makes NLU such a great outlet: it caters to the golf aficionado, not the casual fan, in an way that is far more entertaining, enjoyable, and relatable than the other outlets that have attempted to serve similar functions. That mission is not undermined by architecture takes. But it is undermined when the nit-picking of course designs – both of storied courses and unknown ones – starts to overshadow tournament analyses, golfer profiles, and the like. The worst thing that can happen to NLU is that it shifts from being a platform for serious golf fans who don’t take themselves so seriously, to a meeting place for disgruntled members of the Seth Raynor Society.

Based on the comments of @Soly , I suspect that NLU is marching towards a seemingly lucrative opportunity that involves architecture in some form or another. More power to them – and totally fine by me. The more money in their pockets, the better the platform can become. Money doesn’t grow on trees - except maybe for those on 11 at ANGC. Let’s just take a few barefoot practice swings every now and then to make sure our center of gravity is solid.


#37

Drew (and everyone, really), I appreciate and welcome the feedback. Most of you are day-one guys so we value your involvement and level of concern. Here’s the reader’s digest version of my response: 1) We’re working on more tour-related stuff - tbh still ramping up on the full-time front, getting more writers involved, getting Randy down here, etc. 2) The course reviews aren’t going anywhere but we can and will do a much better job highlighting hidden gems and courses that are simply fun to play, regardless of architectural pedigree. We’re also conscientious to not throw it in people’s faces - read it or don’t, both are fine. @2trickpony you nailed it on this front. 3) We’re trying to write up the more exotic locales with reviews in a more travel-focused vein rather than architecture. 4) Expect more involvement from Randy and Neil.

For those who are interested, here are some further thoughts: That Friday Feels column was the first architecture-focused piece I’ve written since last August, so I did feel the comment about “pretension-oozing takes about biarritz greens and black and white photos of old scruffy golf holes” was unwarranted. Soly did document a lot of his travels from Q4 '17 on the site but we made it a point to not overpublicize those pieces and not hit people over the head too hard. And on those I don’t think many of them made reference to any golden age stuff - it was more “here’s what it was like.” There is a large market for the course review content and they are some of the most evergreen pieces we post. They are an ancillary part of what we do. So while I appreciate and agree with your assertion that this isn’t, and shouldn’t be, an architecture blog, I think some of the examples are exaggerated. Some of the criticism feels like guilt by association too - Andy, Zac and others are friends, and it feels like some of the stuff they talk about reflects on us, regardless of our involvement. But I hear you - @ANTIFAldo made a good point about the idiosyncratic nature of architecture twitter and how it’s a blood relative of gearhead twitter did put it in perspective for me as well. I’d be fucking PISSED if my favorite site shifted gears and got deep into equipment.

Again, it’s not our intent to turn this into an architecture site and get away from our bread and butter. As @ANTIFAldo (which is the best handle I’ve ever seen) noted, that’s still the red meat and we’re more conscious than ever to not stray from that and I appreciate him noting the volume of content we’ve been churning out of late. I made it a point in the most recent Friday Feels piece to note that I’m not an architecture expert, but wanted to have a go at Augusta National for what I feel are missed details, hypocrisy regarding history, and people confusing familiarity with greatness. I still feel I gave my two cents in a fair, if hypercritical, manner and then moved on to the remainder of the column, which was about the same length as the architecture/experience rant and talked exclusively about the tournament. In all of the weekly briefings this year I’ve made it a point to focus on the action. But it can’t be ignored that often that action is predicated upon the course that these guys are playing ( The reality is that the tour plays a lot of bad courses, and that influences the outcome, who has their tour card, what types of skills are valued, etc. so it’s essential to understanding the action on course). It’s also something that I’m passionate about, plain and simple.

To @3wiggle your anecdote about Torrey Pines resonated with me (I don’t even hate that course because of architecture - I just think it’s a low-key boring tournament to watch on an awesome piece of land), as it’s not my intent to tell you what courses you can/can’t enjoy while playing. Heck some of the courses I love the most are probably architectural disasters, but there a hundred other reasons to love a place. To each his own. That bummed me out to hear I played a part in putting a damper on what should’ve been a really cool surprise.

At NLU where we specialize is in shining a light on storylines and observations that the establishment media can’t/won’t talk about, either due to bandwidth, political correctness or a host of other challenges that befall media this day in age. On the written content front we really struggle during major weeks because everyone is writing about the same stuff and it’s infinitely harder to have a unique column on things, and by the time the next round starts that stuff is mostly irrelevant. We don’t really do gamers - there are a hundred other outlets you can get those from, and it’s always been like that. The twitter stuff is time consuming and where our passion still lies during tournament rounds - it’s tough to do that, extrapolate that stuff out into longer form pieces, and then prep for/tape the live show that we did after all four rounds. So I’d encourage you to look at our stuff holistically - twitter, podcast, written website content, produced video, live show, etc. As weird as it sounds it’s a lot easier to find good stuff to write about during a week when the Euro and Web tours are going and there’s a less maniacally-covered PGA Tour event. I will level with you and say that it’s imperative that we get more written content on the website and that’s been a focus over the past three months and will increase further in the coming three months as Randy comes on full time. Thanks for your patience on that front and know that it’s a #process.

Getting more Neil and Randy content on site will help with this as well. Neil appreciates architecture without really giving a fuck about it, which is a great place to be in.

Again, appreciate everyone’s feedback - means a lot that you all give a shit and support us through thick and thin. And to @GeneParmesan I’ll try to be funnier :slight_smile:

Lastly, @drew_224 please know that my disdain wasn’t for the egg salad sando (which remains the best thing in golf), but rather the lady unwittingly hitting me over the head with a hammer of corny bullshit about a sando that’s so obviously a Masters tradition. I understand the need to welcome and educate new attendees, but that felt like being inculcated in a cult.


#38

I really enjoy the architecture takes and discussion for the most part, particularly if its around how it pertains to the average golfer and accessible courses, or interesting ways that courses could realistically be changed to make the game more playable while still challenging really good golfers. The reviews, photos, discussion on places like Streamsong are great because they get me excited about golf, and the thought of planning a trip like that with my buddies.

When I start to roll my eyes a bit is when its reviewing or taking down courses that are either A. Really famous/old or B. Private and I’ll never have a chance to even look at, let alone play. When it becomes hot takes for the sake of hot takes, its a little lame.

I really like Andy and The Fried Egg, but when he gushes about private courses hes played or starts whining about 60 year old courses and how terrible they are because they did X, Y, Z before color television existed. Its very much like when people talk about how their favorite band is one that you’ve never heard of and they know it, while also insulting incredible bands like Imagine Dragons.


#39

faldo


#40

Damn Tron! How long did that take to write? Any thank you I write will fail in comparison, so here is a short and sweet one.

Thank you for explaining your stance and position with that much detail. That level of communication with your fans/community is hard to come by nowadays, especially online. The time and commitment, both in that post and the work you guys do for NLU, shows. We all really appreciate it.

Thanks,
Matt