Friday Feels + NLU Architecture Musings


@Tron, really appreciate the response. It’s spot on. Just to address a few of your points.

This is entirely contrary to the premise of my original post, so you’re right to seize on it and take issue with the framing of it, but my general feeling about architecture was less about content on proper, if you will, but more of a reaction to other platforms and, as you put it, “guilt by association.” Of course, as you increasingly thrust that association into public view (that came out wrong, but I’ll go with it), it does give off the vibe of a shift in focus. And to be sure, there’s been a lot of NLU association with architecture lately since last August. So that’s more of where my post came from, with the benefit of hindsight and your reflections, than from the content up on the site on Masters week. It’s a nuanced take, and one that could only be shared or appreciated by others who are as deep down the NLU rabbit hole as I am – if you only stopped onto the main page and checked the primary Twitter once in a while, you certainly wouldn’t have the gripes that I shared. But of course, the Refuge is not its namesake for the casual NLU reader, and fortunately, there are at least several of us who are as devoted to the #brand to feel the way we do.

All of this is to say that I very much view NLU as a total package – and love it for that. Appreciate that your ramping up on the main page, as well as the difficulties with bringing added perspective to something so thoroughly covered in the mainstream. But you guys are awesome, hilarious, witty, and resourceful. And what you get the least credit for – all of you, and especially you, @Tron – is that you’re great writers. That’s not what drew me into the site years ago, but it is, in fact, what kept me coming back and later following on all the other platforms. I’m sure you’ll bring more on board and find new, creative ways to bring the NLU edge to the PGA tour weekly grind.

Lastly, as one who consumed six egg sandos my last time down there on a single rainy Saturday, I’m with you on all fronts.


Appreciate you starting the topic on here and sharing your thoughts in the first place. All makes sense. @MrVinegar206 - you guys are awesome supporters, replying and shedding some light on where we’re headed is the least I can do. Plus it’s a useful exercise - encourages self-criticism and reflection on stuff that we genuinely are missing the ball on (and there is plenty!) This stuff is also topical as we get ready to roll out season 1 of the travel series we’ve been working on - Tourist Sauce. I’m cautiously optimistic that it strikes a balance between us traveling to a pretty remote place, acting like fucking idiots, and playing some pretty good golf courses in the process (but making it so that the primary focus isn’t droning on and one about how awesome the layout was). Will have it up soon!


Tron, if you are having a big urge to talk GCA and are worried about an article being too upfront or want to talk about a course you played in Tourist Sauce that you don’t talk a lot about in videos, start a thread about said course in the Golf Courses section or something. I’ll talk for days about GCA!


Would love you guys to slowly go through and give reviews of the courses you’ve played in Duval. But I’m from there so I’m a little biased on the place.


I think it’d be cool if NLU did a ranking of your favorite architects. Maybe spotlight one of their best courses and why you like them.


I’m going the other way. Love the arch takes. I do believe this is simply more pronounced during Masters week as you can’t address Augusta without commenting on just how important the venue is from a design perspective (and how controversial the changes to the Good Doctor’s original idea) have become.

I respect the viewpoint, but I prefer the nuanced discussion about the courses I’m looking at on Sunday afternoon from my couch… Particularly when the NLU crew can blend their takes with inside information they might get through access and relationships with their guests.


I think this is an awesome idea! It totally bridges the gap between the architecture conversation and the travel conversation. Would definitely be dominated by the Golden Age (and fairly so) and Tom Doak #sadist


Yep! Definitely would help for travel & give a better understanding on golf architecture for when you play their courses and seeing the difference to others. You could even split up the rankings into the golden age, modern, and anything in between.


Ohhhhh thats so good! Even could go down the rabbit hole of best renovation and best restoration. Fried Egg would kill this but I would also love to see the NLU takes on it… little bit more plebeian (no offense meant at all just the facts) and truly is representative of the vast majority of knowledge on architecture. This is why i like the arch stuff on NLU because we are learning along with them as we read and listen to Andy or Zac just spit knowledge


Only concern here is for those that are new to NLU. In order to have this conversation effectively, the listener/reader will need to have a solid baseline knowledge of golf course design principals. Seems a lot of folks on this thread may be less so interested in that - plebeian or not.


That’s a very good point. I am biased in the sense that I like the architecture talk, but don’t want it to be the main event so to speak. I just think that it’s interesting because we want to hear the NLU guys speak on what really makes them fired up and bestows them with the prophecy of a fiery take, but if it’s on architecture people don’t want to hear it from them.


I’m getting to this thread late, but completely agreed with the sentiment and wanted to share my thoughts on the GCA discussion as it relates to NLU’s development as a whole. The points about how the GCA discussion quickly reaches pretentious levels feels belabored, but I think the root of where folks are rubbed the wrong way actually goes a step further.

Until sometime early last year, I was mostly ignorant to GCA, prominent contemporary architects, and what separates good courses from bad. NLU and The Fried Egg have taught me a ton in that regard, and I love learning more about that area of the game. The GCA content itself has been great. That being said, I think the tone in which it is delivered is where the issue lies for me. Since NLU has made the jump from having more of an upstart feel to being inside the ropes, I think a lot of the GCA discussion (especially in an area that already leans pretentious) comes off as NLU big-leaguing the core group of fans, readers, and listeners who have supported the group from the beginning.

Someone earlier in the thread made the analogy that the GCA discussion is like hipsters discussing bands that “they liked before it was cool,” but I think a similar analogy could be made about NLU as a whole. If they were a band, they’d be following up their great debut album with one that’s way too into itself.

One example of this that really stood out to me was, on a recent pod (maybe the Clayton interview, not sure), Soly was telling a story about playing a certain hole on a Doak course when he said something to the effect of, “Okay, I know Doak is messing with me here.” First off, I know that he meant it in the Course vs. Golfer sense, but it came across to me completely different, almost like he has graduated to the in-crowd and NLU should now be taken more seriously because it rubs shoulders with golf’s elite and only plays courses designed by world famous architects. I think something like that, whether intended or not (and I’m sure it wasn’t intended, in this sense) goes a lot further toward alienating a listener than talking about a topic that said listener might not be interested in.

Soly, Tron, D.J. and the guys should be proud as hell of what they have created and the run they’re currently on, no doubt. But remember how to play the hits that got you here and don’t go too Hollywood.

P.S. Definitely pumped to hear more Neil and Big Randy. Neil brings the vibe and Randy brings the correct takes.

P.P.S. A bit unrelated, but the Noren / OWGR conversation is squarely in Dead Horse Territory.


GCA Hipsters…heh

I need V neck t-shirt that says “Tillinghast” on it in a pretentious font


I’ve never posted, or even maintained an account, on the NLU message board. However, I had some thoughts, and created a profile in order to raise a topic about the website’s recent direction. I stumbled onto the Refuge only to discover that the thread in my head had already been started a few weeks ago. Still, some off-the-cuff thoughts below.

First, all of the requisite disclaimers regarding my admiration for the site and its progenitors. That being said…

The website formally known as “No Laying Up” has taken a weird turn this year. Nearly four years ago, I stumbled onto NLU and discovered a beautiful, insular world where sensible golf fans celebrated the little nuances of the Tour, scrutinized white belts and other terrible, ridiculous choices in trend-chasing, dove deep into statistical analysis, manufactured Tour villains, and championed their favorite players like fans. NLU talked about golf like buddies in the clubhouse. Their takes had little to no basis in fact or reality, but they were fun, and funny, and got to the heart of golf. Golf Fanalysts. It was perfect. “No laying up.”

I recently clicked on the NLU Instagram story and witnessed a disturbing scene: the NLU crew, playing Bandon by virtue of its growing popularity (not a bad thing!), was rolling up putters and three woods into a short par 3 with an accessible pin location. (And I grew up playing golf in western OK – I’ve played in the wind, and I’ve never putted it from 100 yards.)

This image encapsulated a growing trend on the site. This year, NLU has kinda traded one establishment group (hi, Brandel) for another, joining up with TFE (which I love, to be fair) and other less tour-driven golf media that embrace some weird hipster ideology that golf must be enjoyed and understood in a particular, even if unconventional, way. Those sites have their voice, and probably share a large number of NLU followers.

The thing that made NLU my first click in golf media, though – that made it the only site where I’d go read tweets and listen to pods from following tournaments that I hadn’t even watched – was it’s above-described niche. I applaud and look forward to the expansion of the site, but hope the travel and architecture aspects of the site (which I understand have more wide-spread appeal, are less controversial, and may drive more commercial investment) don’t consume its original character. NLU calls followers out when they run afoul of the behavioral codes for the site. I hope you’ll be open minded when we do the same.

PS. Putting from 100 yards down the fairway or tee box isn’t creative or some new cool way to play golf that others just haven’t experienced yet – it’s weird, and it’s certainly a layup.


PS. Putting from 100 yards down the fairway or tee box isn’t creative or some new cool way to play golf that others just haven’t experienced yet – it’s weird, and it’s certainly a layup.

Is this a serious gripe? Who cares if they decide to putt from 100 yards out?


This is not a gripe. This is a “take.”

Takes, especially those about golf, are inherently un-serious.


I’m pretty sure this was done on the 13th at the Preserve, where they tell you before the round that it is tradition to putt off the tee. This isn’t them being creative. In fact, it is them following the traditions (however new) of the resort.


There is an instagram story from TFE showing Shane Bacon putting with a fairway wood from maybe 100 yards off of the green. I’ve also heard on several NLU podcasts discussing this behavior and hitting “filet 7 irons from 50 yards” whatever that means. This seems to be the new “cool” thing to do according to this growing group of golf bloggers.

This is NLU’s mission statement - “No Laying Up isn’t just about attacking a tucked pin or damning the odds and going for it when faced with a 260-yard carry over water. Nah, man. No Laying Up is a way of life.” Its been abandoned.


Big, if true. No, in sincerity, I assumed that it was something along those lines, and will admit to cherry-picking this to make a point. Thanks.


In fairness, Bacon is a damn good golfer so he can do whatever he pleases.

And Soly has explained that “No Laying Up” doesn’t mean you have to attack every par 5 in two or play golf ultra-aggressively. I think they’ve backed off the literal meaning of “No Laying Up” and now endorse a more zen or “woke” form of golf that is all about creativity and enjoyment.