We hear you and just ask for your patience. The meat of the golf season coming up and we have plenty in store.
Said another way, “I’ve been putting from 40 yards before it was cool.”
Not gonna lie, the hipster accusation is wearing on me a little bit here and feels more like guilt by association than anything we’ve done beyond talking about architecture more and traveling some of late. Some of the criticism in the thread continues to be really well-founded. Some not so much. Starting to hear the hipster refrain ring out here “I was following NLU before you guys before you were cool.” As for @endangeredspiethies, IMO your diatribe about “half-sets,” three-club challenges, and using the ground-game at your local rough-shrouded muni that just got doused by 4" of rain are all the rage right now" was, to use your words, just a bit much.
Do we need to sit down on the couch and watch some tour coverage over the next few weeks and banter about on twitter? Absolutely. Have we done a lot of that lately? Nope. But Heritage, Valero, and Zurich are a slow stretch for us every year and we tend to recharge. We’ve got Players, two interesting Texas events, Memorial, US Open, Travelers and then the British Isles swing upcoming. That’s the bread and butter of the golf stretch - we’ve been putting in the time and planning to produce some cool stuff over that time period. That being said, we’ve got some good written tour-centric stuff going on the site soon, we’ve got the live shows for your weekly tour talk, Randy’s getting comfy down here in Florida, etc. Make no mistake, our power-alley will always be the tour banter. But there is golf beyond the tour banter, especially with the #LiveUnderPar nonsense being promoted heavily by the tour.
We went to Bandon for a vacation and to recharge the batteries. Majority of us had never seen it before; we enjoyed it immensely; we planned it out to coincide with the Zurich, which we really had no interest in covering in depth; and we recorded a podcast about it. You’re welcome to skip it, but on the flip side there was a lot of demand for it and a podcast like that is evergreen to fire up at anytime over the next few years. We had nine podcasts in March - none were architecture focused. Including the second part of the Bandon pod, we had seven podcasts in April, one was focused on Augusta architecture, two were Bandon, one was Mark Broadie, and then four were our regular interview/preview/recap pods. May will be much more tour-focused. That’s just the way the cookies crumbled this year.
Appreciate the feedback from everyone - we’re trusting the #process, learning as we go, taking it all in stride and trying to balance the needs/wants of longtime/ardent supporters with those of a slightly larger demographic.
So I think “carving” a hybrid means a soft fade, can anyone tell me what a “filet” iron shot is?
Don’t listen to the haters! Keep on the same track! NLU is on a great trajectory IMO.
First, I need to reiterate that this is simply one person’s reaction based on what I perceive as a slight redirection of the site by a degree or two. It’s a little heeler that still catches the first cut - just isn’t out there as deep and straight as the original content. And, if it turns out that I’m one of a minority that shares this opinion, then so be it. I’ll still probably routinely come to the site, listen to most pods, follow twitter, etc. @Tron, I’ll admit to a bit of a diatribe, but please forgive it as some pent up frustration. Nothing in the posts above is meant as a personal attack - it’s sincerely intended to provide feedback for the site. Use it as you will. (Sure, it’s a bit sarcastic, but hey it’s the internet).
For perfect clarity, however, I just want to address the following points:
GCA shouldn’t be a taboo topic just because we haven’t played the courses you’re talking about - when you have SMJ’s for this area on the pod, I think it’s fantastic. It is, however, a little insufferable when the group authoritatively discusses GCA in the manner that they do, when the cumulative qualifications of the group are probably “listening to a few TFE pods.” Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s recently been somewhat off-putting to me as a listener. I probably wouldn’t feel this way if I identified any architectural opinions expressed on the pod that go beyond those advanced by other outlets, but thus far, it feels like a regurgitation. For instance, a par 3 is not necessarily “Redan-y” just because there’s a bunker on one side and the green is a little tilted (sorry DJ - I do truly love the hell out of your content). I’ve never heard a green remind anyone of a Maxwell, and unsurprisingly, he’s uncovered on TFE (innocently, probably due to geography, for the most part).
I don’t think that the criticism in this chain is entirely “guilt by association” - podcast chatter has reiterated support for an “I don’t really keep score” perspective that is difficult for any life-long golfer to accept. It’s also not merely (admittedly, maybe partly) due to a “frat” demographic, or an unwillingness to embrace “change or the unknown.” For many, these things just don’t feel as authentic, or as close to the spirit of the game. That being said, it doesn’t bug me to an unacceptable point until someone alleges that scorekeeping is done only to feed my ego. Still, #toursauce and hilarious false bravado has been traded for carvy three woods. (worst trade since the Harden Trade).
I really echo the above points. (1) "I hesitate to categorize a few Refuge commenters as ‘critical mass’ of NLU’s following; (2) “a subculture that presents, well, a bit like Ryan Moore’s old headwear”; (3) “Pure golf is walking 7 holes with your all leather Mackenzie bag”; (4) “To be fair, not all of this is coming from NLU, but I have been getting the feeling that this is the life they lust after” - These comments are accurate and worth laughing at/celebrating. Im filing papers to adopt them all.
I feel like pointing out that there’s no discernible difference between the stupidity of the disdained “big golf industry” movement and the stupidity of the celebrated “I spent 1K on this Mackenzie bag and just had my persimmons refinished” direction. #teeitforward.
I’m also a little sorry that my introduction to the board came on such a controversial note. Didn’t mean to come in so hot. My general sentiment is that no, all NLU content doesn’t need to be directed at the tour, but recently everything that isn’t tour-centric feels like a direct, contrarian reaction to tour culture. It was just different, for better or worse.
RIP These Guys are Good
@Tron I thought about this a lot last night, and just wanted to circle back around to the ‘hipster’ comments I made. If I am honest, as i thought over the different times I have felt that vibe recently, most of it has not come from NLU, but more so since I have started to read TGJ and various people I have found and followed through them. As a photographer, I find the publication absolutely stunning, but there are certainly some fringe aspects to it that do not always appeal to me. But thats fine. Your ‘guilt by association’ line stopped me, and I think for the most part that is a fair statement.
If I am honest, you guys have opened me up to a whole different side of the golfing world that was not previously on my radar. I love most of it, some of it I could take or leave, but that is no fault of yours. I love that you guys can spend a week at Brandon and write about it, and while I am personally not likely to listen to the podcast on Brandon architecture, I sure as heck am going to follow your Instagram stories because you guys keep it light and know how to have a good time.
You guys work hard at this, and golf is better for it.
Like others, I was inspired to create an account in here for the sole purposes of responding to this
Any business owner would kill for the level of detailed opinion and critique of their product contained here. Kudos to NLU for creating an environment where discourse may be heard. They aimed for community, and it’s certainly here.
The trip down the golf sub-culture wormhole was worthwhile, but If you zoom back out to our game, @tron’s point is enduring:
You want to go get shitfaced and use hickories? Go for it. You want to play regular stroke play with the newest equipment and grind? That’s fine too. Golf is inherently personal. But it should also be accessible and the local muni is becoming extinct. And that’s a problem.
The added emphasis on GCA is helpful to share classic principles. Mainly because it inspires renewed attention and focus to the local muni plight. For readers/listeners who want more GCA, there is plenty to fill that space.
- If I had to summarize the #content and #process/ethos of the site, I like @paul’s quote:
If I am honest, you guys have opened me up to a whole different side of the golfing world that was not previously on my radar.
That’s probably the whole damn point. It’s the greatest game, and there are infinite ways to experience it. There’s no right or wrong way, just your way.
I don’t really think everyone on here expects or demands that NLU cover the PGA Tour in depth every week. However, since you guys covered the Arnold Palmer back in mid-march, you had 3 LPGA Tour podcasts (which I really enjoyed, especially Kang), 2 with caddies (Bones was amazing), 1 on Augusta architecture, 2 on Bandon (did you guys really need a 2nd podcast to discuss topics like ranking the best #1 hole from each course?), and 1 on advanced golf stats. Other than covering the Masters, its been almost two months since NLU really produced the content that its best at - tour coverage. Its been even longer since you guys had an active tour player on for an interview .
Excluding former players, web.com players, and LPGA tour players, I think NLU has only had two regular tour players (Fitzpatrick and DJ) on as guests since Thanksgiving. I get you guys can’t land a Rory, JT (well @Soly probably can, but doesn’t want or need to), Speith or DJ every week, but there are a ton of less popular tour players that I bet people would love to hear on the podcast. The NLU bump is real, use your powers to revive #strebnation.
The fact that a lot of the tournament coverage has moved to the live show on Periscope/Twitter probably contributes to the perception of reduced Tour coverage when focusing on the podcast.
I asked about it at the time of the change and DJ advised that they can’t simulcast the live show as a podcast, which is a shame for a couple of reasons*, but if that’s how it is, that’s how it is.
I think everyone is sympathetic to fans who bought the debut EP and who now feel the band they loved is changing, but I also think that with four or five guys going full-time, growth and change was inevitable. Not least of all because the more content pillars you have, the greater the potential for those to be sponsored and for NLU to become a long-term going concern. And a profitable and prosperous NLU should be a priority for everyone who proclaims to support the site.
Why did I get into NLU in the first place? The tour coverage and specifically the tour pro interviews, so I agree with those who are championing that that remains a core focus, but I’m also an architecture and travel guy, so that stuff is a welcome addition as well.
The comments about the travel podcasts are interesting. I loved the Australia one because I am highly familiar with the courses in question, whereas I enjoyed the Bandon pod content for the first episode and a bit of the second, then I drifted off a bit when passing references start being made to specific holes and even specific bunkers and I have no idea what’s being spoken about.
I reckon the key to engaging discussion of a course a listener might not have played is to largely keep it macro. The character of the place, the way the course plays, the general architectural themes… that all paints a picture that doesn’t exclude the listener who can’t immediately picture “the drive bunker at number four”.
As far as the craft-beer, beard-stroking, never-keeping-score-while-I-play-hickories counterculture that’s emerging within the game… Wolf Hammer is pretty much the antithesis of that. I mean, during the Bandon trip that seems to have elicited the latest round of protests, Neil is reported to have played (and won) four simultaneous nassaus during a modified stableford with multipliers, not to mention most NLU content is brought to us by “the new Rogue driver from Callaway”, so I’m finding NLU not guilty of those charges!
*1. if I have Periscope/Twitter playing while I drive (which is when I most listen to pods), I’m risking a $500 fine and three demerit points, and 2. unless you fire it up as soon as it goes live (and post-round here in Sydney is usually 10am Monday so I tend not to listen then), it can be a bit harder to locate the live show, whereas the pods aggregate neatly in the one spot, downloaded and ready to be played.
I would love if the live shows were somehow recorded and them available on podcast, or even on youtube. Sunday nights, when I think most of them are, is typically family time, so they are tough for me to catch.
They’re available to watch afterwards, you just have to go back to find the tweet they appear within and then you can play them.
We’re going to effort getting them on YouTube too. So that will be an option in the future. Making them podcasts doesn’t really work logistically because they’re a bit more video based (or at least that’s the plan) and would also clutter the main podcast feed (pushing full interview episodes further into the archives, etc.). Hopefully putting them on YouTube will make them easier to find and watch after the fact.
Randy, if that’s the concern, is there a way to create a separate pod for the Periscope feeds? Perhaps NLUx or something like that. I understand that the Periscope is intended to be viewed, not merely listened to, but I’d nevertheless listen to a Tour recap without the ability to watch it. Plus, when it’s in the podcast app, I’m able to download them and listen on the plane and other places that I don’t have reception, whereas that option isn’t available with Periscope/Youtube.
Yeah, I hear you. And we’ve given it some thought. I think at the end of the day it just adds extra work (editing pods for audio quality, etc. is more tedious than you might imagine) that doesn’t seem to clear a cost/benefit threshold. Maybe a compromise of sorts is to work in a monthly roundtable pod of Tour discussion, either through main pod or Trap Draw (which, I promise, is returning soon!). Appreciate the thoughts and we’ll keep thinking about what’s the best for all.
Trust me, it’s not due to lack of effort. Podcasts with players are not only incredibly hard to arrange, but they’re incredibly hard to time. There’s one player in particular that I have had committed since last July, and still struggling to schedule. Supposed to happen by the end of this month, but we’ll see. We’ve had on the guys that are “easy” to get. And a lot of those were really not easy.
That said, there’s a lot coming in the next two weeks if everything goes to schedule. Which is an enormous if. Assuming it does, we’re stoked about it.
I’m looking forward to it! Thanks for providing this space for feedback and being so receptive to it.
It’s Cat, isn’t it? Nice, Cat’s gonna be on the pod looking forward to it.
My money is on Rickie. He’s got a new show to promote.
I’ll only play with 3 clubs for the rest of the year if it’s Cat.