Googling Athlete's Dong Size (OP Approved Dong conversation)

Long winded-rant warning…

I have been totally obsessed with golf for the last 2 years, and I find the whole thing a bit perplexing. The multi-faceted culture and norms and evolution of the sport are so complicated and I have many questions about the world I’ve entered. I spent most of my years being into skateboarding culture, so when I transitioned into golf I’ve found it hard to find parts of the game I identify with. I love playing, I love golf courses, I love watching golf, but I find it a bit difficult to relate to other golfers. I don’t know where to start this rant so I’m just going to start babbling.

So what do I mean by a snowboarding moment? Well I’m sure most of you are familiar with the counter-culture movement that snowboarders brought to ski-hills and the backlash that came from the establishment of ski culture. As just a very recent observer of golf culture it seems to me that an alternative golf movement is underway and is coming from many different outlets/capacities. NLU, The Golfer’s Journal, The Fried Egg, etc. are presenting a different view of the game than the big mags, the PGA Tour, or what people generally believe the game is about. My non-golfing friends think golf is for old, rich, white men. Of course you know these stereotypes. The alt-golf media knows that the game doesn’t have to be like that and are trying to share a more positive side of the game. So what are they tapping into? Roughly, I believe it is centered around the idea that golf can be and should be really fun and there are many ways to get there.

The Golfer’s Journal/Tom Coyne are sharing stories about community golf and various working class golf experiences, but at the same time they are writing stories about super exclusive, luxurious golfing experiences. The Fried Egg highlights courses that are the best Bang for Your Buck and praises community golf success stories like Winter Park, but the majority of the time the content is focused on courses that we will never set foot in. It seems we are mostly taught to worship golf course architecture from behind a window. NLU produces Strapped and films episodes of Tour Sauce at Adare Manor/MPCC. NLU crew wears gear for a private-club that doesn’t exist yet. Additionally, the hardcore golf nuts who consume this alternative media often display items to indicate they are into this scene by buying expensive boutique brands such as Seamus headcovers and Shapland golf bags. The game’s relationship to money and wealth is inextricable, but we also want it to be accessible to the youth and low-income households. So what is the message that alternative golf media is trying to sell?

Sweeten’s cove, Bandon, Sand Valley have brought world-class, fun golfing experiences to anyone willing to travel there. You can play 36 holes of truly world class golf at Bandon for $200 if you can get there and are willing to endure the elements. I don’t mean to make this about The Buck Club, but Zac Blair seems like another figurehead of the alt-golf movement that puts a lot of positive energy into game, but wants to create a walled off club. Fried Egg Andy tried to summarize this movement with this article. I find the article incredibly thought-provoking, but I also don’t know how we as golfers who buy into this golf culture can rally around these ideas if they aren’t presented in a pure way. Surely there are fellow-kindred spirits that see the problem with TGJ/TFE/NLU’s current two-sided approach to covering the alt-golf movement. Just to be clear, I love all of these alt-golf outlets and people, it just doesn’t resonate with me completely. I know it’s not their job to save golf and I don’t think they want to, they are just putting out great content. I’m not writing this as an attack on anyone, just that I find some aspects of alt-golf media unrelatable.

I’ve thought about starting my own thing that is more openly against the exclusionary aspects of golf/ golf architecture and more into celebrating the accessible, achievable, common experience. I’ve thought about doing some interviews with Andy and others in this movement to discuss this kind of stuff and produce additional content. Ok, I’ve more than thought about it, I have a name for it, a logo and a mission statement written out already. I know everyone here cares about this side of golf, but would probably, gladly drop all of these principles for a membership at Augusta. I could’ve given this post better flow and structure, but I have to mow my lawn and get back to work now to be honest. Thoughts?

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Great post, and thanks for putting so much thought into it. I really value your perspective, and I have thought about similar things, but clearly not as cogently as you have.

To be honest, I actually don’t see the two-pronged approach to be bad (even though yes, some things are not relatable). To me, it’s a feature not a bug.

Sure, I’ll probably never have access to Cypress Point, but the fact is that a lot of good golf architecture can be found on Very Private courses. Seeing that architecture written about intelligently helps me more fully appreciate the interesting aspects of a hole at my local muni. Just having that content available to consume is a huge benefit over the stuff that some of the popular golf publications put out.

I totally agree with you regarding the $$$ items that seem to signal you’re a Cool Golfer Gui. But, it’s their money, and not mine that they’re spending. I have a beat up Titleist Sunday bag I bought from eBay, and its non-bespokeness doesn’t affect my ability to enjoy golf the way I want to enjoy it.

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Different strokes for different folks. Golf can offer doors to different opportunities. I grew up skateboarding and playing sports. In my mid 30s, I don’t want play rugby or run the risk of skating a pool. I live in Richmond, VA and have played the low key muni courses to the Country Club of Virginia. I think the millenial age group thinks way too much about the alternative golf culture. Most do not have means for memberships and have living costs suck up a greater amount of disposable income. Enjoyment in golf is tied to how much time and money you can afford to give it. I worked at semiprivate courses near Northern VA where Gen Xers and back made enough to play great conditioned courses and practice. I think the alternative movement is like the niches in skateboarding. I recall the crust punks liking Baker, and other groups liking the more corporate presence (Nike). Unlike skateboarding, golf performance is tied to environment. I doubt anyone would prefer burned out munis with rocky bunkers to lush fairways and tour quality sand. The niche brands appeal to a specific crowd, but most golfers could not identify them. I think most golfers struggle to break 100, watch it on tv, and barely keep score.

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Hey from RVA!

I totally agree with you on the two-pronged approach thing. I think it’s awesome to cover and show areas of golf that are super accessible to everyone but I also think it’s really cool to see content about super exclusive things as well. Because if they are super exclusive and I’ll never be able to get there, the coverage from the people mentioned above is the only way for me to see those things.

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I’m with you brother, I cannot relate to the private or ultra expensive golf discussions regardless of whether it is traditional media or new media. I think TFE, NLU, TGJ all acknowledge in one form or another how much of a bummer that aspect of golf is for the 99%.

If you’re lucky, you can just block that half of the content out and focus on the relatable bits, that’s what I try to do.

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Yeah…No.

Great post, but I’m going to devil’s advocate here. If you’d like to continue, @chockfullofthat, let me know. Otherwise I’ll keep enjoying this great thread as a lurking reader.

Again, great post.

Signed,
Middle Age Man nearing 50 who has played golf for 36 years.

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I have a pretty love/hate relationship with this part of golf too. As someone who didn’t grow up in the game and is only really discovering it now, it seems as if the aloof, elitist, exclusionary places exist mostly in America or under American ownership (again, mostly). As such, I’d say they are more a reflection of American ideologies about class and privilege than anything inherent to golf. Does is stink that most of America’s best courses are inaccessible to the majority of it’s golfers? 100%, because being here also means that for tons of people, an overseas trip to amazing playable courses is cost-prohibitive. But I don’t think that should prevent outlets like NLU or TFE from trying to show as many folks as possible what those courses look like, and why they’re so special. Great courses deserve their acclaim for the most part, and the more people that get to see them, the better it is for the game as a whole. It’s by seeing or playing fun architecture that golfers know what to look for, expect, and demand from their courses come restoration time.

I’ve been pretty lucky to play a few amazing courses that happen to be private, and all of the folks I’ve met love to have appreciative guests and show their course off, because it’s a special place for them. If I were in a leadership position at one of these places in or near a major metropolitan area, I’d probably start looking at ways to open the place up. As land prices rise, urban populations grow, the tax exempt statuses of these places will come under more scrutiny, and justifying their existence is only going to get harder. Places like Bandon or Sand Hills will be fine obviously, but the San Francisco private courses, the LA jewels, etc. may have trouble. And without some broad public support, they may cease to exist as is, which should scare every golfer, because it could mean that some amazing places are lost altogether. But, it’s pretty hard to care about something that you’re being actively excluded from.

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Good content is good content regardless of what aspect of the game is featured.

I would just focus on creating good content.

You can have interesting stories about Pine Valley and you can have interesting stories about a unkempt muni and you can have unintresting stories about Pine Valley and uninteresting stories about a unkempt muni.

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I don’t love to side with Laz but I slightly disagree with you take. Maybe its my background of being a snowboarder for 20+ years and a summit county snowboard bum for 5. Snowboarding created a fundamentally different way to experience snow (and sand dunes).

I’ve shared @thefriedegg’s article on golf and craft beer with more people than I can count because I think he depicted the evolution of golf so well. Society continues to evolve and the spread of information is so quick now, that boutique and niche operations can reach audiences capable of keeping them sustainable. NLU never exists if they graduate college in 2001 because twitter doesn’t exist or grow to a height for a decade. Society wants uniqueness and a story behind the things they consume. Artistry is in right now and it’s complemented by a era, where the people we seek out for insights are typically independent contributors. I’m not going to listen to Fox/WB/Disney tell me how great their films are, or look for product reviews from Bose/Beats by Dre. We want perspective and non-partisan outlook. All of this continues to foster an marketplace for TFE/NLU/Barstool/Get a Grip to exist and thrive.

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It’s probably because nearly every time we tell somebody we are an obsessive golfer we get at best a curious look and at worst someone laughing in our face.

I know the point you are trying to make, but a crust punk is the worst kind of punk and hated even by the punk subculture. It would be harsh to associate Baker with crust punks.

Bingo. I don’t care.

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Other countries, such as Scotland/England, already had (and still maintain to some extent) centuries old ways to divide and maintain class structures. They didn’t need golf to do so.

The US just latched onto the early days of country clubs and golf as their method.

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The way I look at them, there are a ton of amazing works of art that are in private collections that I will never get to experience in person. Is the world better off without them at all, or is it better to let people photograph them, share them, and inspire people to create new things in their likeness? I’d rather they exist even if I don’t get to see them

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I’ve thought about this same analogy, but it’s more like Stanley Kubrick getting paid by Bill Gates to make a movie for just him, but still releasing the trailer.

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This is a good question. Being a lifelong golfer, a caddy for seven years at an exclusive country club, and working in the golf business for five or six years, I believe that the alt golf media does a good job of showcasing both the high and low.
I find myself gravitating toward the “Strapped” content more then the flyovers of Tara Iti. But that being said, I loved the flyovers of Tara Iti. Probably never gonna make it to NZ.
I have buddies who are C.C. members and when I’ve been lucky enough to catch an invite, I’ve always enjoyed and understood what makes that experience special and different from playing a twilight muni round. Both can be awesome if you know what you like and where to find it.

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Yes, this is a huge flaw in my phrasing of the question/rant, but I was kind of hoping no one would point that out. Thanks, jerk!

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What would be an example of stories that you want to tell?

I wish it was like this for me, but any time I get the whiff of private/exclusive/hyperexpensive I just tune out or compartmentalize it

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Well for one, we have so many maps of hidden gems, bang for your buck courses and so little coverage of them. I’d like to do some Strapped type content documenting playing them. I have become really interested in Graywalls through The Fried Egg and instagram, but if you search for it on YouTube you can’t really learn that much about the course. I’d like to do some course vlog/road trip type things. That’s just one idea. Traveling and playing cool public courses. Everyone likes that type of content if it’s done well.

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I think there is a lot to the point of CC vs Muni, like Sky’s vs Urichins. Until maybe the market crash in 08, country clubs did as much as possible to keep non members out, while muni golfers felt great pride in the low class vibes.

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