When each new volume of The Golfer’s Journal drops I seem to get it about three days after most of my friends and the wait is interminable. When the mailman finally shows up and I see the “Do Not Bend” cardboard envelope sticking out of the mailbox I’m transported back to elementary school, when I would get home from school on Thursdays and run down to the mailbox to check if Sports Illustrated had been delivered.
For the first two volumes of TGJ, I subconsciously prioritized which pieces most appealed to me and read them in a really bizarre order, saving certain pieces for certain moods or settings. My wife made me aware that I was doing this and then rolled her eyes. At the risk of sounding like a cheesedick, TGJ always feels inherently personal for me beyond the fact that No Laying Up has a column in the back and that a member of the NLU Fam (D.J. Piehowski) is a contributing editor for TGJ. The themes explored in each of the first three volumes encapsulate why I love golf and marry convergent people, places, and themes that have impacted me in a number of different ways.
Discover the stories, photography and characters inside TGJ No. 3.
— The Golfer’s Journal (@GolfersJournal) March 5, 2018
No. 1 brought to life the adventures inherent in golf with journeys to Tijuana, Askernish and North Berwick and also featured Big Randy detailing an adventure in his own backyard tailing Monty around the US Senior Open for the “Lipping Out” feature. It made me want to get out there both to these places and to go find my own hidden gems.
No. 2 explored the soul and spirit of the game with invigorating stories from the Bandon Sheep Ranch, the hickory and persimmon-making Louisville Golf Company and a piece on Sweetens Cove Golf Club that transported me back to my rebirth in the game.
Four years ago I was living in Atlanta and burned out on golf, sick of the lack of good options to play around town and burdened by the resource constraints inherent to actually playing golf. Then I heard about Sweetens Cove and my concept of golf was completely shattered. I made the two and a half hour drive four times in a span of twelve months, playing at least 36 holes each time and never playing the same hole twice during the same trip (keep in mind it’s a nine hole course). Travis Hill’s story about his initial trip to Sweetens captured the transcendent spirit of the place and fleshed out the same feelings I’ve held since 2014, often struggling to express in my own words. Now when someone asks about Sweetens, I just tell them to buy TGJ No. 2.
And while Nos. 1 & 2 were both exceptional pieces of #content, No. 3 is on a different level. It continues both the spirit of adventure from No. 1 with far-flung pieces on Shiskine and Whistling Rock. But it also offers a deeper exploration of what’s been lost in the game over the past few decades (Caleb Hannan’s descriptive dive into the now-deceased world of golf hustlers, Jay Rigdon’s energizing piece on a scruffy muni in Chicago – ironically right down the street from where I was born – and D.J.’s half-hopeful/half-tragic AF look at Banff Springs through the lens of up-and-coming architect Riley Johns). These pieces inspire you to get involved and be the change you wish to see in the game. In the spirit of the “something lost” theme, Neil also used the NLU “Lipping Out” column to lament his recent move from San Francisco to New York and employed the word “fuccboi” in print.
As I count down the months and weeks and days to No. 4 arriving in my mailbox, I keep pressing D.J. and Travis for details on upcoming issues and they just smirk. The Golfer’s Journal is just scratching the surface. While I’m certainly biased, it’s obvious that this publication has established itself as the foundation and voice for a growing subculture (or is it a counterculture?) within golf that’s on the verge of doing big things and becoming far more than just a niche group.
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