Happy Turkey Week, everyone! As is tradition (well, at least dating back to 2019), our pre-Thanksgiving newsletter pays tribute to some of our favorite online golf content from the past year. We’ve included articles, videos, podcasts, and a few random tidbits that delighted us in 2020.
No doubt we’ve missed a lot of good stuff, so track us down on Twitter (@the_fried_egg) and tell us what else you enjoyed this year.
BUT FIRST… we wanted to assure the anxious millions that, yes, there will be a Black Friday Sale in The Fried Egg Pro Shop! Great deals on shirts, hats, headcovers, even Tervis tumblers. Also, we just replenished our collection of photography prints with some shots from Beverly Country Club and The Loop. Details will hit your inbox on Friday.
A baker’s dozen of our favorite online stories from 2020
Recapturing Golf (January 1), Lorne Rubenstein, SCOREGolf—Veteran scribe Lorne Rubenstein rang in the new year with a lovely ode to golf’s fundamental values. Looking back, his description of a simpler, more self-reliant game predicted what many golfers would end up rediscovering during Covid times.
Home on the range: A first-range account of the big impact that tiny Westlake Golf Course has had on the game (February 11), Sean Martin, PGATour.com—Both Chris Como and George Gankas have plied their swing-instruction trade at Westlake Golf Course in Southern California. What’s more, Sean Martin grew up there! He writes movingly about the unassuming course and its now-famous driving range.
How adoption gave Michael Thompson and his family life and love during the lockdown (April 13), Alex Myers, Golf Digest—One week after the PGA Tour shut down, the Thompson family visited Wichita, Kansas, to attend the birth of their adopted child. Alex Myers talks with Michael Thompson about what the adoption journey was like during the pandemic.
Can I be both thankful and horrified? (June 1), Damon Hack, GolfChannel.com—After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Damon Hack weighed in briefly but poignantly with a series of complex questions.
At Colonial, golf returns with barely a whisper (June 8), Kevin Robbins, Golf Digest—This is less about a single article and more about a week’s worth of work from Kevin Robbins, who was at Colonial Country Club for the PGA Tour’s return from the Covid hiatus. Robbins, the author of The Last Stand of Payne Stewart, vividly conveys the eeriness of the fan-less event.
Efforts to make golf more diverse largely haven’t worked. It’s time for a new approach (June 23), Laz Versalles, Golf—It’s simple enough to recognize golf’s diversity problem, but it’s far tougher to come up with solutions. Laz Versalles should be commended for offering some truly original suggestions for change.
Bryson DeChambeau berating a cameraman reveals his true brand (July 4), Eamon Lynch, Golfweek—Eamon Lynch takes fewer prisoners than any golf writer, and his weekly column has remained a must-read in 2020. It’s tough to pick just one story, but this detonation of Bryson DeChambeau is peak Eamon.
Black Numbers: The Shocking Underrepresentation of Black People in Golf Course Design (July 7), Will Bardwell, Lying Four—Golf’s racial disparities are especially noticeable in the field of golf course architecture. In this piece, Will Bardwell investigates that problem with his usual insight and eloquence.
Why golf is becoming popular inside the NBA bubble (July 14), Sean Zak, Golf—In the NBA bubble, the world’s best basketball players found themselves in need of a fun, healthy off-court hobby. Enter golf.
The Art of Thought (July 18), Meghan MacLaren, meghanmaclaren.com—Watching Bryson DeChambeau attempt a near-impossible shot at Muirfield Village, Meghan MacLaren wondered what he was thinking, which prompted her to reflect on that most alluring, most enduring dimension of golf: thought.
The Meaning of Winged Foot: The club’s exceptional courses aren’t the only thing that set it apart (September 14), Michael Bamberger, Golf—Winged Foot isn’t just a tournament venue, and Michael Bamberger isn’t just a golf journalist. Both are keepers of a tremendous amount of history.
Looking through the blurred lines of the PGA Tour and Golf Channel (September 16) Brendan Quinn, The Athletic – Brendan Quinn provides a well-reported account of Golf Channel’s devolution into an arm of the PGA Tour. Week in and week out, Quinn’s golf coverage for the subscription-based Athletic has been outstanding.
The untold story of a golf legend Mickey Wright, who left her entire estate to the USGA (October 31), Beth Ann Nichols, Golfweek—When Mickey Wright, a titan of the women’s game, died in February, she willed her possessions to the USGA. Beth Ann Nichols takes us on a tour of those artifacts, and in doing so gives us a multilayered portrait of Wright as a person.
Assorted fun stuff
Adventures in Golf, Season 5, Skratch + Erik Anders Lang—Golf travel hasn’t been easy (or, frankly, all that high of a priority) in 2020, but we’re glad that the fifth season of EAL’s merry travelogue found its way to our computer screens.
Behind the Greens: Winged Foot Golf Club, Fore Play Golf—From the Barstool crew, this well-executed video offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Winged Foot grounds crew’s preparations for the September U.S. Open.
Brough Creek National Course Fly Through 2020, Some Guy’s Backyard—We’ve been following these Kansas City lunatics’ quest to build a backyard golf course for two years now, and we’re stunned at what they’ve accomplished. The damn thing is open for play! And it looks great!
Feed the Ball Salon Vol. 2, ft. Bill Coore—When Covid-19 hit, both Derek Duncan and the golf course architects he interviews suddenly had a lot of time on their hands. So Duncan joined forces with architect Jim Urbina to conduct a series of long-form, topic-driven interviews with various giants of the trade. This early episode with Bill Coore is a standout.
Hanging by a Thread—During a sit-down with Jim Nantz at the Genesis Invitational, Genesis CEO Marc England’s shirt was looking rather strained. CBS came to the rescue with a timely zoom-in. Scorsese-level camera work there.
Jaime Diaz on Harding Park—For the PGA Championship, the bafflingly underused Jaime Diaz delivered one of the best Golf Channel features in recent memory with his series on Harding Park Golf Course and the history of golf in San Francisco.
Less Than Perfect Makes for an Ideal Masters, The Good-Good Golf Podcast—Born from the ashes of the iSeekGolf Podcast, Rod Morri and Adrian Logue’s Good-Good Podcast is now 57 episodes in, and it’s a consistently informative and enlightening listen. You might as well dive in with the most recent episode, a conversation with superintendent Matthew Wharton about the November Masters.
Pampered F*cks—On a blustery January day at Kapalua, Patrick Cantlay unwittingly became a content creator.
Strapped (Baltimore), No Laying Up—The NLU crew has released two other installments of Neil and Big Randy’s triumphs and tribulations in 2020, and they’re both delightful, but we’re partial to this dispatch from Baltimore, which arrived late last year. Praise be to St. Rappeo.
McKellar Podcast #43: Rory McIlroy—A meeting of a great interviewee, Rory McIlroy, and two extremely knowledgeable interviewers, Lawrence Donegan and John Huggan. McKellar Magazine is fantastic as well.
Quarantine, Bryson DeChambeau—Overwrought music. Squirrels. #Brand placement. Shirtless bacon cooking. Pool maintenance. The nagging mystery as to why it was made. This one really has it all.
TalkinGolf History 42, Bernard Darwin, Origins of Literary Golf Writing—Stephen Proctor is one of our favorite guests, and Bernard Darwin is one of his favorite subjects, so we were bound to love this episode of Connor Lewis’s golf history podcast.
Woking, Story of a Golf Club, Cookie Jar Golf—New on the golf media landscape, Cookie Jar Golf has produced several excellent videos about historic British clubs. This one on Woking is a good place to start.
The Latest from The Fried Egg
Shotgun Start: USGA gets in bed with Bay Hill, another Match, and the scourge of “Gift Guides”
This Wednesday episode begins with the discovery of Brendan’s distaste for anything with banana in it. Then both Andy and Brendan discuss a few things they’re thankful for, mostly you, the audience, before rambling on some golf odds and ends in a light week. One of those items is the announcement of the Walker Cup practice session taking place at Bay Hill next month. Could this mean the USGA is eyeing Bay Hill for a U.S. Open? Who can say? The schedule for the week touches on the Euro Tour heading to Leopard Creek and the next iteration of The Match. They discuss the format, the ridiculous odds, and a few props, including an influencer challenge with four influencers they’ve never heard of, that appear to have made-up names, and millions of followers on YouTube. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.