Growing up with golf
I distinctly remember the moment that I fell in love with the game of golf. It was the summer of 1996, and I was watching the epic final match of the U.S. Amateur between Tiger Woods and Steve Scott. The energy, excitement and coolness that Tiger infused in the sport hooked me. I found my first love at age 10, golf.
From that day on, my Chicago summers were spent at the golf course. I caddied and worked at a few area country clubs and played countless rounds at a local muny. I got good enough to play in high school and ended up playing one year of college golf (another story for another day). I graduated college into the recession and decided that I would caddie and play golf for a year to see how good I could get at the game. I went to Florida for the winter and got a lot better but not nearly good enough to consider a professional career. So, I decided to get a real job, settling into professional life in Chicago.
Why I started writing
As I grew professionally, my time for golf shrunk. I played less and the focus of my reading attention was often on bettering my professional skills or industry knowledge. After a stint at one of Chicago’s fastest growing startups, I took a job at a tech media company. My new job put me in charge of partnerships and business development, and my main focus was monetizing our content. During my year there, I became enthralled with content and how people digest content. I read everything I could about content marketing and strategies and began to realize that I had stopped reading about my first love, golf.
I thought about why, and it came down to a couple of core reasons:
- Nothing was easy – In order to read something I had to search for it
- The content quality was low – Due to diminishing magazine subscribers, the big publications had resorted to writing about equipment (paid for by the manufacturers) and instruction (something that shouldn’t be done)
- The websites were ad farms – Due to over-inflated staffs and declining subscriptions, these publications were serving multiple ads per article, making it intolerable as a reader
With these problems in mind, I set out to figure out a solution. The one I landed on was a simple golf newsletter delivered to inboxes a couple times a week. The newsletter would have the busy professional in mind, giving the cliff notes of what was happening in the golf world with links out to provide a full story for those interested. The overall goal, to make following golf easy and stress-free for fans.
I told a buddy about the idea I had for the newsletter, and he loved it. He then gave me the best piece of advice, “just write one and see what happens.”
That afternoon, December 8th of 2015, I spent all afternoon writing the first edition of The Golf Hack. When I think back, it was an idiotic idea; I hadn’t written anything since college, and my grammatical skills have always mirrored that of a 3rd grader. Luckily, my fiancé is a journalism major and was able to edit it to the point where it was readable for my audience. We laughed this morning about A. How long it took me to write the 1st newsletter and B. How long it took her to edit my horrendous writing.
The first edition of The Golf Hack was sent the morning of December 9th, titled “Your Wednesday fried egg lie” and went out to 10 lucky recipients. The feedback was resoundingly positive, which looking back is not surprising since it was sent strictly to friends and family, but it gave me the confidence and drive to send another edition the following Monday.
By the next Monday, The Golf Hack was no more, instead called the fried egg and sent out to just a few more people. A simple website followed, and the newsletter audience started to grow with every send.
A year later, I look back and have you the readers and a couple great contributors (Paulie & Kevin) to thank. In the last year, there have been 126 editions of the fried egg, and now the audience has 4 more zeros than when we started thanks to you spreading the word.
Where the fried egg is going
In hopes of more growth and many more birthdays, I promise you that I will keep writing as much quality golf content as humanly possible and will never allow an advertiser to influence the voice of the fried egg to deceive you.
In the near term, we are planning to make some improvements to make your experience better!
We will be launching a new website in the near future in an effort to make your reading experience better. In 2017, we plan to continue quality content in a few core categories:
- Professional golf – We have got you covered for all things PGA Tour, European Tour and Web.com Tour
- Golf Course Architecture and Golf Courses – To help you to enjoy playing golf even more, we hope to teach you some cool stuff about golf courses, showcase excellent courses and explore some hidden gems
- Amateur and Collegiate golf – Two of the most exciting areas of golf that are lacking in quality coverage
How you can help
Feedback helps tremendously, so if there is anything that you would like to tell us, please send us a note here. We are always looking for unique stories to write about, courses we should check out, suggestions of different things we should do, or even potential contributors.
Thanks again for the great first year,