It’s that time of the year again. The one time of the year where, surrounded by flocks of murdered turkeys, Americans are forced for a few seconds to remember reasons why their thankful. As though it’s so hard.
I, for one, can speak to the multitude of blessings in my life, both inside the game of golf and outside it. Away from the golf world, I am a married man now, wearing a new set of responsibilities and embarking down a fresh walk in life. Reports through one week– so far, so good!
Professionally, I get to write with my best friend, Dillon Friday here for USGolfTV.com and talk about golf. Our company at USGolfTV is growing and our team continues to grow more excited. It’s been an amazing year of growth for us and our entire team (Todd, Tyler, Jordan, Nick and Matthew).
With the holiday season upon us, we (@noclassfriday & me) decided to sit down and write about the top-10 things we’re thankful for in golf. Some memories include us sitting in front of the plasma screen, eyes fixated on the action from the course, and others are more personal experiences.
We hope you enjoy and feel free to SHARE and comment some of your favorite memories for golf in 2015. We would love to hear what stood out in 2015 for you, whether it be personally or something you enjoyed watching in golf.
As Dillon texted me this morning, it’s time to be thankful like Marshawn.
11. Shane Ryan‘s Book: “Slaying the Tiger”
Early in the summer of the 2015 golf season, amidst Jordan Spieth’s barbaric dominance, Shane Ryan released a book with his observations after following the young stars in golf for the full calendar year of 2014.
The result? 432 pages of must-read, riveting golf content.
Ryan dives into not only the inner workings of the PGA Tour and professional golf worldwide, but also examines deeper behind the scenes into the lives of golf’s heirs apparent to the Tiger throne.
His findings on Patrick Reed (which can be read at Ryan’s site, here) challenges golf fans to take a stance on the controversial young Tour winner. His definitive opinion on Mr. Spieth, another sparkling chapter, found Jordan Spieth to be perhaps, a better kid than even the media portrays.
Some of the most interesting chapters in the book surround enigmas Bubba Watson and Victor Dubuisson, both completely unique eccentric personalities.
Slaying the Tiger is ground breaking in the golf world. Ryan takes opinions, shares dirt, offers praise and overall, provides the insights into the golf world that die-hard golf fans thirst for. It was the best read of my summer.
It’s a bummer he was forced to cut so many (more than likely, completely captivating) chapters. We can only imagine how good those would be in addition to the rest of his book.
Thank you, Shane.
10. Golf Friends
Perhaps the PGA Tour knew something we didn’t when this commercial started to make the rounds last winter:
Since that ad hit the air, not only did Jordan Spieth vault himself into the top echelon of golf, he also brought along some friends with him.
There’s trusty caddie, Michael Greller, former teacher turned looper with a permanent five-o-clock shadow. Justin Thomas was mentioned so many times as a Spieth friend that he became “Jordan Spieth’s Good Buddy Justin Thomas” or JSGB for short.
And how about the trip back from St. Andrew’s? Spieth, so close to winning the British Open, was caught taking a sip out of Zach Johnson’s Claret Jug.
Spieth wasn’t the only one who got by with a little help from his friends.
Billy Horschel violently greeted Rickie Fowler at the Players when Fowler emerged from his birdie-charge.
Then at the PGA Championship, microphones caught Jason Day cheering on his compatriot and opponent Matt Jones. For being such an individual sport, golf did show signs of camaraderie in 2015. And we love that.
9. Jordan Spieth
Piggybacking off Dillon’s mention of Spieth above, let’s just be thankful for this young man in general.
As two relatively young writers in the golf industry (both Dillon and I are 26 and 25, respectively), it’s feels good to pair the word young when writing so often about a golfer. At 22 years of age, Spieth is in Lydia Ko territory for one of the best young careers in golf history.
I remember watching Spieth only, it seems, a few years ago when he was a edgy Texan junior, dominating the USGA airwaves on the Golf Channel. I wondered, “it’ll be fun to see if he can make it on the Tour in the future.”
The future came so much sooner than I thought possible.
He’s a Masters champion, a U.S. Open trophy owner, a PGA Tour Player of the Year and perhaps, the nicest kid on the Tour. He’s my favorite. He’s probably your favorite, too.
Let’s just be thankful for him. For golf’s sake.
8. David Feherty
I’m fairly certain Troy included David Feherty on a similar list last year, but I don’t care.
I’m thankful for Feherty each November and beyond. No one challenges the status quo in golf so willingly and hilariously as the versatile Feherty.
I’m happy that NBC scooped him up in free agency if only because it allows him to appear on a wider variety of shows. He’s wonderful on the course. He’s better sitting in the interviewer’s chair. He’ll be great where ever he goes.
Feherty continues to stand out in a clogged sports media.
7. My PGA Tour Preview Bliss on USGolfTV
Allow me, even for one second, the opportunity to take note of the incredible luck I saw in 2015 when writing our site’s weekly preview posts. I won’t pontificate here (or attempt to, in any way), but I was blown away by the amount of picks who played well after I coincidentally slotted them as “winners” for the week. Here’s my list.
- Brooks Koepka’s win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (Read Preview here)
- Brandt Snedeker’s win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am (Read Preview here)
- Near miss (2nd) with Stenson at Bay Hill (Read Preview here)
- J.B. Holmes win at the Wells Fargo Championship (Read the Preview Here)
- Bubba Watson’s win at the Travelers (Read the Preview here)
- Jason Day’s Major Championship win at the PGA (Read the Preview Here)
Writing the weekly previews for USGolfTV is a fun experience and I would love it if all of you joined in on the discussion each week. Predictions in golf really aren’t worth a damn, I understand that. But with the game’s volatility being so prevalent, it feels good to hit from time to time.
I’m just thankful I hit a few winners!
(Does this count as a #humblebrag? It really isn’t meant to be. This is #TourSauce, golf blogger style.)
6. JR Mats
A quick promotional break for a GREAT product…
Quite simply put, Jay McGrath and his team at JR Mats produce the best golf mats in the golf industry. We’ve been working with Jay for a few years now and his mats truly are the best your money will find. Injury prevention, durability and realistic playing surfaces all considered, this mat is incredible.
Through us, you can receive this product at a discounted rate. If you need a golf mat, this is the mat you need to consider. Actually, I’ll be bolder. This is the one you need to get.
We’ve written at length about JR Mats and their products. We encourage you to learn more if you’re in the market for a mat.
5. The Prairie Club
Sometimes trouble and beauty can be synonyms. pic.twitter.com/gfpVnik4zX
— The Prairie Club (@theprairieclub) October 15, 2015
When one thinks of scenic golf, Nebraska doesn’t exactly come to mind. But anyone who has been to The Prairie Club—just south of Valentine—would argue for this wonderful golf getaway.
I had the pleasure of playing The Prairie Club this fall as part of one Troy Klongerbo’s bachelor party. The views overlooking a canyon were majestic. Each hole of both courses—the dunes and the pines—were shaped and designed to fit a natural golf shot.
After playing 45 holes, we headed to the Horse Course, which takes its name from the popular basketball trick-shot game.
The Horse Course, designed by the great Gil Hanse, features ten greens in numerical order, but no distinct tee boxes. The idea is to give players a chance to choose where to tee off from. No shot is greater than 120 yards. The whole experience not only reinforced my love for golf, it gave me a deeper appreciation of the sport.
By the way, the team over at the Prairie Club just launched a brand new website. It’s fantastic and I encourage you to head over and take a look.
When that golden sun strikes the rolling prairie, it's a sight to behold. pic.twitter.com/XwRiSm63K1
— The Prairie Club (@theprairieclub) November 1, 2015
4. The Flightscope: Learn More than Ever About Your Game
This year, our company has been able to further cultivate a great relationship with a company called Flightscope. For those of you familiar, you know the value this product provides the industry. For those not, the Flightscope will provide you with the information necessary to completely revolutionize the way you understand your golf game.
Do you want accurate numbers to understand what is happening at impact? Use this product. Period.
Ball speed, club head speed, launch angles, spin numbers, angles of attack and path, club face position at impact– Flightscope has it all, and in incredible detail. These numbers only scratch the surface.
This product is easy to use, portable, high in quality and will help you to change your game. It syncs with your devices and makes practice and experience of learning, instead of labor. Flightscope has bridged the gap between shot results and data beautifully.
With the work our team does in golf instruction, the Flightscope played a pivotal role. We were able to take leaps in our discoveries because of them.
We’re thankful for their team of innovators.
— Todd Kolb (@toddkolbgolf) November 11, 2015
— FlightScope Golf (@FlightScopeGolf) November 23, 2015
3. Ryder Cup Speculation
One of the great things about golf is that every year is either a Ryder Cup year of the year before a Ryder Cup year. In other words, the competition is never far from anyone’s mind.
Because the event is so unique we can only speculate at how the two teams will fair against each other or which players will play the best. We create a whole of noise in this speculation that welcomes any and all hot takes. Consider the recent appointment of Tiger Woods as an assistant captain for Davis Love III’s American team.
We all had been wondering if Woods would play a role at Hazeltine in 2016. Now we have an answer…sort of. He’d rather compete than advise, which is a storyline in itself.
We haven’t even mentioned the Keegan Bradley or Webb Simpson text message jokes yet.
The Europeans? Well they can sit back and relax for now. But conversing about the Ryder Cup is almost as fun as watching it.
In today’s world, remember, Turkey made a bid at the Ryder Cup.
There's a "significant" Ryder Cup press conference today. Can only assume it's to name it the "War by the Mall of America."
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) November 18, 2015
2. Attending the PGA Merchandise Show
Each year, the golf industry changes. Sure, with the waves of driver, iron and wedge technology (heck, throw in putters too), the changes and innovations are essentially microscopic. Honestly, I’m not sure how much golf can continue to progress.
But from an environment and atmosphere stance, the PGA Show is a great celebration of golf, and continues to be each and every January.
It’s fun to interact with people from throughout the world who love to talk golf. The personalities and guests who roam the spacious floors will keep the average “people watchers” enthralled for hours, nay days.
Every year, our team goes to the PGA Show and we’ve started to make friends and contacts down there. At the end of the day, golf is nothing without people. And the PGA Show is a celebration, even if not directly, of that.
In the theme of thankfulness, we’re thankful for be fortunate enough to go.
1. Shameless Shoutouts
by Dillon Friday (and Troy Klongerbo, both)
Troy and I love golf twitter.
It’s become a necessary companion during any weekend viewing of tournaments, while offering a voice that differs from the dryness of most broadcasts (Feherty aside). So at the risk of forgetting anyone here are few that made watching and following golf an extra dose of enjoyable in 2015.
No Laying Up (@nolayingup): Endlessly entertaining and funny, whether it’s launching #PrayForTedScott or wondering why don’t people love Brooks Koepka as much as them.
NLU has emerged as the voice of millennial golf fans for better or worse (often better) and has quickly been picked up by some heavier hitters in the industry. I mean, they did a podcast with Billy Horschel. Not bad for a blog that mocks the pros from time to time.
Do yourself a favor. Follow, laugh and RT. They’re good stuff.
"Just swipe right. All of them." pic.twitter.com/hEql4FbT6P
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) July 15, 2015
Jason Sobel (@jasonsobelESPN): Like Feherty and NLU, Sobel brings a sense of humor to the course. He’s not just the funny guy, though. Working for ESPN, Sobel often presents stats that contextualize a performance better than a single day of scoring ever could. A must-follow, especially during the Majors.
Jason Day birdies the opening hole. In 19 starts this season, he hasn't bogeyed the first hole even once. Just call him the anti-Tiger.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) September 17, 2015
Chris Chaney (@wrong_fairway): I like to think of @Wrong_Fairway as the man with the gifs. His Patrick Reed work deserves an award in itself. But it’s the mix of comedy and context that make Chris a popular tweeter.
— Chris Chaney (@Wrong_Fairway) November 8, 2015
Then, here’s an all-time classic:
Rinaldi Alert: never forget. pic.twitter.com/xrDp3Ot0Qe
— Chris Chaney (@Wrong_Fairway) July 16, 2015
Adam Sarson (@Adam_Sarson): He’s smart, offers some great statistical insights and keeps a continual eye on the Twitter waves. He’s always good for either producing interesting content or sharing some he’s found. If you enjoy staying up on golf, Adam is a guy that will help you do so better.
Not sure I’ve ever seen a quicker look away than this: pic.twitter.com/4IpKo3ga9c
— Adam Sarson (@Adam_Sarson) October 29, 2015
Trevor Reaske (@TrevorReaske): Dude has both edge and opinions, but his work with golf observations and developing hilarious content around it rivals some of the best on Twitter. He tweets often, blasting some 10,800 tweets in total, but many of them provide value, even if it’s a way to keep a finger on the pulse of the golf world.
Keep the great vines, GIFs and quotes coming, Trevor.
"How about a warm glass of shut the hell up?" -Patrick Reed https://t.co/pmzTYlkCOp
— Trevor Reaske (@TrevorReaske) September 28, 2014
John Peterson (@JohnPetersonLSU): Follow him if for any other reason, to be completely entertained. Some may know of him as the man who won an individual NCAA Championship while at LSU. Others may remember him from his hole-in-one at the US Open in 2012. Recently, his Happy Gilmore tee shot in Asia earned him some attention.
He’s always, always going to make his opinions felt. Fresh for Tour players. And a must follow.
Hey @JManziel2, keep your head up. If the PGA tour monitored me on my off weeks, I'd be digging ditches.
— John Peterson (@JohnPetersonPGA) November 25, 2015
Obviously these are only a few of our favorites. In August of 2013, we wrote on some of the top professional golf Twitter accounts in the game. There are so many more we love following and if we didn’t mention you here, it doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate what you do (except for the ones who we don’t appreciate).
Golf’s supposed to be fun, guys. Laugh from time to time.