In July, after more than 300 episodes of a weekly podcast that featured topical discussion and interviews with golf personalities, Golf Digest launched Local Knowledge, a bi-weekly, deep-dive podcast that more closely aligned with our storytelling history.
The idea for the new venture was simple: There are enough golf podcasts that seize on the golf story of the moment—we wanted to tell golf stories that could be explored in depth and that could hold up over time. The shift has proven to be a hit with audiences, with not only an increase in downloads and subscribers, but in seeing that most people are listening to episodes in their entirety (which, we were told by our friends at Apple, is particularly important).
In our first season, we explored stories around money and race, about the intricacies of golf culture and around misunderstood moments and characters in the game’s history. There isn’t an episode of Local Knowledge that we’re not immensely proud of, but these five were the most popular.
5. The bootstrapping life of an LPGA Tour player
It’s fair to assume if you’re in the top 100 in the world at your profession, you might not be scrambling to pay the bills. But for successful female golfers, the expense of traveling the world to play golf is met with only a fraction of the tournament purses and sponsorship opportunities that PGA Tour stars enjoy. As our Keely Levins reported, however, that harsh financial reality comes with a surprising upside: The best female players are arguably more driven to win than their male counterparts.
4. The near demise of Augusta National
We think of Augusta National Golf Club as golf’s most powerful address, and the Masters as the game’s best-run, most beloved tournament. Yet a closer look at the club’s precarious beginnings shows how close Augusta National and the Masters came to fizzling out altogether. As Alex Myers described, the iconic event we revere today was first just a means to an end to keep a struggling club afloat.
3. The Golf Savant: The life and career of Moe Norman
Many believe Moe Norman to be the greatest ball-striker who ever lived, but his unique nature—what would now likely be classified as autism—prevented him from greater success. In this episode, Myers talked to people who knew and studied the late golfer and saw firsthand what set him apart. We ponder the level of success Norman might have enjoyed had he been met with greater acceptance.
2. Funny Money On Tour: The lucrative life of a PGA Tour golfer
At the other end of the spectrum from the LPGA Tour is the men’s tour. In September, the FedEx Cup awarded another $15 million first prize while scores of golfers who have never won a PGA Tour event have still made more money than Jack Nicklaus earned in his career. In this episode, Daniel Rapaport revisited the series of events that made pro golf such a lucrative business and explores whether it can continue.
1. The dirty secrets of sandbaggers
On the short list of the most despised people in golf, sandbaggers rank near the top. What draws some golfers to such deceptive extremes? And how exactly do they do it? In our most popular episode of the year, Rapaport examined the art of sandbagging, the various forms it takes and debates if the practice ranks closer to clever gamesmanship or outright cheating.
Golf Digest also launched a weekly betting podcast, Be Right, devoted to breaking down each week’s PGA Tour (and other tour) events. Our hosts Stephen Hennessey, Christopher Powers and Alex Myers are joined by an industry expert each week to help analyze the best bets and ideal DFS (daily fantasy sports) plays. Search BE RIGHT wherever you get your podcasts to subscribe—or click below!