Tuesday, June 19, 2018
The New Generation of Golf Magazines
There is a revolution going on right now in the golf industry. No it is not the "play 9" initiative or the Loop at Forest Dunes or even whatever the hell PXG is doing to its clubs and charging thrice the price.
The revolution is in golf magazines, you know those ones that you ignore in your dentist's office or halfheartedly look through when they mysteriously get mailed to you after you made a purchase at an online golf retailer? Yea those ones (looking at you Golf Digest and Golf).
The new breed isn't focused on swing tips or what is going on in the PGA Tour. Instead, all of these magazines are seeking to expand your global view of golf courses and the architecture related thereto and immersing you in a golf culture. Many of these new magazines are the new coffee table books so let's dive in and see what is new out there.
The Golfer's Journal
This is the big dog on the street having been founded by Brendon Thomas of The Surfer's Journal with DJ Piehowski as a contributing editor (one of the "it" guys of the emerging online content creators in the golf world). This magazine is sponsored by the hippest names in golf at the moment (Linksoul, Scotty Cameron, G/Fore, etc.) and while there are ads, they are kept to a minimum (and thankfully no ads for any wedges "guaranteed" to get you out of bunkers).
The elements that makes The Surfer's Journal such a joy to read are here in this magazine as well. Awesome photos of golf whether near or in far flung places? Check. Interesting articles about the golf subculture that you may or may not have heard of? Check. Different takes on well worn subjects (like a recent article about the artist behind the book about Ben Hogan's grip)? Check.
If you want the complete package of interesting articles, great photos in a well thought-out layout in the new wave of golf magazines, The Golfer's Journal is it (it even has its own podcast which I highly recommend you checking out). That being said, several of their articles feel like rehashes of well tread topics online (their ode to Sweetens Cove, while great and in-depth I felt has already been covered multiple times by the Fried Egg and others). They are trying to break out of that mold somewhat now with more challenging articles like this month's article about race, art and golf. As the big dog finds a more secure footing, I am really interested to see how far they can push into new and interesting content.
For more info on TGJ, check out this link! https://www.golfersjournal.com/
If you ever dream of playing golf around the world (or have the bank account in order to fund such adventures) then Caddie is for you. Caddie magazine is simple yet elegant with no ads and only being published twice a year. Its focus is on the beauty of golf all over the world.
Published out of Australia, Caddie may not have a huge imprint in America or Europe but if you want to see pictures of golf in Mongolia, the French Alps, Ireland or heck even Wisconsin, then this is the magazine for you. The photos are outrageously good. The stories are interesting (including a great one about halfway houses) but the true focus is on the photos and immersing you in an experience of a golf place. I am sure if Caddie could do a smell-o-vision it would.
The only negative of Caddie is that it just doesn't have the breadth of storytelling that TGJ has and you won't be getting the "state of the game" features that other magazines. Their focus is narrow and niche but they just happen to do those things better than any other golf publication out there. For me, as a golf vagabond who is looking to play golf courses all over the world, this magazine speaks to my soul and I am an avid subscriber.
For more info on Caddie, check out this link! http://www.caddiemag.com/
McKellar takes a completely different tack than the other magazines above by eschewing the emphasis on photos or mood and instead offers thoughtful meditations on many golf topics. Do you want essays about trees, or LACC's place in the game or a myriad of other golf-related topics, big or small? McKellar will bring you there.
The magazine's title is an ode to the first golf nut (a Scotsman who played every day except Sundays when it was banned by the church) and that mania that many of us feel for golf comes across in topic after topic in this small but mighty magazine.
The only current option is to subscribe to issue one of the magazine and I wonder how many issues they will do as while golf has a rich history and an uncertain future, it may be difficult to sustain such a large volume of interesting essays covering a wide range of topics. That being said, if there is an issue two, sign me up! Such an interesting concept for a golf magazine, I can't wait to see what they come out with next.
For more info on McKellar, check out this link! https://www.mckellarmagazine.com/
What golf magazines do you read? Are there any new ones coming out that everyone should know? Let me know in the comments!