Much as the outside world might define the golf world narrowly, we know it to cover a fairly broad spectrum. Golf Digest’s two podcast offerings speak to this better than anything. Our narrative podcast, Local Knowledge, applies a magazine sensibility to a half-hour audio documentary format, with subject matter as varied and nuanced as the golf distance debate, the fledgling golf NFT market, and the misunderstood role “selfishness” plays for professional golfers. Meanwhile, The Loop is a lively, irreverent reminder that golf needs to lighten up, with hosts Alex Myers, Chris Powers and Steve Hennessey, and their assorted guests diving into a series of breathless debates about pro golf, their own games, and whatever else they can insult each other with over the course of an episode.
Like golf itself, the two podcasts range from thought-provoking and uplifting to refreshingly absurd. Here were some of our favorites from 2022:
A crash course overhaul that actually worked
Can a 40-year-old golfer really overhaul his golf game in just 12 weeks? That’s what Golf Digest set out to do. Alex Myers embarked on an intense program overseen by experts to address every element of his sagging game—from his swing, to his body, to his mind—to see what type of change was possible. Myers takes listeners through the process, the staggering results, and even how this sort of program could lead to a breakthrough of your own.
Does a golfer need to be selfish to be great?
Every time elite professional golfers are asked to come together in a team format, it comes with the awkward adjustment of needing to think about more than themselves. What’s often overlooked is how much golf requires an inordinate amount of self-interest. From how golfers practice, to the time they spend away from home, to even their choice to pursue an individual over a team sport, Ryan explained why even the best-intentioned golfers need to be self absorbed to succeed.
The sordid world of cheaters
There is no worse tag in golf than that of a cheater. In a game that prides itself on honor and self-policing, the players who betray that trust even once struggle to restore their reputation. In the aftermath of an incident in a qualifier tournament, Myers looked at the particulars of the case, but also the wider world of cheating in golf—how often it happens, why it happens, and why it’s so counter to golf’s core principles.
How far is too far? Unpacking the distance debate
Driving distances at the elite level have been creeping up for decades, and not far behind have been cries for golf’s governing bodies to intervene. But not everyone believes distance is really a problem, and even among those who do, there remains the complicated matter of what to do about it. Do you roll back the ball? The driver? Should they consider different rules for pros than for amateurs? In this episode, Levins consulted with Golf Digest equipment editor Mike Stachura to tackle golf’s most complicated issue, explaining how we got here, and what might be on the horizon.
The tortured road to breaking 80
For most golfers out there, the scores we shoot have little tangible significance. We maintain a handicap, maybe play for a few bucks, but otherwise, no one really cares but us. And yet for many golfers, the difference between 80 and 79 is a landmark milestone. In this episode, Ryan and I discussed our respective quests to break 80. We consulted with pros, sports psychologists, and even some of the golfers we play with, to understand what’s been holding us back, what we need to make it happen, and what it will signify to us if it does.
Danny Woodhead on a barefoot Bill Belichick, testing the newest golf clubs and why he’s unimpressed by Tom Brady
Danny Woodhead went through the Golf Digest Hot List club testing gauntlet this fall, so he joined us after we spent a few days with him in Arizona to discuss his love of golf clubs, how he hopes to achieve some lofty goals in the game (yes, possibly qualifying for the Masters)—and he also told some A-plus Bill Belichick stories.
The golf course that made CC Sabathia just say ‘F— it.’
Many former athletes become huge golfers in retirement, and pitching legend CC Sabathia is as passionate about the game as any. CC told us some great stories about playing Michael Jordan’s Grove XXIII golf course—and what it was like trying to navigate Pine Valley.
World Series champ Derek Lowe on beating Annika Sorenstam and his MLB playoffs preview
The two-time All-Star and World Series champ joined the podcast to talk about how he’s become one of the top golfers on the celebrity circuit, his stunning win over legendary LPGA pro Annika Sorenstam and why analytics have possibly gone a little too far (in golf and baseball).
Emmitt Smith shares a classic Payne Stewart story from the Bob Hope Classic
It will be tough to top Emmitt Smith’s story about playing with Payne Stewart in the Bob Hope Classic pro-am as one of our favorite podcast moments of any year. The conversation with the former Dallas Cowboys star is a must-listen for any golfer who loves the NFL.
‘The PIP is horses—’: Pat Perez joins us for wide-ranging interview
Our first guest of 2022 ended up having a very interesting year to say the least. Agree with him or not, Perez has been around the PGA Tour for decades, so this deep dive into some of the most fascinating topics in golf with one of golf’s most vocal players was revealing.