Now that it’s after Labor Day, I’ve put my white suits away and the eyes of golf turns to…the US Open because 2020. It’ll be weird with no fans, but it’s still a National Open.
I’m very late to this, but last fall I discovered the No Laying Up guys were more than just being funny on Twitter and the hosts of one of the better (if not the best) golf podcast. I found their YouTube channel, and as they say, that was that. They have a bunch of content on their channel, but the best of the bunch are their Tourist Sauce travelogues and their ‘Strapped’ travel series geared towards golf on a budget in areas that aren’t always in those obvious areas you look at for a golf vacation.
The concept of ‘Strapped’ (for those who haven’t watched) is that two of the guys (Randy and Neil) have to play three rounds and spend two nights in a city for $500 (not counting airfare and a rental car) or less. As great as it would be to have the means to do some of the locations they’ve done in their ‘Tourist Sauce‘ series (Scotland, Ireland, Australia/New Zealand, Carolinas, California), ‘Strapped’ is much more budget-friendly and approachable. The areas that they’ve done ‘Strapped’ episodes in include the following:
-Northeast US (during the fall)
Not exactly the usual golf-centric destinations, but there’s a reminder in each episode that the people who love this game aren’t always your private club types. Watching each episode, you get the sense (intentionally or not) that they aren’t the stars, but rather, it’s the people. The local pro at Forest Park and KVV in Baltimore being but one example. In fact, as I’ve long argued, the soul of the game remains the people who change their shoes in the parking lot. The Push Cart Mafia types, the folks who play a $2.00 Nassau, and tons of other regular folks (like me) who just hope for one more round with a breeze in our back on a sunny day. People that make the game what it is, even if professional golf went away. There would still be people at the grass roots level doing good work every day.
I found the ‘Strapped’ Baltimore episodes on YouTube around Christmas, and it was a revelation. At first I was angry because this was the kind of production I wanted to do but don’t have the ability to do, yet it was the kind of deep dive I wanted to be able to do when I started this website, and these guys just drank my milkshake AND my bourbon. Then I became blown away at how talented they are at doing these shows. And they’re decent guys (I probably relate to Randy (the taller of the two) the most). I’ve linked to all three episodes with the briefest of explanations (no spoilers). One last thing; their use of drone video is outstanding. The content belongs to No Laying Up. If I have one critique, it’s that they stop using Airbnb.
Part One: They fly into Baltimore, hit Lexington Market for crab cakes, and play at Forest Park (one of five city courses). The people who work at Forest Park are all aces in my book.
Part Two: They play at Rocky Point (Baltimore County course right on the Chesapeake Bay) with ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenberg (who lives in Baltimore), talk about The Wire, eat steamed crabs and drink Natty Boh (think Old Style in Chicago or Iron City in Pittsburgh) at KVV’s house with some Berger Cookies for dessert. Rocky Point is everything public golf should be. Haven’t played it in several years but it’s very much on my ‘must go play’ list to do a proper review.
Part Three: They play at Greystone (part of Baltimore County golf and used to be on Golfweek’s ‘Best You Can Play’ list) with Kevin Van Valkenberg, talk about The Wire some more (if you haven’t seen it and you have HBO…go do that right now) then go for barbecue pork sandwiches. You can read my review of Greystone here. I’m a bit surprised that they didn’t do the pit beef thing at Chaps (where every travel host seems to end up) or any of the other pit beef stands (note- pit beef is a VERY Baltimore thing; it doesn’t exist in MoCo, PG or Frederick counties). Nothing against Chaps but Pioneer Pit Beef in Catonsville is the official pit beef stand for SGIC Enterprises. It’s where the elite meet to eat.
No Laying Up’s website is here, and they have merchandise for sale and a fairly active online community (I’m part of it although I’m not that active lately for several reasons that aren’t important). They have crowd-sourced suggestions on additional episodes. If they’re asking, Detroit, Atlanta and my hometown of Toronto would all be fantastic options. If you have Stadium on your cable system they’ve been running some of their content.