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I Fixed Golf Channel. You’re Welcome

Hey Everybody! It’s New and Improved!

With the news that Golf Channel has closed their Orlando studios and relocated in Stamford, CT (just outside of New York) along with the rest of NBC’s sports programming, it’s time to take a deep dive on how to keep Golf Channel relevant in 2021 and beyond.  I had extended family call Stamford home (they’ve since passed), and by all accounts it’s a lovely town (haven’t been back in several years).

As with most things, it took a notepad, two bourbons, and an open mind.  These changes don’t require significant investment, and will provide greater depth of coverage.

Bringing Shane Bacon on board to host ‘Golf Today’ (replacing ‘Morning Drive’) is a great first step that has been universally praised (and rightly so).  Shane was easily the best part of FOX’s USGA coverage.  It helps that nearly everyone who’s met him has said he’s a great guy.  He will also be on-site at major events as part of their ‘Life From’ coverage.

However, there are additional changes that are needed.  These changes are about adapting and trying to stay ahead of the curve.  The goal should be to continue to engage the core audience but also grow their viewership.  These changes reflect what I think is an expansion on Arnold Palmer’s vision for the network, while embracing the future of television.

  1. Addition of a rules expert at all PGA/LPGA Tour event coverage.  Not just during the majors but every week; the rules person can work out of their studios in Stamford.  Think how FOX and CBS each have a rules expert for their NFL and college football coverage who works from their studio.   While they’re at it, rules officials at tournaments should be wearing wireless mics so that viewers can easily hear what’s being said.  Nothing on this side of the Atlantic will match the master of what this can look like (seriously, Nigel is a cult figure); Slugger White wishes he were Nigel Owens.
  2. Addition of a weekly program devoted to NCAA golf coverage.  If they’re going to be serious about showing the NCAA championships and a few random tournaments, start here.   A weekly 60-minute show that has tournament highlight clips, previews of upcoming events and rankings isn’t a huge ask.  This can and should help them naturally build to their NCAA tournament coverage in April and May (you already have dedicated networks for the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and PAC-12 so it’s just down to assembling clips).
  3. CNBC has to become their default ‘overflow’ option on weekends (I get not wanting to use it during the week when the financial markets are open).  I like ‘Shark Tank’ and ‘Undercover Boss’ reruns and I’m sure others do as well, but there’s no reason to not use CNBC as the ‘overflow’ option.  It has good market penetration and won’t be a hard-to-find channel for viewers.
  4. Peacock (premium) should be used for next-generation stuff and/or alternate feeds.  If you want to try something new or out of the box, use Peacock for it (and go commercial free).  I’ve seen other platforms have a ‘fan commentary’ option (one example- having a European fan and a US fan doing commentary during the Ryder Cup).   In short, Peacock becomes their lab, which will enhance its value as a “plus” option.
  5. Make movie night great again.  Film interviews with the crews who did ‘Caddyshack’, ‘Bagger Vance’, ‘Greatest Game’, ‘Tin Cup’, etc.  And while you’re at it, obtain the rights for ‘Dead Solid Perfect’ (you can blur out the nude scene,- just don’t blur out the ice bucket…if you know, you know).  Even better- show the films uncut after hours.  Fine; you don’t want the kids to hear the swears or see partial nudity at 8:00 p.m., but overnight go wild (BTW, this doesn’t fall under FCC ‘decency’ standards laws because it’s cable).  ESPN Classic (when it existed) did this (talk to the filmmakers) for a ton of sports films.  MLB Network and NHL Network have done this for a few baseball and hockey films.  Go back and insert blurbs on these screenings (“this clip was filmed at Shady Pines CC in June 1981” or “this clip was shot after filming because Craig Stadler stained his pants and there wasn’t backup wardrobe”).
  6. Behind The Scenes at the Ryder Cup.  I’ve seen these ‘warts and all’ documentaries done, and when they’re done well they’re fantastic.  The Netflix series “Sunderland ‘Til I Die’, the HBO “24/7 Winter Classic (the first year especially when it was the Penguins-Capitals), the HBO “Hard Knocks” and the rugby union Lions Tour behind the scenes documentaries (on YouTube) are great stuff.  NBC/Golf Channel should insist on doing one.  Bring viewers into the team rooms, into the conference rooms where the team selection is debated, and follow players, captains and assistant captains around.
  7. Movies, Part II.  Run a contest for the next great golf film similar to HBO’s ‘Project Greenlight’.  Allow submissions, and pick one to option out for production.
  8. In addition to the “Inside The PGA Tour” weekly program, now that the PGA and LPGA Tours have a relationship, there should be an “Inside The LPGA Tour” program as well that gets aired and syndicated.  I’d bet Mike Whan would agree to this in about two seconds.
  9. More of a PGA/LPGA Tour issue, but they need to get the collective stick out of their butts when it comes to users posting clips on social media.  I understand ‘but muh broadcast rights’ but allowing a user to post 2-3 clips of 60-90 seconds per day on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/TikTok should be embraced.  If the Tours want to require their social media accounts are shared along with the video, then great (better social media engagement!).  But that clip of Bryson Dechambeau having a meltdown back in the summer was spectacular.  Like it or not this is how many people ‘consume’ content.
  10.  Find someone who can do long-form interviews.  I like David Feherty, but his act has gotten stale (not just his interviews).  The person who might be best suited is now at ESPN (Scott Van Pelt), so this may be one of those ‘develop someone internally’ deals.
  11. Nine-hole versions of ‘Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf’ with two-player mixed teams.  Three holes alternate shot, three holes shamble, three holes two-person best ball.  Something that can be consolidated into a 60-minute show.  Nine holes to cut down on time commitments and allow them to film content easier.
  12. In the spirit of ESPN8 (“the ocho”) have 1-2 days a year devoted to infomercials or their older programming (Kessler’s old interviews for starters).  They brought back old episodes of ‘The Big Break’ during the shutdown; go deeper and older.  Embrace history, but continue to look to the future.

Never stop innovating.  I know 2020 was rough on people for a host of reasons, but if you’re reading this, I sincerely hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday/festive season.  I think we’re all hoping 2021 is better for everyone.  All the best.




SGIC’s Rage-Fueled Guide to the 2020 Golf Digest Holiday Guide

Bourbon. It’s what’s for dinner in 2020.

Hello, friends.

Well, it’s December 2020 and as I’m writing this, the final round of the US Women’s Open is getting started.  Let that sink in for a moment.  A Monday finish for a tournament that was originally scheduled for June that was moved to December is a pretty good indicator of what 2020 was like.

I’m not wearing a mask (hey, another hot take) because I’m at home by myself (the dog doesn’t count) but I’ve got masks in my car and one in my golf bag.  Another item in the ‘things that became a thing in 2020’ column.  So golf was pretty messed up once COVID showed up.  They stopped the Players Championship after one round (and a Chainsmokers concert that became a super-spreader event), took a 3-month hiatus, canceled the Open championship, moved the USPGA from May to August, the US Open from June to September, and the Masters from April to November.  The Ryder Cup got canceled and rescheduled for 2021.  The women moved the ANA Inspiration from early April to September (Palm Springs in late summer…AWESOME) and the US Open from June to December.

Oh, and no fans at tournaments like nearly every other sport in the US.  On the one hand, last month’s Masters were devoid of the roars that make it so great.  On the other hand, Trevor and Brock weren’t screaming “MASHED POTATOES” every nine minutes after that second Michelob Ultra, so all in all it’s a win.

FOX bailed on the USGA package because they didn’t want to give up a Sunday of NFL games in September, so welcome back NBC, Golf Channel and (sound of me vomiting) Peacock (NBC’s ‘let’s put all the shit you dirt eaters love on a premium streaming site that sucks ass).  Overall this is a win for golf fans especially since Shane Bacon has joined Golf Channel (he was the best thing on FOX by a mile).  I have to admit I’m looking forward to NBC putting the Super Bowl on Peacock in a couple years just out of sheer spite while NBC shows a dog show.  But if there’s one positive to the USGA package reverting back to NBC, it’s that we now get that Yanni song playing eighty bazillion times per day.

Jack Black is REALLY happy about the USGA package going back to NBC

However, despite all of the upheaval, there is one constant.  If it’s early December, it means Golf Digest put out another holiday gift guide, presumably because they had little else to do.  They also have a ‘for the golfer who has everything‘ version, which makes zero sense because if they had everything they wouldn’t need this sponsored crap.  But, we digress.  To make this easier on both of us, I’m not including pictures of the products.  You’re not buying any of this shit, and neither am I.  So let’s get started.


Price: $100

They say: This water-repellent jacket is engineered to adapt to changing temperatures to retain heat in the cold and release heat when the body needs to cool off. The bomber jacket design is on-trend and ultra-breathable for a comfortable fit either layered or as a simple shell.

SGIC says: To borrow from a popular saying, I think it’s time we just admit that Everything Under Armour Touches Dies.  You have college teams running from their sponsorship deals.  They tried and lost out on deals to outfit NHL and MLB teams as the official uniform supplier.  Their stock is in the toilet.  And they hitched their golf fortunes to Jordan Spieth, which looked genius in 2015 but now looks like a terrible idea.  This jacket looks perfect for suburban dads who don’t play golf.  Coming to a kids soccer game near you while dad makes sure everyone has gluten-free oranges for halftime.


Price: $280

They say: Home or away, these ultra-powerful headphones are a saving grace. The noise-cancelling technology is designed to adapt to the sound where you are, so the volume will turn up or down depending on the ambient sound sensed by the headphones. A built-in mic allows for hands-free phone calls, and touch functionality allows you to control the music. The headphones’ “quick attention mode” allows you to cover the right ear to turn down the music for a moment for quick interruptions or conversations. The battery life lasts up to 30 hours.

SGIC says: Every year they put at least one pair of overpriced headphones in their guide and I don’t know why.  You’re not wearing these on the golf course.  I guess they’re great to avoid hearing your kids yell and scream while you enjoy an Adderall smoothie for breakfast.  I’ve never seen someone play wearing these things.  I know this seems crazy, but you could actually engage your playing partners in friendly banter while playing.  Wearing these on a Zoom meeting just makes you look ridiculous.  It won’t hurt.


Price: $72

They say: The pack comes with one 740mL* bottle of Bulleit Bourbon Kentucky Straight Whiskey, one 375 mL bottle of Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey, and one 10 oz. Bulleit Branded YETI Rambler to regulate the temperature of your drink—either warm or cold.

SGIC says: The bottle of Bulleit is 750ml*, not 740ml and can be found for $25 at most liquor stores.  Do the math.  You’re getting hosed on this deal.  Having said that, Bulleit is actually decent bourbon for the price (if you’re asking, you can include Buffalo Trace as well).  I’m not advocating you use an adult sippy cup for day drinking, but if you’re going to day drink, go all in and use the giant size ones.  Drink responsibly, kids.


Price: $42

They say: This fun, leaf-covered water bottle offers a fun way to stay hydrated throughout the day. The hexagonal top is not only stylish, but it’s easier to open up. If green isn’t your color, the menswear brand has a handful of other color options with the same sophisticated silhouette.

SGIC says: I know that when I’m choosing to survive rather than die from lack of water, it had better be FUN.  Because drinking water should be FUN.  Which means I’ve been doing it all wrong my entire life!  I just drank water because I was thirsty but it was never FUN.  Seriously, $42 for a goddamn water bottle?  I can buy a dozen PROV1X’s for that right now.  Which, if you’re curious, might be a better option for someone who plays golf.  And more FUN.  Whose mouth is shaped like a hexagon?  Mine is oval, so’s yours.


Price: $219

They say: While not a golfer, Novak Djokovic’s Capsule Collection will certainly appeal to stylish golfers. The oval shape is flattering to almost any face, while a metal double bridge and acetate rim add a uniquely upscale look and feel. It’s a lightweight pair of shades that can be worn almost anywhere

SGIC says: $200+ for sunglasses that look like they’re from the Joe Biden aviators collection.  Best worn for when you want to throw a temper tantrum at the US Open and get defaulted after telling people COVID is fake and then getting it.  They look like the sunglasses Guy Who Owns a Boat wears at the yacht club.  Ideally matched with a quarter zip sweater worn or tied over his popped collar polo shirt.  Get a 10% discount if your name is Todd.


Price: $45 and whatever shroud of dignity you had left.

They say: Get in the holiday spirit with this golf sweatshirt inspired by the ugly Christmas sweater trend. The super-soft cotton crewneck is warm but has a lightweight feel, making it easy to layer with. The festive design paired with the affordable price point make this a worthy gift for the golfer on your list—even if that golfer is you.

SGIC says: To quote Al Czervik, this looks like the kind of sweater that should come with a free bowl of soup (to spill on this abomination), or at the very least some iron covers and maybe a ball retriever.   Dark green with FORE written in giant letters on the chest.  Gimme two of these (one to shit on, the other to cover it up with).  I mean, if you wear this do people think you’re special in the ‘good for you, you cut your meat’ kind of way?  And can we please pump the brakes on ugly sweaters?  It’s been five-plus years for this fad.  Oh, and if you ever see me wearing this monstrosity, you can safely assume I’ve been concussed and/or taken hostage.


Price: $45

They say: Even if you’re not a shoe bag kind of golfer, this bag from True Linkswear will come in handy. In addition to a place to put your golf shoes, it has a valuables pouch, tablet sleeve and organized compartments inside the water-resistant zip bag. For organized and disheveled golfers alike, it’s an effective way to keep everything you need tidy and together.

SGIC says: This isn’t terrible.  I keep my golf shoes in a cinch sack (the kind with the straps so you can wear it like a backpack) and I’m happy with my cinch sack.  But for someone else, this isn’t a bad gift option.  Less than $50, and it’s useful.  Unlike other options they’ve ‘selected’.  Having said that, a tablet sleeve?  Really?  Who takes their iPad with them when they play?


Price: $399

They say: Whether providing the tunes on the course or entertaining at home, this powerful Bluetooth speaker is virtually indestructible—and it sounds great. The shock-resistant case will survive any drops or bumps, and it’s built to survive extreme temperatures and any inclement weather. The charging base is simple to connect to and powers the speaker as it’s in use. It’s a strong gift idea for the golfer who values quality-sounding music—and also needs a portable speaker built with some forgiving qualities.

SGIC says: $400 for a speaker?  We’re in a full-blown economic crisis but yeah, the average golfer is throwing down four c-notes on a speaker.  You could buy a new disco stick (i.e. driver), or this thing.  I bought She Who Is Really In Charge a Bluetooth speaker for $120 a few years ago, and it gets a heavy workout when we’re out on the deck enjoying cocktails with the dog (and it has fantastic sound).  Of course, the assholes who buy this are taking it with them on the course, because they’re the exact people who want to share their awful taste in music with everyone else.


Price: $155

They say: Give the whisky drinker in your life something new to try with this limited-production French malt. For a personalized touch you can add custom engraving for $40 to make this gift a true memento.

SGIC says: So for $195 you can get the boss a bottle of French whisky that says “eat shit you rotten bastard” on it (but engraved).  Or, spend $10 on a small bottle (otherwise known as a Mickey) of Olde Oscelot bourbon with a taped sticky note that says “eat shit” on it.  I know where I come down on this.  The French make fantastic wine, great champagne and I’d trust their cognac, but not sure about whisky.  Just saying.  I could give you dozens of better whisky options than this.


Price: $45

They say: A slam ball is a simple-yet-dynamic add to any home gym setup. It’s helpful for working on explosive power or mixing up ab routines without requiring too much space. A thoughtful gift for the fitness-minded golfer on your list, or the golfer who needs a less destructive way to relieve tension at the end of the round.

SGIC says: Perfect for when you go full Bryson Dechambeau and commit to his ridiculous eating and training habits.  When that first bout of roid rage hits, you can throw this through a wall and then start crying.  Lovely.  Fact: 90% of people who buy this thing will never actually use it.  If you want one, wait another year and start hitting yard sales.  Five bucks cash money.


Price: $65

They say: Handmade to order, these pouches are great for holding the little things on the course—tees, ball markers, a golf ball or two—but they’re are also an excellent place to store a facemask between wears. The regal green herringbone tweed bag is lined with fleece and pulls closed with leather cut cords. It’s also customizable to add initials, a name or a small icon.

SGIC says: You know what is even better is a Crown Royal bag.  It’s the official accessory pouch of SGIC Amalgamated Industries.  You can find one of these for around $25-$30, and you have the added bonus of a bottle of good utility whiskey.  It even comes in a box for easy gift wrapping.  What’s not to love?  A tumbler of Crown and Coke is one of my go-to drinking options.   No, I’m not an alcoholic because I don’t need to attend meetings.  I just drink.  A Crown Royal pouch will hold a sleeve of balls and enough tees, divot repair tools, ball-markers and whatever else you use.  And it’s purple, which means it’s classy.

$30 for the best accessory bag there is. With a bottle of Crown Royal included.


Price: $98

They say: For all the golfers** who discovered and now swear by the Lululemon ABC Pant ($128), this long sleeve polo is a great next step into the Lululemon golf apparel collection. It’s made with anti-stink technology and sweat-wicking fabric to keep things fresh, has enough stretch for activity without losing its shape and comes in five easy-to-match-with color options.

SGIC says: **does not include anyone who can’t fit into their limited size range so suck rocks if you’re not rail-thin.  I have a raft of issues with this gong show of a company.  Least of which, they don’t know shit about golf and how golf clothing can and should function.  Their photo shoots that purport to be people playing golf are hilariously bad.  This shirt doesn’t appear to be able to be tucked in, and the sleeves look terrible.  Again- does anyone at this goat rodeo company actually play golf?


Price: $128

They say: Set the exact temperature you want for your coffee in 10 minutes with this smart mug. A rechargeable battery pops into the bottom of the leak-resistant travel mug, so your coffee will never get too cold on the course or on the go.

SGIC says:  If I can’t drink my coffee at 125.43 degrees Fahrenheit then someone’s hearing about it.  The people at 7-11 and Royal Farms better be reading this.  Last time at Royal Farms my coffee was over 130 degrees.  I WANNA SPEAK TO THE MANAGER.  Maybe if you actually…oh, I don’t know…DRANK YOUR COFFEE this wouldn’t be an issue.  Save $100 and buy a Yeti tumbler.  It maintains the temperature pretty well.  I use one (they don’t pay me, I bought mine like everyone else).


Price: $175

They say: This hand-stitched needlepoint belt is vintage, luxe and a great gift for golfers who appreciate a fine attention to detail. Available in green, blue or gray, the belt is finished with a solid brass buckle and Italian leather lining.

SGIC says: When Judge Smails invites you to drop by the yacht club, this is the belt you need.  It’s the belt Spalding uses to tie off his arm to shoot heroin, so you know that’s quality.  It says “trust fund kid” in the most obnoxious way.  Perfect for summer soirees at your dad’s place in the Hamptons while listening to Yacht Rock ironically.  Seriously, $175 for a goddamn belt?  That, or showing up with not one but TWO bottles of Kim Crawford rose.  Their commercials are laughable.  They sell what others call ‘cougar juice’ that no serious wine drinker would be caught dead anywhere near them.  Walking out of your local bodega in yoga pants holding up a bottle of this swill like you discovered oxygen is hilarious.


Price: $40

They say: An ultra-versatile basic, this Nike women’s top has all the performance elements she needs for golf—moisture management, UVA sun protection and a stretch fabric—with a soft cotton feel and relaxed fit that’ll go with everything.

SGIC says: I’m not sure how or why, but when did women’s golf shirts become collar-less?  Otherwise, this is not bad.  Decent price point, not gaudy.  Most of the women I know who play (most of whom can beat your ass any day they feel like it so don’t act like you’re better than them- you’re not) prefer collared shirts, but other than that I can’t really make fun of it.  It’s almost reasonable.


Price: $190

They say: You can’t go wrong with a classic stand bag like this one from Jones Sports Co. The single strap golf bag is made with a durable nylon material, has eight pockets and weighs just five pounds. The deep green colorway is a refreshing change from the traditional black and gray golf bags we see all too often.

SGIC says: You can buy better, lighter and cheaper.  Sun Mountain and Ping make fantastic bags and have a double strap for easy carrying if you’re not ready to join the Push Cart Mafia.  Hell, even my old Titleist carry bag is lighter than that and it’s 8 years old.  Five pounds really isn’t bragging.  It looks like the generic golf bag they use in print ads when they don’t want to have to edit out a manufacturer’s name.


Price: $65

They say: A cozy way to stay warm and add a little protection this season, these LinkSoul gaiters are made from the same ultra-soft material the brand uses to make its popular cloud T-shirts. While gaiters are not recommended by the CDC as a facemask, it’s great to wear over an approved mask or provide coverage if you’re in a pinch.

SGIC says: Gaiters in a gift box are a nice ‘2020 in a box’ option even if they don’t offer much in terms of protection.  They’re not bad when it’s cooler, however.


Price: $67

They say: This Jameson Cold Brew gift set is the perfect antidote to everything 2020 has thrown our way. Tasty on the rocks or in a cocktail this Irish Whiskey is infused with coffee flavors that might change your coffee order for good. It also comes with candies inspired by classic holiday cocktails to add a sweet-yet-boozy touch to gift giving this year.

SGIC says: I’m going to run for President in 2024 solely on an agenda of eliminating this kind of shit.  A bottle of Jameson is $25 and not for anything, but it’s great utility Irish whiskey (I say this from experience; most utility whiskeys like Jameson, Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker Black Label and Dewar’s White Label are fine options).  I don’t need or want coffee messing up my Jameson.  Best way to drink Jameson?  Pour some in a glass.  Add a few ice cubes.  Maybe a lime/lemon wedge.  That’s it.  If I see a place offering a Jameson Chocolate Martini I will show up with a flame thrower.  Stop it.  Quit trying to put things in whiskey.  We figured whiskey out centuries ago.  Basically, this is overpriced whiskey for people who don’t like whiskey.  So you’re paying $40 for mediocre coffee.  Buy a box of ProV1’s and a bottle of Jameson for what this runs.


Price: $40

They say: The extremely affordable price point of this speaker ($40) makes it an easy last minute gift for golfers this holiday season. Available in black or white, the mini golf speaker attaches to a golf bag and delivers quality sound. It’s also got a built-in ball marker and bottle opener to make sure you have everything you need to have a good time on the course.

SGIC says: Perfect for saying to the people in your group “I don’t care about pace of play; I’m out here to take forever to play while listening to John Tesh or Creed” which is really something.  At least it’s not overpriced.


Price: $130

They say: Store 12 cans in this padded cooler backpack to make sure you never run out of drinks. The synthetic leather bag is a stylish-yet-subtle way to BYOB comfortably.

SGIC says:  For $130 it should come with someone carrying it around.  Great, now BIG COOLER is trying to gouge people along with seemingly every other industry.  If you’re a Costco member they sell a really nice cooler bag for $10 and it has a shoulder strap.  It’s not synthetic leather, but put the $120 in your pocket and call it a win.  For $120 you can fill that bad boy with some locally-made beer.  Winning!


Price: $160

They say: or those chilly-but-not-freezing rounds, this insulated shirt-jacket should do the trick. It’s a water-repellent jacket that’s lightweight and breathable with insulated material that stays warm even when wet. The versatile collar creates a business-casual look when folded down or can provide additional warmth when turned up and secured with the button closure.

SGIC says:  It looks like a puffer vest and the 1977 vinyl jacket got married and spawned in the back of a 1975 AMC Pacer.  This was the byproduct.  It’s brown.  Who exactly thought we needed to see this thing in shit brown?  It’s ugly.  If it had the Members Only shoulder epaulets it would at least have the cheesy thing going.  It doesn’t, so you’re paying $160 for a butt-ugly jacket.  One-way plane ticket to North Korea not included.


Price: $36

They say: These briefs featuring a snowman playing golf were too fun not to mention. The whimsical pattern is festive without going overboard, and the cool cotton fabric is ultra comfortable. It’s a go-to pair of briefs with a stay-put waistband that guys will appreciate.

SGIC says: We’ve had 300,000 people die of COVID, but hey- my underpants are fun (but not ‘too’ fun) so we’re all good!  I’ve been wearing underpants most of my life, and I’ve never had an issue with waistband technology.  I put them on and generally, they tend to stay on all by themselves.  I achieve this by purchasing the right size, but that’s just me.  But for $36 I’m glad they stay put.  Can we talk about their commercials?  In what universe to people just parade around the house in their underpants and nothing else?  Is there some kind of secret society that gets together and just hangs around in their underpants like it’s not a big deal?


Price: $70

They say: Foam rollers are an excellent tool for golfers to warm up or cool down muscles, but they tend to be a little too bulky to carry around. Brazyn aims to make foam rollers a little more portable with this collapsible tool. Fully expanded, the roller is 5.5 inches in diameter but will collapse flat to about two inches thick.

SGIC says:  Finally, we’ve figured out foam roller technology.  Let me wipe that giant collection of flop sweat off my forehead and dance around in my underpants as we celebrate this monumental achievement.  I’ve never seen someone at a golf course use a foam roller, and I’ve seen some incredibly weird shit.  Is this one of those private club things, like the blue water that’s used to clean combs and stuff in the men’s locker room?  If you’re using a foam roller at home, is this ‘really’ a problem that you’d need a $70 foam roller?


Price: $40

They say: Whether the clubhouse is closed or you just need to freshen up on the go, this set from Jack Black is ultra-useful to have on hand. The All-Over Spray and Wipes will leave you feeling clean and hydrated without a shower. And when you finally find one, the All-Over wash can be used on the hair, face or body to provide deep clean without stripping essential moisture.

SGIC says:  $40 for goddamn wipes and some body wash.  Does the body wash come in a ramekin?  Can I get this personalized as a gift for another $20?  If you REALLY cared, wouldn’t you just jump in the pond like Carl Spackler and wash up?  Natural spring would be good for you, Carl.  Doesn’t everyone work from home now?  Just go home and take a shower like an adult (and take a beer with you).  Seriously, I can’t begin to properly extol the virtues of a Shower Beer.  It doesn’t have to be some fancy IPA.  It actually works best if it’s shitty beer.  Open the beer, get the water going, jump in, and drink up.  It feels so wrong, but it’s so right.  Trust me.


Price: $118

They say: A fan favorite on or off the course, these comfortable joggers are made with breathable, sweat-wicking fabrics, an athletic four-way stretch and an upscale design.

SGIC says: $118 for sweatpants.  SWEATPANTS.  Not trousers, not slacks, not a pair of dark jeans.  SWEATPANTS.  Dropping over $115 on pants that say “you’ve given up all hope” should be a warning sign.  Never mind that 90% of people who will spend $118 on these will never jog or do yoga.  But they’ll watch 10 hours of Netflix in one setting.  It’s like Bunny Calvin from ‘The Wire’ correctly describing the brown paper bag; the perfect vessel for hiding your beer so you can drink in public.  It’s the Great Compromise.


Price: $22

They say: This minimalist beanie is cozy and stylish. Available in a ton of colors, the simple Palm logo will remind you of warmer days to come.

SGIC says: They’re toques, not beanies.  A beanie should have propellers on it.  A toque (or ski hat) is what you wear during the cold weather.  For just over 20 bucks this isn’t bad.  A toque is a component of playing in the winter months.  Get a good one.  A toque.


Price: “Starts” at $108

They say: Golf and tequila fans will love this brand co-founded by Abraham Ancer. The Anejo is aged for 18 months in American oak bourbon barrels and has an ultra-smooth finish with hints of maple, caramel and cinnamon.

SGIC says:  $108 (and up) for tequila made by a guy with as many PGA Tour wins as I have?  And it’s twice as much as Patron (which is really good)?  Sign me up.  This celebrity-name-brand alcohol racket is really something.  It’s one thing when it’s an actual A-list celebrity (see George Clooney and his Casamigos brand tequila), but a guy who’s never won on the PGA Tour is hawking a 3-figure bottle of tequila takes some serious cojones.  I mean, if Phil wants to roll out Tequila For Wellness, then have at it.  I’m honestly surprised Nicklaus or Norman haven’t done this yet.  Not for anything, but if you’re a Costco member, their Silver ‘Kirkland’ tequila is $20 for a huge bottle, and for $20 it’s a fantastic value and good drinking tequila.


Price: $88

They say: Made in Italy, these sporty slides have a contoured foot bed that will provide relief post-round without sacrificing support. Available in a variety of colors ranging from bright oranges to a luxe black and gold, the Boss logo is a stylish statement-maker to fit any style.

SGIC says:  Made in Italy “and” they’re sporty.  Not enough footwear is sporty.  More things should be described as being sporty.  That gaping head wound you just got…sporty!  The liver damage…sporty!  That snap-hook on 14…sporty!  Never mind comfortable (which these won’t be unless you have relatively narrow feet).  Never mind adjustable (they’re not).  These slides (otherwise known as shower shoes), go great with a $300 Supreme hoodie and those $120 sweatpants.  On the other hand, if Dustin Johnson was wearing these does he slip and fall on the stairs before his first round at Augusta a few years back?  I think not.


Price $65

They say: Non-shoulder seams allow for a roomy swing and the lightweight fabric is partially made with recycled polyester for a sustainable performance top that’s easy to pair with. This shirt also appeared in the newly released PGA TOUR 2K21 video game, but gamer or not, it’s a polo golfers will love.

SGIC says:  Comes in navy blue so you can pair with a pair of navy pants and join your Dustin Johnson cosplay group.


Price: $15

They say: A small-yet-thoughtful gift for your golf friends, these molds make golf-ball-shaped ice that will melt slowly to avoid watering down your drink. It’s a simple tool that will go a long way for those who appreciate savoring a good drink.

SGIC says: Is there any industry that doesn’t try to push its way into the Christmas buying season?  Now we’ve got Big Ice coming in hard and fast.  Golf-ball shaped ice?  This is ROUND.  Repeat.  Round.  It’s a ball of ice.  It’s one big giant ball rather than a few cubes, but we can’t have that, because Big Ice has to get a taste of the action.


Price $150

They say: These leather street-shoe-inspired golf shoes are more than just a stylish accessory. The ECCO Hydromax treatment is water-repellent, the high-tech grip system covers 800 traction angles, and the textile collar adds cushioning for all-day comfort.

SGIC says: Please, for the love of everything good, can someone please tell ECCO to start making their shoes in widths?  Seriously.  They make some of the best shoes you can buy…if you have an average width foot.  I don’t, so as much as I’d like to buy ECCO, I can’t.  I mean, I could spend a bunch of money to keep Big Ice and Big Sweatpant flushed with money, but when it comes to buying golf shoes I have 2-3 options at best.


Price: $160

They say: This pullover can be dressed up or down easy, and it’s made with Peruvian Pima Cotton, so the soft feel might be akin to your favorite sweatshirt. The four-button placket has horn buttons for a sophisticated finish to the on-trend striped top.

SGIC says:  Of course it’s named after Kyle.  Peruvian cotton, bitches!  None of that inferior cotton!  Somewhere, there’s a guy named Kyle Draddy who hasn’t worked a day in his life and never will courtesy of his trust fund.  Kyle has opinions about things.  Kyle is wearing this pullover, and having mastered pulling it over his head, he decrees that he is, in fact, the smartest Kyle in the history of Kyles.  Kyle belongs to daddy’s private club somewhere in the Hamptons and has been 86’d from over a dozen bars.  I think if you wear this sweater, you automatically are required to change your name to Kyle.  Or Todd.


This remains the gold standard.  I refuse to acknowledge that someone has covered this.  Enjoy your holidays.




No Laying Up-Strapped (Baltimore)

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)

-Southern California

-Peoria, IL

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.

A Modest FedEx Cup Proposal

Just imagine what’s possible.

Another PGA Tour season is almost done; after 11 months, a global pandemic, a cancellation of the Open Championship and moving every major around, we’re at the FedEx Cup Tour Championship.

The format last year that’s being carried over this year is that Dustin Johnson starts the tournament with a 10 shot lead over the guy who finishes 30th.  If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go shake my head and pretend that this isn’t really the case.  Of all of the hair-brained ideas to come from professional golf, this might be the dumbest.  Why is it that sports I love do the stupidest things on the earth (looking at you, Superleague and your “sure we’ll take free pizzas from a horrible chain as payment for sponsorship” galaxy brain idea)?

To put it as mildly as I can, this goes against everything sports are supposed to be about.  What next- give Usain Bolt a 10-meter head start because he’s the defending 100 meter champion?  Give the team with the best regular season a 7-point lead to start the Super Bowl?  The team with the most regular season points gets a 1-goal lead to start in every game of the Stanley Cup Final?  I mean, what the actual hell are we talking about?  What’s wrong with you people?

Don’t worry; your faithful scribe has a solution that would treat the FedEx Cup Tour Championship like a real championship; one that balances rewarding regular season performance and require a player to lift their game.  Reward regular season performance, and have a final one-day winner take all conclusion that a casual fan can understand.  Like any championship, the hard work is getting to that final.  So we’re going to start with the final round being it’s own entity.  Like the Super Bowl.  Simple enough?

The top 30 getting into the Tour Championship is a good number; there isn’t any need to play around with that.  I even like finishing on Labor Day weekend with the finale on Monday (when people are off work; ideally the Tour can push so that they ‘own’ Labor Day).  Ideally the Tour would look to have the final round on the West Coast for an east coast prime-time finish every other year (non-Ryder Cup years).  Courses on the West Coast?  Riviera is the obvious choice, but if Chambers Bay is in better shape that’s a second option.  I get using East Lake for Ryder Cup years (especially when the US has to fly to Europe as this will cut down on travel time).  While we’re at it, the Chicago area should have a permanent slot on the Tour.

The question becomes this- how do you reward season-long excellence while maintaining the integrity of the competition?  The same way other sports do it; by seeding and providing other advantages that maintain the integrity of the competition.

My Modest Proposal

So with that being said, let me explain how a five-round (Thursday-Monday) championship would work in a way that would provide a satisfying finale, reward year-round performance and give you a simple, easy-to-identify champion.  You start with the top 30 playing three rounds of stroke play; the top 16 get into the fourth round (if there’s a tie for 16th you have a playoff), and then you have one day of match play with the 16 going down to 8 with that final round being a one-and-done entity of itself.  In other words, getting to a championship and having one day to win or lose with everyone starting the final round at 0.

Under my Tour Championship Final proposal, the top seed gets the following advantages as a reward for his season-long excellence and being the top seed.

  1. He gets to pick his tee time for the first three rounds and who he plays with.  Maybe he likes to go out early.  Maybe he wants an early-late-late (he gets to pick).  Maybe he wants to take advantage of potential weather or play with someone he’s comfortable with.  Call it home field advantage.  He has to declare the day before each round so he can pick and choose and give himself the optimal time and opponent.  Not a bad reward.
  2. He’s guaranteed to get into the semi-final Sunday round of 16 so even if his game goes to pot during the first three qualifying rounds, he has that second chance (other playoff formats allow the top seeds a ‘double elimination’ of sorts).  There’s your tangible reward for regular season excellence; a second chance.  Those are two big carrots that don’t turn the competition into a farce but provide a tangible reward for that year-long excellence.

The round of sixteen are seeded based on their first three rounds (your top seed going in would be seeded based on his performance, but if he otherwise didn’t qualify he’d be seeded 16th).  Eight matches of match play.  Winners go to the Final.  Losers are done.  Sudden death playoffs if tied after 18 holes.  It’s something of a different strategy from stroke play, but designed to force players to think differently for one day.

The eight players who win their matches go to the Championship/Grand Final.  One round for everything.  Four twosomes; playing partners and order are drawn at random out of a hat.  Everything resets for the Championship or Grand Final round.  One round.  One day.  Low score (stroke play) is your Tour/FedEx Cup champion.  Tie?  Sudden-death playoff.  You now have a true Championship Final.  What you did before to get there matters not; it’s the player who’s the best on the day who wins.   Much like the Super Bowl, Final Four championship, and NBA/NHL/MLB Game 7’s.  It’s not what you did before, it’s what you do on the day.  Nobody starts the day having to sit on a lead or trying to come from behind.  One round.  Low score wins.  Much like other sports, you had to battle to get into the playoffs and continue to advance.  You finished in the top 15/16 of the field after three rounds and beat someone in a match play environment to get to the Championship Final.

The average sports fan couldn’t explain the FedEx Cup, nor could most golf fans.  The average sports fan can easily understand “one round, winner take all” events.  You’ve competed all year, and everything you did goes out the window.  No head start, no being able to play conservatively to protect a lead.  Under my proposal, winning the FedEx Cup Championship Final would also earn the winner a 10-year exemption (up from five), a lifetime exemption to the Players Championship, and a guaranteed spot in next year’s playoffs (the first round only).  These are all PGA Tour-controlled entities so you’re not having to ask the USGA or PGA of America to get involved.

Having eight players provides NBC or CBS plenty of coverage options so you aren’t just focused on one group and reduces the likelihood of not having any name players.  Oh, and no commercials for the last 90 minutes.

Hopefully the Tour decides to adopt this format and give fans a real Championship.

Adieu, FOX. It’s About Time

Not Coming To a Golf Tournament Near You

Late Sunday night the Associated Press reported that Fox was walking away from it’s 12 year USGA rights deal starting this year, with NBC/Golf Channel picking up the rights.  For viewers, this means that the US Open (which Fox was already advertising for this year’s event that was moved to September) will be on NBC.  It’s not clear who will pick up early-round coverage for Thursday and Fridays; Golf Channel would make a ton of sense, but they also have NBCSN as a viable alternative.

The USGA’s press release spells out the details.  Sort of.  Doesn’t really indicate how many hours will be on Golf Channel or NBC, but we digress.

I’ve been critical of Fox for a host of reasons.  I’m old enough to remember when they won US free-to-air rights for the NHL back in the mid 1990’s and gave viewers…glow pucks and animated characters.  I kid you not.  Who thought any of this made sense?

You “could” make the argument that the Fox Glowing Puck was a precursor to the ProTracer/Top-Tracer technology that should be as common as watching in HD.  I won’t.  Because the puck is black, and it’s on a white ice surface.  Not hard to follow if you have eyes.  Just watch where the players go.  Easy.

I was very critical of their 2015 and 2016 US Open coverage and deservedly so because it was terrible.  I don’t blame Fox as much as I do the USGA, who (based on multiple articles) seemed to want to go to Fox when the previous rights deal expired in 2014.  The USGA wanted this.  They wanted a broadcaster who had never covered the sport to cover the country’s national championship as their first broadcast.  It wasn’t as if Fox was covering the PGA Tour (or even a pro tour of some kind).

They brought in Joe Buck, who had never called golf before and never really improved (as I’ve said, if were doing 8-10 tournaments a year covering the PGA and/or LPGA Tour maybe it works better, but when he sees these players one week a year it’s always going to be problematic).  Greg Norman was their first analyst (smart, knows the game but couldn’t translate that into being that 18th hole analyst).  They flooded the air with people who had never worked together before on one of the two biggest viewing tournaments of the year.  They were unwilling to cover the controversy over Dustin Johnson’s ball moving in 2016 despite pros going after the USGA on social media(and were unwilling to call out the USGA’s incompetence in course setup in 2015, 2016 and 2018).  These are all self-inflicted wounds.

Sidebar: Joe Buck did several cameos on the IFC show “Brockmire” and he was outstanding and came off as a guy you’d totally want to hang out with.  If he brought that persona to his baseball and football coverage it would help a ton.  He was funny and he was able to throw a few good barbs out there.  If you’re looking for a show to binge-watch you could do worse.  Hank Azaria is hilarious.

Not to beat a dead horse, but Oakmont 2016 and Shinnecock 2018 should have been easy, but the USGA’s motto of “hold my beer while we fix that problem that didn’t exist” came into play.

Having said that, they did bring about some real change on the production side:

  1. The continuous leaderboard bug on weekend coverage or at the very least Sundays should become a permanent staple.  CBS and NBC have to make this part of their coverage on a weekly basis.
  2. Pro Tracer technology.  At first I wasn’t sure about this, but it works and doesn’t detract from the coverage.  Unlike hockey it doesn’t clutter the screen.  It adds to it.
  3. Drones.  I remember watching Fox’s initial coverage of the 2014 Franklin Templeton Shootout and being excited about the use of drones.  Full credit to the lads at No Laying Up who use drones extremely well.  Again, it very much adds to the viewing experience.
  4. Uninterrupted coverage during the last hour.  The Masters has long been the gold standard because they don’t clog up the viewing experience with an enema of commercials.  It’s a clean broadcast free of junk which serves the viewer well.

“If” I were NBC, here’s some things I’d do that would demonstrate a real understanding of how to take the good things that Fox did, and improve upon them.  Time to teach an old dog some new tricks.

  1. Use Mike Tirico as your studio host, and bring back Johnny Miller in some kind of a role for the US Open only.  He’s done this for horse racing and occasionally for their NHL coverage.
  2. Pro Tracer needs to be on every hole all four rounds.  Period.
  3. Use NBCSN for an alternate feed during weekend late day coverage.  They did this at the 2014 Ryder Cup.  Don’t need announcers.  Just show golf.  Doesn’t sound like this is the plan according to Jeremy Schilling.  If Peacock were to take this on then it could be a nice “add on” option.
  4. Adapt and use a leaderboard bug during the final round and leave it.
  5. Drones should be part of their overall coverage.  Follow the Fox blueprint on their usage.  The question everyone at NBC/Golf Channel should be asking is “how do we improve our coverage?” and ask this every day.

The only potential issue that I can see (from 2021 onward) is their Stanley Cup Final coverage running into the golf (especially for any west coast events, like in 2021 and 2023) which means that the Saturday/Sunday are going to be tricky options (even if you go to an afternoon start you have overtime as a potential issue).  Especially next year (2021 at Torrey Pines) if the NHL starts late and runs past the early June finish that they’ve had in 2018 and 2019 (finishing before June 10th) and/or if the NHL adds teams to their playoffs.

Coming Soon to Peacock (hopefully not)!

Overall I think this is a good move but we won’t know until September when it’s US Open time.





SGIC’s Guide To The Golf Digest Fathers Day Gift Guide

Ko’olau Golf Course. Not a bad place to be right now.

It’s June, which means that (hopefully) golf courses are open and operating where you live, summer is upon us (if you’re playing you should have bug spray AND sunscreen in your bag and they should be getting use- more on that later), and it also means that Father’s Day is soon upon us (it’s June 21st, which “should” have been the day of the final round of the US Open at Winged Foot).

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t spend money you don’t have on dad (confession: to the best of my knowledge I do not have any children…and while I love Linus he’s not shopping online for me…at least I hope so) this year to thank him and to celebrate his love of golf (if your father/grandfather doesn’t play that’s okay too).  (Un)fortunately, the people at Golf Digest have put together a “gift guide” for Father’s Day.

I’ll show you a few things and offer my own cheaper/better options on things any golfer that has kids would love.  These items haven’t been curated nor are they bespoke.  They’re nice ways to say Happy Fathers Day without going deep into debt.  Onward.

Seamus Sofa King Pure Set

Price: $64 (all prices in US dollars unless noted).

They Say: Seamus Golf stepped up in March to make masks for those in need. Initially shipping to frontline workers before opening up sales to the general public, the golf company has shipped over 15,000 masks. Masks can be purchased alone or in this set that includes a stainless steel ball marker and hand sanitizer locally distilled near Seamus HQ in Oregon.

SGIC says: $64 for a mask, hand sanitizer and a ball marker.  Read that back.  Are you shitting me?  Oh, but it’s locally distilled hand sanitizer! GTFO. Hand sanitizer should cost a buck or two except that Big Sanitizer is now taking over. You’re not using it to make a martini or a sidecar.

Smith & Sinclair Whiskey Club Alcoholic Gummies

Price: $25.

They say: Move over CBD gummies, whiskey gummies are here to make a splash. The package includes ten gummies of assorted cocktail flavors including old fashioned, whiskey ginger, Manhattan and whiskey sour. And with 5 percent ABV per gummy, these alcoholic candies really pack a punch.

SGIC says: Nothing says America 2020 like this product. It’s whiskey for people who don’t like whiskey, dumbed down to a kids’ candy.  Day drink for the love of everything good!  With actual whiskey!  Pour two (or three, or four) fingers in a glass.  Add an ice cube if you’re inclined.  Drink.  Repeat.  By the way, 5% ABV is beer.

Bonobos Fore Father Bundle

Price: $87 for the shorts and the shirt.

They say: Bonobos is running a Father’s Day promotion so you can set dad up with a full golf outfit, without breaking the bank. Use the code thanksdad and get 40-percent-off two items at checkout. Pair a bold golf shirt—like this turquoise floral Performance Golf Polo (normally $68)—with a simple navy short—like the upscale Highland Golf Shorts (normally $78)—for a stylish and summery look dad’ll sure to get a few compliments on.

SGIC says: Perfect for your Duffy Waldorf cosplay fantasies or sticking it to Lumberg during Hawaiian Shirt Day.  Oh never mind-we all work at home now so just wear sweatpants or a god damn onesie and show everyone you’ve given up.  The shorts aren’t bad.

G/FORE Skull & T’s Embossed Full Zip

Price: $165

They say: This midlayer is made with a technical jersey fabric and has an extra soft interior to add a bit of warmth on cooler mornings. The subtle skull pattern is on-trend, without the risk of clashing with the rest of his outfit and the mock neckline adds a touch of refinement to dress up any look.

SGIC says: If someone wearing this rolled up as your fourth it’s a guarantee that they will claim to be an 8 handicap, play like a 22, and trot out every excuse imaginable (one of which will involve “I need to consult with my mental game coach”…okay, I have one of those- his name is Johnnie Walker), and will take 3 minutes to miss a 9- footer for a triple bogey.  They will have a staff bag and likely have spent more time thinking of what they were going to wear than they ever have on practicing.

Montblanc MB01 Smart Travel Over-The-Ear Headphones

Price: $595. That’s not a typo.

They say: These luxury headphones have upscale styling with all the high-tech features dad could need. Proximity sensors automatically pause or play audio when the headphones are taken on or off, have active noise cancelling built in and can be connected to a smartwatch.

SGIC says: Steely Dan and Nickelback never sounded so good.  Rock out to some Hootie and the Blowfish while the world collapses on itself.  Go ahead, go further in debt to spend $600 on headphones.  Dad will enjoy yacht rock in these.

Public Rec All Day Every Day Jogger

Price $98. Not a typo.

They say: Dad will love these cozy joggers that are golf-appropriate. The elastic waistband has an internal drawstring to maximize comfort, while maintaining a refined look. Made with a moisture-wicking, breathable fabric, the versatile pant is a blend of stretchy spandex and durable nylon that’ll transition easily from the course to dinner.

SGIC says: They’re fucking sweatpants that cost $100.  Big Sweatpant (and his young lovely friend Big Yoga Pant) are taking over.  And of COURSE you’re going to wear sweatpants to a restaurant because screw it…just give up.  Quit trying.  No sense putting forth an effort for anything.  Is wearing pants or shorts with a belt that hard?  Still waiting to see a golf-themed Snuggie.

GLCO X Malbon Bucket Golf Hat

Price: $40 and a possible restraining order.

They say: Part of the exclusive Garrett Leight and Malbon Golf collection, this reversible bucket channels beachy vibes.

SGIC says: You should get one of these for free if you buy a FREE CANDY or FREE PUPPIES van to go along with the likely impending criminal charges.  Wear this to the beach and you might as well just get a “PERV HERE” sandwich board to wear. The official hat for people who own metal detectors and use them at the beach.  Wear this with that Hawaiian print shirt and blind people.

Puma Bomber Jacket

Price: $160.

They say: A stylish on- and off-course jacket with a retro feel. It’s a great layering piece, especially for dads who need to add a little character to their golf looks. The knit sweater sleeves are cozy and perfect for cool summer twilight rounds.

SGIC says: Perfect for when you want people to think you appeared in season 1 of The Sopranos.  Should be part of The Paulie Walnuts collection.  Wear this to Starbucks and order an espresso and ask for some locally sourced gabbagool.

Lord Jones Old Fashioned CBD Gum Drops

Price: $45.

They say: Each candy has 20 milligrams of CBD—a calming, non-psychoactive hemp extract that can provide relief from pain and anxiety. Plus, they come in fruity flavors.

SGIC says: At six dollars per gummy I should be getting baked on them and not have to worry about getting diabetes. Just buy some actual weed.  It’s legal in most jurisdictions.  Or buy a CBD supplement (the one I take has 20mg of CBD and I don’t have to worry about Wilfred Brimley showing up to lecture me about DIABEETUS).

Good, Good? Needlepoint Headcover

Price: $115 for a mallet-sized cover.

They say: For those more generous than most on the greens, protect your flatstick with this unique needlepoint headcover from the new Golf Digest SELECT collection. Hand-crafted by Needle Golf, this putter cover is available for blades and mallets. Available at

SGIC says: For $115 you could could add a few bucks and get him an actual new putter. Just saying.  Why promote a mediocre golf magazine?  In a couple years when these things don’t sell they’ll give ’em away with subscriptions.

Vineyard Vines Pescadero Houndstooth Performance 1/2 Zip

Price: $145

They say: In collaboration with Jim Nantz, this Vineyard Vines half zip will add a touch of sophistication to any outfit. The houndstooth pattern is refined and stylish, while the soft performance blend material has a ton of stretch for a comfortable wear.

SGIC says: Was there really some underserved segment of the population who wanted to spend $145 on something from the Jim Nantz collection?  Clearly, yes.  I want to buy a CBS blazer but ONLY if you include a flag pin AND a pocket square from the Jim Nantz collection. Burnt toast and “Sir Nick Faldo” never sounded so yummy.  Perfect for doing sponsor interviews in. Buy this, and your new safe word is “Hello Friends”.


Let’s say that you don’t weekend in the Hamptons, daddy doesn’t run a hedge fund and you don’t have a 7-figure trust fund.  You actually work during the week but you’d like to do something nice for dad that’s golf related.  Here’s a few ideas that won’t break the bank:

  1. A dozen of his preferred brand of balls.  Sneak a peek in his golf bag to see what he plays.  Cost? $30-$50.
  2. Buy him a round of golf at an upscale daily fee course. You’re talking $90-$250 depending on where but it’s a nice treat for him.
  3. Tickets to a PGA/LPGA Tour event in your area (if they’re allowing fans). Seeing an event live really lets you see just how good the pros are, and most of them are actually really nice people and it’s a nice “all day” getaway.  Cost: $25-$100.  He can buy himself a tournament shirt and have a great time.
  4. If he’s walking but carrying his bag, a push cart is a FANTASTIC option.  They run $75-$250 but they fold up easily and he’ll still be able to walk but not have to carry so it will be easier on his back. Ogio, Sun Mountain and Clicgear make great products.
  5. If you’re really tight with money (and that’s okay), get him some sunscreen and bug spray.  Trader Joe’s sells a spray-on sunscreen that’s sweatproof for $6.00 (I use it and it’s great; cheaper than other brands and easier to wash off).  Off! makes a bug spray that goes on easy (aerosol can) that doesn’t reek and does a good job of keeping bugs away; it retails for $6-$9 depending on where you shop.  So for $15.00 you can hook dad up with a couple things he should be using (seriously- he needs to be using sunscreen and bug spray).


Since I’m not going to be able to see New Order in concert (their tour dates all canceled due to COVID-19), enjoy one of their best known songs. An actual music video, directed by Johnathan Demme (yes, that one).

How I Fell In Love With Rugby League (and why you should as well)

Mal Meninga. Gigantic, fast and a legend.

I love playing golf, and I love watching hockey (well, the Toronto Maple Leafs).  While this would be enough sports for most people, there’s one other sport that does it for me and that’s rugby league.  So how do I, your golf blogger and high functioning alcoholic, come to love a sport whose popularity is primarily centered around two areas (Australia and the north of England)?  Perhaps you follow me on Twitter and wonder why I’m clicking ‘favorite/like’ on some odd sport and occasionally retweeting highlights?

Blind luck and an eventual bad relationship.

Flash back to June of 1994 and I’ve been seeing someone for a year or so on a long-distance basis and we (as young people often do with bad results) agreed to move in together (we would part ways after a few years).  Specifically, she decided to pack up and move into my studio apartment in San Francisco.  She found out that I don’t have cable TV (I’ve never had cable TV at this point of my life), and she was rather insistent that we have it (without sounding old, this was when MTV showed actual music videos- The Real World was a cultural touchstone but otherwise it was mostly music videos).  Being the thoughtful person that I am, I called our local cable TV provider and schedule an installation on Friday since she was moving in on the next day (Saturday).

This will work out pretty well (I thought at the time), since this Friday in question was the start of the soccer World Cup and she mentioned liking soccer (her older sister had played for her high school and college teams) and was excited at seeing games since the US was the host country.

I took the day off from work, got a haircut early and was back in my apartment during the late morning appointment window.  They showed up on time, were done within 30 minutes, and I now had the wonder that was cable television.  Being someone who likes sports, I meandered towards the sports channels.  ESPN was showing the US Open (it would be Arnold Palmer’s last round at a US Open) with cutaways for soccer and the New York Rangers’ Stanley Cup parade.

Then I happened upon one of those lesser known sports channels and they were showing some weird sport I’d never seen before. It “looked” like rugby (I knew of it but hadn’t really watched much), but the playing field was laid out more like an NFL field with yardage lines and numbers.  There was a team wearing lime green shirts that said “MILK” in the front (and in the back)…okay, I thought, is that like a sponsor (I knew a lot of soccer teams had big sponsor logos in the front) or something?

The other thing was that after a player was tackled he’d get up, set the ball down and “play” it backwards to someone else while the team on defense would retreat what looked like 10 yards (found out later it was 10 meters).  The rugby I knew would have a bunch of people fighting over the ball.  This wasn’t like that.  Also you’d see a graphic pop up of “5th” tackle.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?  Didn’t know what this was.   Is this like 4th down in the NFL? Figured it out pretty quickly.

One last thing.  This team in lime green had an absolute mountain of a man on their team who could seemingly run through anyone or anything.  He wasn’t just big, he was fast.  And powerful.  His name?  Mal Meninga. He looked to be about 7’8″ tall and 350 pounds (nothing close but he looked it on TV).  He ran over people if not through them.  Later I’d learn he was a legend in the game and he’d be retiring after the season.  It was everything I loved about collision sports, without all the stoppages in play.  Simple rules and not overly complicated and played at a breathtaking pace I’d only seen in hockey.

I was hooked, but what was it?  This was before the internet had become as common as oxygen…so I had to look it up on the channel listings.  Something called “rugby league (listed as Australian Rugby League)…whatever that meant”.  It was a condensed highlights program from the games of a week prior (as I found out later).  The team in lime green were the Canberra Raiders.  They were playing a team called Eastern Suburbs or “Easts” in the score graphic. Wait, what?  I knew soccer teams had weird names, but here was an Australian sport with American style nicknames (there were teams named the Steelers, Bulldogs, Tigers to name a few).

The day this happened was June 17, 1994.  Unfortunately, June 17, 1994 took on a host of other meanings and history will show that it was the night that OJ Simpson went on his infamous Ford Bronco chase, causing the world (it seemed) to stop and watch.  And while everyone remembers the chase, I remember watching it unfold on CNN and also being excited because I had discovered this really cool sport.

The following Sunday, I drove down to the news-stand near my apartment, since they sold international newspapers (again- this was pre-Internet).  I found a copy of the Sydney Morning Herald, and immediately pulled out the sports section.  I’d find out that the Raiders had lost their most recent game to the Panthers. The Panthers! Damn you Panthers! We’ll get you next time.  I was hooked. Paid six dollars for the newspaper (I wasn’t always a genius).

It pushed me into rugby and eventually gave me the idea to play (I played several years for club teams in the Bay Area and DC; I wasn’t any good but it was fun playing a team sport again with some truly great lads).  I’m better for the experience and for learning something new.

If you like the NFL but can’t stand games taking 3 1/2 hours to play and only seeing about 14-15 minutes of action in a game, consider watching. No padding except for neoprene headgear that a few players wear, and it’s pretty much non-stop action.  13 players a side, 4 substitutes (not rolling subs- teams have a limit of how many changes they can make in a game).  Try (touchdown) worth 4 points, conversions or penalty goals worth 2 points, drop goal (i.e. field goal) worth 1 point. That’s it. A video review system that, while not perfect, is better than anything in use in North America.  A national announcer as polarizing as Joe Buck, Mike Emerick or Jim Hughson….why, yes!

Celebrities?  Russell Crowe owns one of the teams.  A Tina Turner song has turned into an anthem of sorts.  Take a listen:

This is 30 years old (made in 1990).

The national broadcaster recreated it for this year.  Stick to what works.

I still watch rugby league and still support the Canberra Raiders (followed last year’s Grand Final loss on twitter on a red-eye flight back from vacation…probably for the best that I couldn’t scream during the late game controversy). The NRL season normally runs March-early October (this year it’s getting extended due to COVID-19…like a lot of sports that had to shut down in March).  I know that right now there are those that think sports are dumb and unnecessary.  Maybe.

My hometown of Toronto now has a team in the England Super League (they’re still shut down due to COVID-19); they’re in their 4th year of existence and I’m hoping their games will be televised when they return.

But I still love it. And I’ll still get up in the middle of the night to watch games and get strange looks from people when I wear my Raiders jersey.  And it started on a flash-point day in American history because I got cable installed.

Foot-Joy 2020 Pro-SL Shoe Review

2020 Foot Joy Pro SL (Spikeless) fresh out of the box

***Please note that I was not compensated in any way by Footjoy nor did they contact me to write this.  I bought the shoes through a well-known online specialty golf retailer.  This review is entirely my opinion.

After 3 years and more rounds than I can count (somewhere between 65-75), my existing ProSL’s were starting to wear out so I figured it was time to replace them.  As I have pointed out in other posts, I’m a fairly big lad and I’m aware that this means shoes break down quicker and it means they don’t last as long as would be ideal.  Because their sizing hasn’t changed I knew what size I would need.

One tip: Unless you know your size by brand/model, I strongly recommend trying shoes on in-store BEFORE you buy. Ideally, at the end of the way, wearing socks that you’d wear when playing. Shoes aren’t cheap so you want to make sure that you’re not wasting money.

Since I really liked my old pair and had good luck with them, when it came time to buy a new pair I was always likely to stick with Foot Joy.  For one, their last fits my foot very well.  I learned the hard way that every company makes a slightly different last, plus I tend to under-pronate which makes things even more difficult.  The Foot Joy shoes don’t make this worse which is more than I can say when it comes to a couple of other brands.

Other brands, you ask?  Adidas has made some changes and their current range really doesn’t fit.  Plus, they don’t make an extra-wide and they’ve narrowed their existing wide a bit.  Nike shoes have never felt good on my feet (I bought a pair of their golf shoes in the 90’s when they were just starting to get into the market; they never felt great and broke down very quickly).  I tried New Balance once but wasn’t impressed.  Made my foot sweat something terrible and waterproofing was bad (I play a lot of early morning rounds so my feet were often wet after a few holes).  I wear ASICS sneakers as they fit my foot fairly well; haven’t tried their golf range yet (been hard to find).

Comfort: Excellent. Most modern shoes “should” fit well right out of the box with synthetic materials.  Not like a shoe from 30 years ago that you’d have to break in.  These fit great the second I put them on.  They make a BOA model for $20 extra, but I prefer the regular lace-up.  The foam is highly dense but still provides plenty of cushion.  It’s not as spongy as some other models, but for me, it was very good.  One note: Foot Joy tends to run a half to one full size smaller than my regular shoes.  I wear a 10 1/2 in ASICS, New Balance and Mizuno but I wear a 10 in Foot Joy.

Removable sockliner is a great added feature if you wear inserts or orthotics. Plenty of cushion but not overly spongy.

Grip: Excellent. This was a bit of a revelation for me.  I always thought (wrongly) that spikeless shoes would have bad grip on turf.   My Pro SL’s have better grip than my old shoes with softspikes.  No slips, no issues on side hills or going up and down mounds.  During my swing, it feels like my feet are anchored down which is what I want.

LOVE how the sole flares out a bit for added stability. Channeling the old XPS-1 shoes that I used to have. Great job.

Stability: Excellent.  The soles flare out a bit from the foot, providing additional stability.  It’s one feature that my old XPS-1 shoes had that I loved.  Full swings from the tee box, shots from the fairway or rough…felt very secure.

The additional support from the synthetic strap going from the heel to the top of the lacing area is a nice touch for added stability.

Look: Average.  If I have one complaint about these shoes, it’s the look. They’re not exactly a modern looking shoe. My first thought when seeing them was that they look like bowling shoes. I do wish they’d adopt a more modern look that other brands seem to be doing.  With that being said, I’ll sacrifice looks for performance.

Overall: Excellent. Foot Joy does one thing well, and that’s golf. To their credit they don’t try to get into other sports or make some ‘training’ shoe.  Unlike companies that see golf as one line on an org chart, Foot Joy only does golf.  And they do it very well. They make widths from extra narrow to extra wide (I really wish Ecco would make wide widths but they don’t which means they’re a non-starter for me).  They don’t introduce new lines every year for every model, which is not the norm in the industry.  Overall, they’re outstanding shoes and I’m looking forward to getting plenty of rounds out of them.

Song Of The Day

Johnny Marr’s solo records have a distinctive sound their own.  Bit of social distancing here from a few years ago.

Golf Course Closures Explained

One of these things isn’t like the other one. See if you can guess.

I’m angry.  There.  I said it.  I’m angry at bullshit hucksters like Malcolm Gladwell who thinks golf should be “banned”, and Silicon Valley douchebros (I worked in Silicon Valley; there isn’t anything these morons can’t ruin with their “ideas”) who hate golf (because they’re not any good at it (unless they’re a member at one of the more exclusive private clubs in the Bay Area), and they want golf courses turfed so they can fuck the land up with their own stupidity and incompetence in the same way they’ve operated for the last 25 years).

Golf is a form of outdoor exercise and is a sport.  It can be played with social distancing and with next to zero risk to anyone playing (a number of course maintenance teams have come up with genius level ways to avoid making contact with things, including not raking bunkers).  Green fees mean revenue which means employees get paid and the money circulates within the state.  Pretty simple, really.

I’m angry that with all this (alleged) intelligence we’re staring food shortages in the face because with all of their brainpower and whatnot, and they can’t figure out how to safely process and deliver food (you have millions of pounds of potatoes left to rot and meat shortages because nobody thought to spend a few bucks on food safety or the people feeding the country).  The most basic and simple thing in the world and we’ve fucked that up in less than 2 months.  Bravo.

And I’m angry with our Governor (Larry Hogan), who seems too busy getting dolled up to go on TV and pump his own tires to see the bigger picture (the makeup and glasses show you care, I suppose).  Winning two races against poster children for “how not to run a gubernatorial campaign” shouldn’t count for much but here we are.  But this is a golf website.  Onward.

If you look at the map above, you’ll notice that 45 states currently allow golf in some form or another, and 5 that don’t.  Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and of course Maryland because reasons.

This is not a “but muh golf” complaint.  It’s pointing out that Larry’s measures are like trying to stop a train with a fishing net.  I’ll stick with facts:

  1. I “could” be wrong, but near as I can tell, there isn’t a Simpsons Movie style dome over the state which means that travel to and from other states is permitted.  Let’s go on, shall we?
  2. If I’m on the Eastern Shore, I can play at Baywood Greens but none of the Ocean City courses.  We’re talking about 15-20 minutes distance (by car).  Is the environment at Links @ Lighthouse Sound that bad by comparison?  If it is, then by all means keep it closed!
  3. Bulle Rock is closed, but all of the courses in Philly are (mostly) open.
  4. Greystone in northern Baltimore County…nope.  Keep going another 20-25 minutes up I-83 and courses are open in PA.  Does Pennsylvania have magic non-COVID air that they’re hoarding?  Damn air-hoarders.
  5. Lodestone in far western MD is closed but again, I can truck into WV, OH or PA and tee it up.  Who’s right and who’s wrong here?
  6. I could hop in my car, cross a bridge and be in Virginia where courses are open.  Some mighty good tracks in the commonwealth.
  7. Same for North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, New Jersey.
  8. I could fly out to California or Arizona where courses are, for the most part, open.  Flights are bookable as are hotels.
  9. The entire midwest and it’s vast array of really good courses.  Willing to wager places in MN, TX, IA, etc. would gladly take my money.  Assuming that I don’t decide to live there for the rest of my life, how exactly is this keeping people safe?

My point is that there’s no consistency on how things are being applied (and the devil is ALWAYS in the details).  Either golf is an outdoor activity that can take place or it’s unsafe and should be shut down.  Both arguments have validity but you can’t have both.  Just pick a lane.  That’s all I ask.


COVID-19 updates (what courses are and aren’t open)

My new weekend morning scripting.

Just as we were getting into the start of the season, things have taken a horrible turn with the pandemic from the Coronavirus (i.e. COVID-19).  PLEASE follow the new guidelines set in place and anything from the CDC.

So real quick, here’s what is (and isn’t) open in terms of local courses as of 3/17/2020.  Not trying to persuade or dissuade anyone from playing, but I’d suggest verifying specifics.

Waverly Woods: currently open.

Fairway Hills: closed

Hobbits Glen: closed

Timbers at Troy: currently open.

Baltimore County (Greystone, Rocky Point, Fox Hollow, etc.): open (Greystone grill may be closed)

Baltimore City (Forest Park, Mount Pleasant, Carroll Park, etc.): open for now.

Montgomery County Golf (Northwest, Little Bennett, Rattlewood, Hampshire Greens, Poolesville, Laytonsville, Sligo Creek, Hampshire Greens): Open for now (no on-course water, credit cards only, no rakes, flags stay in).

Links at Challendon: currently open

Compass Pointe: currently open.

Renditions: currently open

University of MD golf course: closed as of 3/18

Oak Creek: currently open

Lake Presidential: currently open

Blue Mash: currently open.

Worthington Manor: currently open.

Musket Ridge: currently open.

Maryland National: currently open.

Whiskey Creek: currently open.

PB Dye: currently open (aerated greens 3/2-3/4)

Hopefully you’re able to get out there and tee it up.  Stay healthy and be safe.

Hope to see you out there.  I’m not normally Mr. Grumpy Pants.

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