Mid-Am Crisis ft. Casey Bannon, Assistant Editor – The Golfer’s Journal

Casey Bannon listens as Sidney Matthew is interviewed by Jay Revell at Matthew’s law office in Tallahassee, Fla., on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2020. Photo by Kevin D. Liles for The Golfer’s Journal

Casey Bannon gets text messages from me at all hours of the day and night. Most of them contain crazy ideas. Story pitches and other wild hairs that I hope will eventually become features in my favorite golf publication – The Golfer’s Journal. I’ve had the great fortune to contribute a few fun stories for the Journal in recent years and one of the best parts of that experience has been working with Casey. He’s the Assistant Editor there, but that title only covers a fraction of his value to their team.

Listen to my discussion with Casey Bannon of the Golfer’s Journal

The Golfer’s Journal works very much like a start-up. That means that Casey and other team members have to be able to do lots of different jobs. For him, that means writing features, editing others, producing podcasts, running live events, pushing merch, and even delivering social media content. Launched five years ago, the Journal is starting to hit an impressive stride. What started as a bold idea has now grown into one of golf media’s strongest brands. That starts with producing a beautiful quarterly magazine that their team refers to as “the book.” It’s a highly attractive product with a quickly growing customer base.

What makes the Journal stand out is its combination of stirring words and moving photography delivered on thick stock glossy pages. With golf stories presented in such a relentlessly beautiful way, their brand of reporting has challenged the idea that “print is dead.” Subscriptions are pricey, but those who are part of the “broken tee society” are buying much more than just a magazine. They are part of a growing culture of golfers who are looking for and finding a deeper and more meaningful experience in the game. The Journal does a brilliant job of packaging that together in the book, podcasts, merchandise, and events. What they are building is a community of golfers around the globe.

There is a lot to love about The Golfer’s Journal and Casey is one of the workhorses who helps make all that come to life. He joins me for a discussion about those efforts, his career in journalism, and what motivates him to keep delivering high-level storytelling. We also dive into a few projects we’ve worked on and share a few insider stories about how The Golfer’s Journal pushes the edge in golf media. Casey is a great guy who I enjoy working with and I’m glad to help others get to know him better through this episode. I’m also hopeful this will help keep him answering my late-night story pitch texts.

If you don’t subscribe to The Golfer’s Journal, I would highly recommend you go and do so right now. You can do so here https://www.golfersjournal.com/referral/c1791012277

Be sure to follow The Golfer’s Journal on social media at @golfersjournal and don’t forget to follow Casey Bannon at @caseyfbannon

The Golfer’s Journal Podcast is available wherever you listen to audio. Give it a listen and get hooked on their brand of storytelling.

Thanks as always for listening to Mid-Am Crisis. The show is brought to you by my friends at Imagine Golf – the #1 app for the mental game. Download Imagine Golf today and start your journey to an improved way of thinking on and off the course. https://www.imaginegolf.com/

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @JayRevell and find more or my work here at https://jayrevell.com/

If you enjoy the show, I would love for you to leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts.

Cheers,

-J

Mid-Am Crisis is a production of Revell Media, LLC

Mid-Am Crisis ft. Christian Hafer – Chief Photographer, Golf Magazine

Christian Hafer working in his element.

Christian Hafer’s photographs always move me in some way. That’s why I’m really glad he decided to focus his craft on golf. I started following Hafer on Instagram back when he was relatively unknown and always was quick to compliment his work. Over the years our messages have ranged from photography to writing, and on to many other topics related to golf. He’s been one of my favorite internet pen pals and it has been a real pleasure to see his career take off the way it has.

I knew Hafer was destined for big things and when folks at the Golfers Journal and Golf Magazine came calling his status as one of golf’s top photogs was quickly cemented. Today, he’s raising a family and running point on all the photography for Golf Magazine/Golf.com while also working with some of the top brands in the sport. Those publications have never looked better as his work continues to evolve and impress. Hafer has been involved in a variety of other golf-related efforts including The Burning Cart Society( a personal favorite ) and I love hearing about what he’s cooking up next.

In this discussion, we touched on all sorts of creative concepts and of course talked in-depth about our love for golf, family, and the spiritual side of the game. While we’ve still never met in person, Hafer feels like an old friend. I think you’ll walk away with the same way after listening. 

If you don’t follow Hafer on Instagram you are missing out. Find him at @hafe_life You can also check out Hafer’s work at his website here https://www.christianhafer.com/

If you enjoy the Mid-Am Crisis podcast, you might like some of my writing too. You can find it here at https://jayrevell.com/

Be sure to follow me on Twitter too. I always like to stir up some trouble there. I’m at @jayrevell

Thanks again for listening. Reviews and comments are greatly appreciated on any of your favorite listening platforms. 

Cheers, -J

Mid-Am Crisis is a production of Revell Media, LLC http://revellmedia.com/

Mid-Am Crisis ft. Samantha Marks, CEO SKRAM Marketing, Formerly of Golf Channel & Arkansas Golf

Samantha Marks dishes golf takes and digital media strategies via her Twitter page.

Mid-Am Crisis is a weekly podcast featuring intimate discussions with some of golf’s most interesting personas. The show is available anywhere podcasts are found.

Samantha Marks likes to share her golf takes on Twitter. That’s how she has developed a large following and it has even helped her build a successful business. Marks has a knack for modern media – undoubtedly shaped by her stint in broadcast journalism. She formerly worked for the Golf Channel until the company went through a severe reorganizing. Now, she’s running her own marketing firm with many growing clients in the golf industry.

Marks loves to talk golf online and she isn’t afraid to mix in humorous accounts from her personal life. That approach continues to pay off with opportunities like contributing words for The Golfer’s Journal and doing brand collaborations with companies like Amstel Light. In our discussion, Marks shared her journey to playing collegiate golf at Arkansas, her pivot to working in media, and how losing her job at Golf Channel led to her becoming a business owner.

Marks is a tenacious spirit and a witty commentator on the day to day happenings in golf. After following her for some time, I’m convinced that she will continue to capture the attention of golfers around the globe. We had a great chat and I’m hopeful it will lead to many more. 

You can follow Samantha on Twitter at @SamanthaSMarks

If you enjoy Mid-Am Crisis, be sure to subscribe to the show on your preferred listening platform. As always, you can find more of my work here at www.jayrevell.com and my company, Revell Media at www.revellmedia.com

Cheers,

-J

Mid-Am Crisis ft. D.J. Piehowski, Producer, No Laying Up

D.J. Piehowski Filming Strapped:Tallahassee at Capital City Country Club

Mid-Am Crisis is a weekly podcast featuring intimate discussions with some of golf’s most interesting personas. The show is available anywhere podcasts are found.

D.J. Piehowski is part of the No Laying Up collective. Along with his friends and partners Chris Solomon(Soly), Todd Schuster(Tron Carter), Neil Schuster, and Phil Landes(Big Randy), they have created one of the most entertaining and informative golf media companies in the game today. Although D.J. was the last to officially join the team, he acts as a sort of creative glue that helps to elevate their content through his superb storytelling abilities.

D.J. cut his teeth in golf media working first at Golfweek and later at the PGA Tour. Through his writing and other skillsets he also helped The Golfer’s Journal become an incredibly popular brand in the golf world. Through the latter engagements, he made quick friends with the original No Laying Up guys and before long found himself as an integral part of their team. D.J. brings a unique perspective to their content and his affinity for finding the right strings to pull during interviews adds an interesting depth to their productions. His love of filmmaking and study of cinema shows through in nearly every video they share across their Youtube channel.

I first connected with D.J. a few years ago when he was kind enough to read some of my earliest writings(they weren’t very good!) on the game and the tips he was nice enough to give me then still help shape my work today. We recently spent some time together when he, Neil, and Big Randy visited my hometown of Tallahassee, Florida to shoot a season of their budget-friendly golf show called Strapped. As much as I enjoyed watching them create their show in person, it was even more fun to talk with him about the work they do at No Laying Up during this discussion.

D.J. is one of the great voices in the game of golf today and he brings tremendous authenticity to every story he tells. If you enjoy their work or just love hearing from someone who’s chasing a dream with friends I think you’ll really like listening to our chat. Lord knows it had me ready to go tell some stories of my own.  

You can dive into the No Laying Up universe of golf content at https://nolayingup.com/ 

If you enjoy Mid-Am Crisis, be sure to subscribe to the show on your preferred listening platform. As always, you can find more of my work here at www.jayrevell.com and my company, Revell Media at www.revellmedia.com

Cheers,

-J

A Book Review From My High School English Teacher

I’m always quick to tell folks that I learned how to write from a collection of incredible high school English teachers. What they taught me in my adolescent years still shapes the words I craft today. I think about their lessons often and fondly recall how they helped me become a passionate writer. Their influence can be found in every chapter of my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf.

Recently, I was delighted to hear that one of my favorite teachers had not only picked up a copy, but also decided to write me a personal review. She delivered her comments to me via a visit to my mom’s salon where she still gets her hair done. When reading her elegant notes, I had a flashback to all the papers she graded for me in the past. It was good to see that handwriting again.

Below are her comments as transcribed from the note she left for me. I think it’s the best book review I could have ever hoped for. I enjoyed her comments so much that I thought it would be fun to share them.

Jay,

I took your advice and read your book in bits & pieces. Since I will lend my copy to others, I didn’t want to write my comments on the pieces themselves, so Ill just jot notes to you here…

Loved your introduction, especially the first sentence. Nice little tease at the end too. Then I went to the poetry. Imagine that, “Daylight Savings Swings” was my favorite. “How I Got Hooked on Golf” also spoke to me — intro and conclusion framed it so well. Loved the focus on your relationship with your grandfather. The dedication to your daughter Winnie with Chapter 10 about fatherhood was great. Talking about her with your mom is such fun!

The nine virtues you spoke about in your first chapter made me think about how they are also the ones needed for a successful life. One thing I noticed reading through all the pieces was the figurative language you used, like in “One Last Walk.” Mmmm…maybe you are a poet after all.

Your “On Common Ground” piece made me tear up. It was so beautiful. Maybe that’s just the mama in me. I’m sure your brother loves it as well.

“A Simple Game for Trouble Times” was a great conclusion for the book. “Our times may be troubled, but we have to avoid the convenience of isolation.” Wow! ” We must choose to lean in and engage with one another.” Yes, indeed. Engage with our animals like Leon as well, right?

Chapter 8 shows a lot about you and your priorities. It’s nice that you can have a “club in my hand and hope in my heart” all in your own back yard.

“Braggadocios”? Did you make that word up?

Chapter 11 had such great ideas in your strategic plan.

Glad to see the hangover at the Ocean Course didn’t completely dismantle you.

As you noted on page 83, I hope you’ll continue to play “fun, faster, freewheeling, and far from caring too much about the score.” You know my writer self like the alliteration( remember that?) in this sentence.

I enjoyed seeing the connection between golf and technology that led you to the Shindig. Sounds like money well spent.

Jay, I could definitely see that you have found your voice in this book. So glad I got to read it. You did a fine job of writing it.

Congratulations!

— Sharon

Writing my first book reminded me of so many things that I learned from teachers like Sharon. I hope what I published has made her and others proud.

If you liked Sharon’s review, you might enjoy reading the book in full. You can pick up a copy at the link below.

Cheers,

-J

My More Admirable Self

Every time I walk a golf course I learn more about my presence in the world. Through my decades in this game, I’ve come to have a thorough understanding of what my best and worst qualities are. They often emerge from me as different personas. My daily life can seem like a seesaw with those angels and demons sitting on each side. Golf is how I measure which one is more dominant. However, when I play, a sort of re-balancing happens. By looking inside I can find the levers which need to be adjusted in order to bring me closer to my better self. This is important work. In order to do it, I need quiet, calm, and peaceful surroundings. Focus matters too. A golf course is ideally suited for such reflection. The walk leads me back to my more admirable self. I’m still learning how to improve so I keep coming back to golf. It is a journey with no end in sight.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

You Earned That View

When the ball sails through the sky and your eyes focus on the fast-flying orb, there is a feeling of calm that comes from confirming its direction. There is both pride and peacefulness found in delivering the ball to its target. It’s more than just appreciating the result of a particular swing though. The seasoned player quietly celebrates the success of each shot because they remember all the work and time it took to realize it. Achievements in golf are not measured on the scales of swings, holes, and scores — it’s the years spent crafting your game that counts most. Golf is for the patient. Dedication matters. The difference between good and great comes from devotion. Golf is a practice. You can never perfect it, but you can learn to play the game with great proficiency. It’s not easy, but the work is worth it. The payoff happens each time you find a fairway, hit the green, and hole a putt. That’s why you stare down each and every result. You earned that view.


If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It debuted earlier this Summer as the #1 new release golf book on Amazon.

-J

Golf is a Recipe for Happiness

Golf with friends at Streamsong Resort
Golf is a way to be with friends for extended periods of time. In those hours spent together, bonds are formed and relationships are strengthened. This game is tailored to the desires we all have to be close to our fellow man. It gives us an opportunity to engage and better understand each other. In many cases, golf even becomes the reason for new friendships to blossom. Golf is a gateway to gaining meaningful companionship. The more we go into the game the closer we become with those by our side. Whether we play on weekday evenings after work, Saturday mornings in a regular group, or on yearly trips with those we share the game with, golf is the mechanism for binding us to those we share our lives with. Play more golf, make more friends, live a more full life. Golf is a recipe for happiness.
Each day I post a short golf story like this on my Instagram page @JayRevellWrites – now I’m bringing those musings to my website. Be sure to check in each day for my latest expressions on the game! If you enjoy these daily stories, you might like my new book, The Nine Virtues of Golf. It’s currently the #1 new release golf book on Amazon. -J

Golf is Everywhere – Palatka Golf Club

 

Some of my favorite golf course discoveries have been in small towns and obscure places. The Palatka Golf Club certainly fits that bill. Located about an hour south of Jacksonville, the small town of Palatka is home to a community golf course that has a curious story and a big personality.

Founded in 1925, the Palatka Golf Club has a wonderful golden age routing that falls over a delightfully hilly piece of property. The club proudly celebrates Donald Ross as its designer, but many historians and golf architecture aficionados have called that into question. Palatka is one of many golf courses around the country and a handful in Florida whose claim to be an original Ross design is a bit questionable. There is significant evidence that the architect may have actually been fellow Scotsman W.D. Clark, but the locals in Palatka are quick to dismiss that idea.

I have long heard about how enjoyable the golf was in Palatka and have also followed the story of its unproven design lineage. Earlier this year, I finally got the chance to make it over to Palatka to see the course for myself. What I found is a fabulous golf experience that packs a large amount of interest into a small package.

Coming in at just under 6,000 yards, the course looks far more getable than it really is. Small greens with great contours make for a real challenge and the land movement throughout the routing is highly unique for Florida. What I walked away with from Palatka was a big smile and a strong desire to come back soon. If you are anyone you know is traveling through Northeast Florida, the Palatka Golf Club is worth going to see and play. I believe that there is something special about the place regardless of who gets the credit for the course design.

If you want to see more from my day at Palatka Golf Club, then check out the latest episode of my Golf is Everywhere show on Youtube. If you enjoy what you find there then please be sure to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode! 

Cheers,

-J

How to Travel for Golf – thoughts on where to go, how to be there, and what to remember.

The Swilcan Bridge by Dave Baysden

To be a golfer is to be a wanderer and that is my identity. The game is, at its very essence, a walkabout through the fields, forests, towns, and dunes of the world. For that reason, a golfer’s soul yearns to journey. As a golfer, my thirst for adventure is unquenchable.

For those like me who are inflicted with such a love for the game, one foot will always be compelled to follow the other. Each round of golf creates a longing for the next. In my mind there lies an uncontrollable urge to stray and a sense that each new course needs to be further from home than the last.

The golfer is a traveler and an explorer. No destination will ever satisfy the desire to see another. I am a golfer and I am increasingly compelled to roam.

The passages of golf books become the places that yield sunburns on my skin. Reading about distant lands isn’t enough to cure my curiosity though. I have to see it with my own eyes and play the course with clubs in tow.

There is a brilliant sun shining on the fairways in my mind and if I can muster up a willingness to set forth I can find that warmth in living color.  When presented with the opportunity to travel for golf, I exhaust every means to make it happen.

That being said, to reach an awareness of the available adventures in the sport is to suffer madness. This comes from the knowledge that I’ll never be able to experience them all.

Which brings me to the following passages.

No golf traveler is alike, yet there is a kinsmanship found among those of us who spend hours searching out the next stop on the journey. Opinions on courses, clubs, and destinations for golf will vary, making it important to remember that the objective of traveling is to form your own. Every course in the world has something to offer the golfer on the move, but how can one best discern what to seek out next?

For that question, I offer you these thoughts.

Where to go…

Go in search of great walks.

Not every golf course can be walked, but those most worthy of your time will be of the variety you explore on foot. The game was meant for walking and the best golf in the world will always be that which is tailored to such methods of play. When traveling, the walks should actually be the reason for the trip. Golf is just an excuse to go for the hike. Take these considerations to mind when evaluating where you’d like to walk next.

Seek out an understanding of architecture.

Architecture is the field in which art and science meet. The designing of golf courses is consistent with that truth. Golf course architects are both artist and engineer. No two sites for golf are the same and every architect has a different lens on the world, therefore each individual course is a separate and unique expression of those who built it. The seasoned golf traveler is keen to this and through earned knowledge of the subject one can find a greater appreciation for all aspects of the game. The study of a course’s design should be a leading factor in choosing where to play.

Account for the history of a place.

History provides the context for how a place came to be. Strive to be a traveler who wonders why things are a certain way and you’ll find history has the answers. When traveling to a new golf course, a review of its history should always be the appetizer before the main course of playing there. Golf has long been a game with a reverence for its roots and an appreciation of its past. Many clubs and courses offer visitors the chance to learn their story and others can be found through simple research. To not seek such details is to willingly avoid the full experience. Not every great course has a long history, but those that do often offer a more interesting destination.

Consider the available accommodations.

The place in which you lay your head should never be an afterthought. Some locations offer luxurious quarters while others are more spartan, but I would suggest proximity to places of interest as a more pressing need. Look for lodging that serves as a window into the community or perhaps a room located on-site that may yield additional time spent at the course. The hotel by the highway may suffice for bedding and such, but a better experience can be found at the course cabin, bed & breakfast, or charming hotel downtown. Where you stay will dictate where you eat, where you drink, and where you roam while visiting a place for golf. With that in mind, be sure to choose wisely and aim for places that increase the odds of serendipitous discoveries and a better understanding of the destination.

The Aiken Golf Club by Dave Baysden

Making a decision on where to go is only the first step. There is also the matter of being in a place.  How does one compose themselves when traveling for golf and what should you be looking for?

These are my recommendations.

How to be there…

Observe the presentation of the golf course.

Golf courses are works of art constructed on a medium of grass. With a live and growing canvass, the state of a golf course is always in flux. Knowing this the golf traveler should make sure to appreciate the state of the course. The superintendent whose role it is to oversee the presentation of the playing surface is often times the unsung hero of the golf world. The agronomists that maintain the turf are essential to every pleasant golf experience and the traveler should take note of the conditions that were carefully arranged for them. Be sure to thank the agronomy staff should your paths cross while playing.

Speak with those who work there.

To best understand a place, one must speak with those who tend to it. The staff members of any golf facility are the keepers of valuable information and important details. Some professionals will offer delightful details about a golf course unsolicited, but others may require the spark of conversation. Engaging with staff is a wonderful way to make a new acquaintance while also seeking out the best ways to enhance your visit. Present yourself and your questions with a genuine curiosity and often times you will be rewarded with local tips, unique stories, or perhaps even a tour. These are the interactions that often lead to repeat visits and intimate discoveries during your stay. Travelers need not be shy, the staff is there to answer your questions and ensure you have a great day at the course.

Cater to the customs of the regulars.

When visiting a club or course it is best to try and enjoy the facilities in the same manner as the regulars do. Whether you are an invited guest or simply paired with strangers, be sure to yield to the resident customs. There may be a particular game you will be asked to join or perhaps the norm is to play from a closer tee box than you are accustomed, either way – go with the flow. Those who play there the most likely know how to play it for max enjoyment and as a traveler that should be your aim as well. You never know, by following the regulars you might just find something worth changing in your own golf routine.

Look for where the locals go.

When traveling for golf, the time spent on the course is only part of the trip. There should be dining, shopping, sightseeing, and other exploratory activities on the itinerary. Some research before your travel is critical, but more importantly, ask the locals where they like to go. More times than not the best places in town will be those which the residents frequent. This also holds true for golf. Be sure to save some time in your travels for the course you didn’t expect to play. A local recommendation can make for a splendid emergency 9 holes or a quick round before heading home. Ask around for advice on all counts of your trip and allow for pleasant surprises.

The Cliffs by Dave Baysden

The trip doesn’t end on the final green or even when you put the clubs back in your garage. Some trips never really end at all. The best travels are the kind which are permanently extended in our memories. The trips that change how we see things become chapters in our ever-evolving story.

Here are my recommendations on how to maximize the impacts of your travel.

What to remember…

Document your days spent away from home.

There has never been an easier time in history to chronicle your observations from traveling. Technology allows us to record the details of our trips via a wide variety of social media, applications, and other means. Of course, there is always the more traditional route of handwritten journal entries or even blogging. No matter your preferred method, be sure to take some time each day of your trip and make a few notes on what you have seen. There is great joy to be found in recounting your travels while reading the details of days gone past.

Take time to reflect on your experiences.

In many ways, golf is a meditation. Arranging your thoughts from a golf trip is a healthy way to find some peaceful appreciation for what you have seen. Beyond the time you spend on the golf course, it is important to set aside some moments for the quiet contemplation of your experience. It is in those minutes, spent reflecting on your trip, in which clarity can emerge in your thinking. Often times, I have found that my most meaningful takeaways from golf travel occur long after the initial experience has happened. Through a deliberate search of my thoughts, I find new ways of seeing the places that I visited months or years before.

Tell your friends about where you went.

Sharing the stories of your golf travels is an important part of being an explorer in our game. Please note, this is not an invitation to display braggadocious behavior. Your aim should be to provide valuable insights into the places you have been. Be a guide to those who may want to set forth on their own discovery someday. Do not instruct them, but instead offer some seeds from which they can grow their own ideas and opinions. Discussing a trip with those you shared it with or others who saw the same place on another occasion is one of the great joys of golf.

Contemplate how the trip has changed your perspective.

The best travels are the ones that change how you see the world. For golfers, that can occur in a wide variety of ways. Perhaps a course has shifted your thoughts on a particular architect or maybe a previously undiscovered golf culture made you swoon for a new city. The possibilities are as endless as your list of courses yet to be seen. The notes you write, the conversations you have, and the memories you make while traveling for golf all add up to shape your unique perspective on the game. When you think you have finally landed on a set of beliefs about golf then it’s time to hit the road again. The next course may just be the one that changes your mind forever. The only way to know is to go and once you’ve been, only you can determine what it all meant.

Kiawah River by Dave Baysden

Traveling for golf is a means for replenishing my soul. The game has always had a hold on me and with each trip I take I find new inspiration for living life as a golfist. Some places speak to me more than others, but with each new stop along the way, I find small traces of the games deeper meaning. For me, traveling for golf is a transcendent pursuit.

So my charge to you, my fellow golf traveler, is this – go forth and seek out the courses that call your name. Find the time to venture for golf and be sure to savor each step. Seek out stories, architects, history, and new scenery. Search for the places that will shape you for the better and never stop discovering what the game can mean in your life. There are many people who share your passion for golf and the best way to find them is to start looking wherever you may roam. Golf is a grand adventure, but it’s up to us to take it.

I hope to see you out there on fairways near and far.