Golf is Everywhere – Tobacco Road

I fell in love with quite a few places in 2019, but nowhere has left as deep an impression on my golfing soul as Tobacco Road Golf Club. I spent the better part of six months working on a special project for The Golfer’s Journal in which we documented the history of this remarkable place. That story appeared in issue #10 of The Golfer’s Journal and included a companion podcast(see  below) featuring recordings of Tobacco Road’s designer, the late great Mike Strantz. While I was visiting the course for my story, I took a lot of video, but didn’t want to share it until after the piece had published in the magazine. Now that the story has been out in the world for a few weeks, I thought it would be great to share the video as part of my Golf is Everywhere series on Youtube.

I can’t think of a better way to close out 2019, then to share my video essay from Tobacco Road. The course, its designer, and certainly its owners and staff have had a huge impact on me and my writing career this year. That being said, I’m happy to share this latest video. Give it a watch when you can and if you haven’t had a chance to subscribe to my Youtube channel, I hope you will!

Cheers,

-J

Golf is Everywhere – Tobacco Road

The Golfer’s Journal Podcast – The Lost Strantz Tapes

 

 

Happy Trails Forrest Fezler

Forrest Fezler has passed away, but his impact on golf and on me will be felt for many years to come. I was fortunate to get to know Forrest in recent years and after a few meetings he agreed to let me tell his story. Forrest was a world class player, a risk taking entrepreneur, talented golf designer, and all around good guy. He lived a life in golf that was always played slightly out of bounds. Like his best friend and partner Mike Strantz, he was a maverick until the end.

I first met Forrest when I was President at Capital City Country Club in Tallahassee, Florida. Forrest had taken a liking to Capital City in his final years and we talked him into building a few bunkers for us. I had long known the highlights of his life story but I was curious to know more. We scheduled a lunch that turned into a long afternoon conversation about his career. That conversation led to another lunch and even more conversations about golf.

I asked Forrest if he would mind me writing his story and he agreed. Through a few months of chats and texts I got a great sense for who he was. The story became a narrative about his life, the life of Mike Strantz, and how the fates brought them together to build some of the most interesting new courses in golf. Together they made Maverick Golf Design one of the most cutting edge firms in the game.

I spent a couple of months building out their story and I couldn’t wait to share it with Forrest. The day I sent him the final draft was the day he told me about his tumor. I remember sinking in my chair when I read his message. I could tell it was a bad diagnosis from his tone.

Forrest was struggling to read the story due to the effects from the tumor, but he trusted me to go ahead and release it. I published the story and it quickly became the most read piece I had ever written. A few days later I got a text from Forrest. He had finally gotten through the story and he let me know what it meant to him.

This is what he sent me:

“It has brought tears in my eyes all night.

Especially reflecting on this new chapter in my life. Your kind words are more healing now than you will ever know or appreciate

That means the world to me.

Thanks for being there when I needed it so.

Forrest”

I’ll never forget that text and I’ll never forget my talks with Forrest.

I’m so glad that I got know his story. I found Forrest to be a humble man with many talents and someone who clearly loved everything about golf. He was a champion in the sport but he will likely be best remembered by friends as someone who championed them and the game many of us adore.

If you’d like to learn more about Forrest Fezler, his life, and career you can check out the story here.

The Maverick Lives On

Happy trails Fez. Golf will surely miss you.

-J