A review of Golf Digest’s 10 most popular long stories of 2021 doesn’t necessarily reveal the most “important” stories of the year. Of course, there were tales of Brooks vs. Bryson, takeaways along Tiger Woods’ long road to recovery, as well as a profile of one of the game’s most impenetrable figures. But the great golfing writing also transcends current events. Based on what resonated the most with our audience, it was obvious they also enjoyed it when we strayed from the proverbial fairway on occasion.
The most unique story we’ve made this year, and maybe even any year, is this heart-wrenching first-person tale from Joel Beall about a life-changing exploration that began with a harmless tweet. .
Apparently every year at the Masters we learn that a former Green Jacket winner concedes to Augusta National’s age and ruthless ground by announcing that he will stop playing at the Masters. John Huggan shows how these proud men come to a difficult decision.
This story from Dan Rapaport, who was also a popular local knowledge podcast, analyzes Scott Fawcett’s revolutionary and controversial approach to course strategy while also considering whether a more effective type of scoring comes at the expense of romantic appeal of the game.
Patrick Reed elicits a wide range of opinions, but the man himself has rarely been tasked with taking stock of his image and career. Max Adler sat down with the mercurial star to talk about his motivations and criticisms in this Golf Digest cover story.
Beall has proven to be adept at tackling the most important topics: mental health, inequalities, but also, can you really take more distance if you shoot a little jelly in the clubface? A fun but insightful pseudo-experiment ensued.
Through all the insane back and forth between these two dominant males, you’ve been forgiven if you asked: Wait, how the hell did this thing start again? Coleman Bentley offers this concise refresh on every lightness, real or perceived, of the ongoing saga.
Veteran golf writer Alan Shipnuck has long excelled at capturing the social dynamics of life for the pros. When the time came to explain why so many people call Jupiter, Florida home, he provided reasons beyond the 78 golf courses within a 20 mile radius.
Matt Rudy’s goal in interviewing Brooks Koepka for the cover of our Ryder Cup issue was to reveal another layer to a golfer who often lurks behind a gruff exterior. Koepka obliged, speaking candid enough to share nuanced opinions about the Ryder Cup that resonated in the weeks leading up to games.
Another sprawling interview, despite here being the most dominant figure in the game who hadn’t spoken at length since a life-threatening car crash months earlier. The Q&A was between Tiger Woods and our Henni Koyack, but Dan Rapaport provided context for Woods’ remarks and what they portend for the future.
The concept had been making its way into the Golf Digest offices for years. One of the best golfers in the world shows up cold on a skating course the rest of us play on. How far could they go? Cool idea, but it needed the right personality and needed to be captured in the right way. Bubba Watson ticked the first box, and Joel Beall’s entertaining tale answered the second.