Golf Digest

Golf Digest For Sale, Maybe a Refresh Too?

Eric Benzenberg News 1 Comment

Earlier today, the New York Times broke news that parent company Condé Nast plans on selling 3 of its 14 magazines, specifically Brides, Golf Digest and W.

While I can’t really comment on the other two, Golf Digest has been a staple in the golf community for more than 60 years.  So what happened to “#1 most widely-read golf publication in the world and the authority on how to play, what to play and where to play.”

Well, Condé Nast posted a $120 million loss in 2017 and, as a result, the company is looking to start implementing some cost-saving measures.  In addition to parting ways with the 3 publications, Condé is also looking into leasing at least 6 of its 23 floors at 1 World Trade Center.

Ironically, Condé Nast’s predicament is the consequence of something we’re all very familiar with: print media is dead.

With the boom in social media, more and more consumers are turning to other mediums, such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube, for their news, particularly in light of the near-instantaneous access to information they provide (in stark contrast to print).  That said, Golf Digest (presumably) would’ve been insulated from this major shift in light of the fact that the average U.S. golfer is 54 years old.  Right?

Well, some might suggest that Golf Digest brought about its own demise.  While having access to the hottest players on the PGA Tour and some of the best teachers in the industry, including Butch Harmon, Michael Breed, and Stan Utley, among its regular contributors, a lot of us have gotten fed up with their hollow promises of “Getting Better in 8 Seconds” or “How to Hit the Super-Soft Flop Shot” (which shot over the green every single I tried your “fool proof” tips).  I mean, if every Golf Digest article that promised I’d hit my drives 20 yards further after incorporating their tips actually worked, I’d be out driving Dustin Johnson.

Don’t get me wrong, I religiously check the Courses section whenever I’m looking at playing somewhere new, regardless of whether I’m looking at options in my home state or traveling somewhere for vacation.  And I know 99% percent of us have bought a new piece of equipment solely based on the fact that it was on the most recent Golf Digest’s Hot List.

But with the rise of more data-focused consumers and transparent websites like MyGolfSpy and Golficity, who’ve both repeatedly illustrated that despite what your heart (and marketing) tells you, the best way to determine what driver/fairway wood/hybrid/wedges/putter you should be playing is by getting properly fit.

In addition to being more informed before making equipment purchases, golfers have also increasingly sought to educate themselves with the endless amount of information (for better or worse) that’s readily available on YouTube and Instagram.

Online instructors, like the guys from Me & My Golf and Morning Drive co-host Travis Fulton, have provided DIY-golfer with thousands, if not millions, of swing drills and tips that address every swing flaw from the over-the-top swing to how to stop chunking your chip shots.  And while it’s great to read an article about how to fix these same swing flaws, nothing will ever replace a video that helps you connect the dots between what’s being side and how it should be done.

So where does this leave Golf Digest…  Honestly, I don’t know.  But what’s immediately apparent is that the popular magazine is very overdue for an overhaul.

Online publications and podcasts are clearly at the forefront, primarily because everyone is looking for something they can connect with.  You wan’t to listen to a fitness expert talk about bio-mechanics and the difference between flexibility and mobility, there’s a podcast for that.  Not your thing, that’s cool.

You wan’t to a podcast hosted by two normal guys talking about their golf games, the drills that help them, and some killer interviews, well I got the perfect one for you: The Golf Podcast.

So now it’s time for Golf Digest to find itself, and perhaps that means entirely reinventing itself.  Maybe that means exclusively focusing on its featured articles from Tour players like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Rickie Fowler.  Maybe that means something completely different.  Who knows.  But what I do know is that I can’t imagine a world without the annually updated America’s Top 100 Greatest Public Courses list.


Cover Image Via Instagram

About Eric Benzenberg

Ever since golf became a competitive outlet, nothing brings Eric more joy than a well struck 4 iron. And despite living in NYC, Eric makes it a priority to work on his game and fitness during the week, along with a round or two over the weekend. Fortunately, he’s got a very understanding fiancé who (for the time being) accepts him and his obsession. Follow Eric on IG @hozel_rocket.

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If “print is dead”, they why is Facebook starting a magazine? Print is a trusted voice in the the noisy sea of digital opinions.