“We didn’t set out to make history. It just happened, one episode at a time.” —Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch
History indeed. That’s right, against all odds we’ve hit the magic 100-episode mark of the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast on the Golf News Net platform. And in this “historic” episode (presented by 2UNDR Apparel, use promo code GNN20 to save 20 percent on your order), who better to help Mitch and Darin celebrate than someone who embodies the spirit of golf adventure worldwide? That’s right, Matt Ginella — the traveling face, heart and soul of the game found on screen at Golf Channel and on the web at GolfAdvisor.com.
It’s not an understatement to say this “supersized” episode has pretty much everything, with an emphasis on affordability for the value-seeking golfer: Southern California short courses such as The Loma Club and Goat Hill Park; Great 9-holers like Florida’s Winter Park and Tennessee’s Sweetens Cove; Favorite under-the-radar Scottish courses; and Matt’s recent honorary membership at Northern Ireland’s Ardglass Golf Club, where the castle clubhouse dates back to the early 1400s. Plus a detailed discussion about Matt’s “Value Golf Ladder” piece on GolfAdvisor.com.
But more importantly, this 100th episode is a discussion about the heart of golf travel and the passion behind our journeys — why we are excited to live in this incredible time of varied golf options and why each new adventure (plus interactions with viewers, listeners and social media followers) inspires Matt to explore new golf-travel horizons, whether they be full-blown golf destinations or lesser-known municipal and community courses that have earned their way onto must-play lists. And while Matt credits friends such as John Ashworth for his work in turning Goat Hill Park around and architects Keith Rhebb and Riley Johns (and the local support) for their commitment to creating a true haven of public golf with the Winter Park 9, he also dives into a fascinating discussion about using his platform to help “shine a light” on these success stories in hopes others will follow suit with forward-thinking projects that place fun, interesting, affordable golf at the core of more communities.
One such example Matt highlights is the recent opening of “The Cradle” in North Carolina, crediting the Pinehurst Resort team for expanding the golf experience with its new 9-hole short course designed by Gil Hanse (as well as the commitment shown by relocation of the Thistle Dhu putting course and a few holes on Pinehurst’s other courses). Matt calls the project “a revolution” that drives to the heart of making the game more accessible to many golfers who might not want (or be ready for) a full 18-hole “big course” experience. And you’ll be swept away by his passion in discussing how that philosophy could benefit many resorts and destinations across the country.
The episode closes with a bit of personal reflection and a nod to the future as Matt is asked whether, once his traveling days come to an end, he thinks he might be interested in developing his own golf course — putting all the knowledge and experience he’s learned over many years on the road for Golf Digest and Golf Channel into a project he can call his own. The heartfelt answer includes perspective on his life, family and rigorous travel — and how, despite his newly extended Golf Channel contract, he cherishes every round of golf as though it might be his last visit to that very spot on the globe, wherever he might be. It’s a beautifully fitting and perfectly spiritual end to our 100th “Talking GolfGetaways” episode, and words to live by as we embark on our next 100 episodes.
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“Talking GolfGetaways with Mitch Laurance & Darin Bunch” is sponsored by 2UNDR.com (#AssetManagement) and can be found on GolfNewsNet.com and across the Golf News Net platform. New episodes post semi-regularly (for the most part, except when we’re traveling or golfing or generally having other kinds of fun). “Talking GolfGetaways” is also available on audioBoom, iTunes and Stitcher.
Follow us on Twitter @GetawaysGolf and @MitchLaurance, and use #TalkingGolfGetaways and #2HaggisBags to hit us with your favorite golf-travel stories and recommendations — you just might make it onto a future episode of “Talking GolfGetaways.”