Social media has connected us all to people worldwide who love the game and spread its values, enjoyment, history and fun to like-minded, passionate golfers. Episode 168 of the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast connects co-hosts Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch (as well as producer Kris McEwen) to one of the truly unique voices in the game: Durel Billy of Seattle, Washington, whose positivity, sense of fun and ability to guide a large number of followers through the ongoing ups and downs of the golf journey has made him a must-follow.
Durel’s introduction to the game and his contributions to spreading the gospel of golf as the founder of the APNational Golf Club, plus his work coordinating the Washington Golf Centennial for 2022, kick off our discussion with the man known online as “Billy Bogey” who has become popular through his years-long creative content. And then there’s the rising clamor for his “Bogey Chronicles” narrative on Instagram in which Durel ruminates on the game and its players as well as nudging golfers to play by what Durel feels are the unspoken rules of fair play in the game — all done with a sly, friendly, humorous tone and a quality that is instantly endearing.
Durel begins by explaining where the name “Billy Bogey” came from (“I make a lot of bogeys, not too many birdies”) and sharing the story of how he came to the game. You’ll find out why an old MacGregor 3-iron proved to be addictive, why the nine-hole Pacific Lutheran University Golf Course will always be special to Durel (though it’s now a parking lot), the courses that framed Durel’s early growth in golf, and what makes the Pacific Northwest the perfect backdrop for Durel’s ongoing passion for the game.
Next up, we discuss Durel’s personal must-plays in the Pacific Northwest — and you’ll hear why The Home Course, the former U.S. Open host Chambers Bay and Trophy Lake Golf & Casting Club are three favorites he immediately recommends to visiting golfers.
One of the ventures closest to Durel’s heart has been creation of the Atlantic Pacific (APNational) Golf Club, a series of events designed to foster community among golfers near and far, and you’ll understand why the success of the club so far, and Durel’s hopes for its future, are so important to him. He then talks about the building excitement for the Washington Golf Centennial celebration, coming in 2022, and explains his part in helping shape the events.
Mitch, Darin and Durel then talk about their mutual love for hickory golf, with Durel sharing how came to start playing hickories, why that particular aspect of the game is now the most important part of his golf life, and how the attire of the old game is his preferred wardrobe. Mitch closes this part of the conversation by asking Durel how his “Bogey Chronicles” on Instagram came to be — and the resulting story from Durel, and his description of an episode titled “Don’t be a Gimme Jimmy” (a favorite of both Mitch and Darin), will have you laughing and committed to following Billy Bogey’s ongoing master class in golf etiquette.
The trio then do a quick-hitting Emergency 9, where you’ll find out why historic Merion Country Club is Durel’s Favorite Course in the World, why Prestwick and the Old Course are his Bucket List Destinations and why the Lily Pond rooms at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort are the Favorite Place He’s Ever Stayed.
Durel’s Favorite Thing Ever Eaten on a Trip? The Bloody Marys at Chambers Bay. (A first win for any drink in this category!) His Most Important Thing on a Trip (other than golf and people)? Clubs arriving safely (hickories are precious) and, of course, the weather.
You’ll find out why Navy Blue Shorts fit alongside a 60-degree modern wedge and a Niblick as indispensable on a golf trip, what yardage Durel likes to play and why he feels his handicap with hickories is on an “elevator up.” And when it comes to great people he’s tee’d it up with, hickory collector Deal Hudson ranks up there with legendary basketball player Bill Russell on Durel’s list of Favorite People You’ve Played Golf With. And Durel closes with an “old guy throwing a club” laugh-inducing golf story, and talks about why wearing out his camera battery is a sign he walked away from a golf course impressed.
After you experience Durel’s enthusiasm, passion and wisdom, you’ll understand why his is a contagious presence, one that you’ll no doubt want to feel more often, either online or in person (if you’re lucky). Enjoy the connection.
—Words by Mitch Laurance