Most golfers love to travel. To experience new courses and destinations, meet up with old friends or make new ones as they go. To explore the in-between journeys that traveling affords them. Perhaps no one has taken more advantage of the joys of golf travel than Matt Cardis, who joins Mitch Laurance, Darin Bunch and Kris McEwen on Episode 180 of the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast. Known to thousands of followers on Instagram as @GolfInYourState, Matt has logged more than 150,000 miles over the past five years in his quest to explore golf in America, first in his Toyota with a bed strapped to the top, and more recently in a home-on-the-road, fully equipped van that serves as both conveyor and mobile office most weeks of the year.
Joining the “Talking GolfGetaways” conversation from his van in true-to-form fashion, pulling over to a hotspot off Interstate 15 in Utah on his way to California, Matt begins the podcast by explaining how his love of photography, golf and all things outdoor sports, and with a background in advertising, led him to realize he wanted to combine it all and focus on following his dream of creating content that explored a deeper connection to the game. You’ll hear how a number of unusual souvenirs reflect his ongoing travels — such as his patchwork jacket (made of pin flags from favorite courses he’s visited), stickers and signatures on his van, and signed bills from people he’s beaten in friendly competitions.
Darin follows up by asking Matt to dive more deeply into the photography aspect of his newest career, and Matt shares a very personal philosophy that separates his sought-after photographs from others in the field. You’ll understand why spending days and weeks in one place is so important to him, about finding “the heart and soul of a place” and special rewards that come with patience — like the experience, suggested at the urging of now-iconic Sweetens Cove architect Rob Collins, of swimming through a flooded swale at the front of the 8th green while camping there for 17 days during the pandemic. Matt also describes how a worldwide traveler managed to make the most of a worldwide pandemic, using the isolation provided by golf destinations as a perfect backdrop for his months-long travel opportunities.
Mitch then moves on to Matt’s experience at Rams Hill Golf Club in Borrego Springs, California, a location that provided a monthlong home base for Matt a year ago. Matt describes how he randomly came to learn about Rams Hill golf while scouting the famous Borrego wildflower “Super Bloom” in preparation for a photography shoot. He talks about the special nature of the desert and how he came to love playing Rams Hill and wondering, “How can I get more people out here?” Fast forward to the present as Matt prepares to spend another month at Rams Hill to kick off the golf club’s 2021-2022 season, often camping off the beaten path where a now unused nine holes were once played and embracing the role of ambassador (or “Rambassador”) for Rams Hill, spending time with guests, working with the grounds crew and generally sharing his heartfelt appreciation of what Rams Hill has to offer.
The episode concludes with a discussion of a few destinations and courses that traveling golfers might want to visit during the upcoming winter months. You’ll hear why Matt recommends his own biggest surprise location in the panhandle of Florida — Destin, home to beautiful beaches and great golf. And why he considers Old Corkscrew near Naples to be a true hidden gem. The Dinosaur Mountain Course at Gold Canyon Resort & Spa in Arizona also draws a rave review from Matt, as does Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs, New Mexico — home to wild green complexes designed by Andy Staples and what Matt considers the epitome of a true golf community. Finally, Matt and Darin discuss the benefits of hanging out at Reflection Bay on Lake Las Vegas, which offers the perfect combination of fun, great golf and a location that’s close to the famous Las Vegas Strip and all its lures while being far enough away to find a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle.
Matt Cardis is one of the most thoughtful, talented and fun people in the game — and listening to this episode you’ll understand why wherever he chooses to go, thousands of his social-media joyfully follow.
—Words by Mitch Laurance