Episode Seven – Evolution

I don’t think anybody would be surprised to hear that the professional game of golf is rapidly changing. It is bigger, faster, more athletic, stronger, more precise and a much bigger business. While many in the game blame the ball, it’s really much more than that.

Paul Stankowski won twice on the PGA Tour, in 1996 and 1997. That was also the beginning of the Tiger Woods era. Stanko joins the podcast to talk about how that changed the game, how different it is today, and how differently it has made him look at his own game.

We discuss the most important piece of golf technology, the rise of fitness and how a new generation of golfers tackle trying to win. And, please stick around for our tongue-in-cheek solution to golf’s distance “problem.”





Episode Six – Golf Media

This was a tough one to approach because of how embedded in the golf “media” I am and not wanting to be too much of a homer or critic.

I don’t think there is a sport that struggles with how to appeal to a wide range of audiences quite like golf. That isn’t a criticism of the golf media landscape, but a statement of the reality that those who enjoy and interact with the game are both young, old, affluent and not, sometimes in equal proportions.

To discuss how the game is covered and the challenges within, D.J. Piehowski joins the podcast to share his experience. Now a content creator for both No Laying Up and the Golfer’s Journal, his past with the PGA Tour makes him uniquely qualified.

  • Which player is the best at providing access?
  • How should TV improve its visual product?
  • Do TV ratings matter?
  • Which player is the most important to the game’s future success?
  • How do you balance edginess and not burning access?


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Episode Five – The Rise of TopGolf

Confession: I love TopGolf. I love that it’s fun. I love that it’s inclusive. I love that it is golf. I grew up with my parents taking me to the bowling alley on Friday nights because they were playing in a league with friends. Because it was their social/competitive outlet, it became a bit of a passion for me. (Confession #2: I once owned my own ball and shoes)
My interest in bowling even had me watch it on TV each weekend.

TopGolf is the modern version of the bowling alley. Anybody can do it, and you don’t even need to play golf. You can eat and drink while doing it. Etc. Etc.

But, TopGolf hasn’t stopped at the consumer, entertainment experience. In fact, the corporate philosophy has shifted as the consumer experience has led more people to playing traditional golf. With the acquisition of TopTracer, TopGolf is now a part of live golf on TV and, now, the technology is branching into traditional driving ranges and clubs around the country.

There is a lot on the horizon and plenty to learn about how quickly the popularity of TopGolf (and its products) has taken hold.

This episode features Ani Mehta, VP of Corporate Development for TopGolf, and discusses TopGolf’s role in growing the sport, technological improvements, early rollout successes and corporate responsibility.

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Please pass it along to your friends who love the experience!

Episode Four – Is Golf Healthy?

Yes, the NCAA Tournament is the next major sporting event to keep an eye on, but with the Super Bowl in the past, there is a gap in the sports landscape that needs to be filled. Is golf poised for a bigger piece of the pie?

With the help of Ryan Ballengee of The Golf News Net, we talk everything:

Is Jon Rahm becoming #1 so quickly a good thing?
What is the perfect number of players at the top of the sport?
How do economic changes impact the sport?
What is the equipment story of 2018?
Was JB Holmes in the right or wrong taking four minutes to hit a shot?

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Episode 3 – The Tiger Effect

This is a huge week in golf for a number of reasons, but the most notable has to be the return of Tiger Woods to competitive golf. As somebody who was standing there when Tiger’s glutes didn’t fire in 2015, I can confidently say that this comeback feels different.

Every shot will be tweeted and dissected, not to mention a countless number of polls and prop bets will have the entire golf community guessing what will happen. We shouldn’t care. The only person who is owed something from this comeback is Tiger himself. For what he gave the sport and accomplished, he should have the power to write his final chapters.

That leads to this podcast… I contend that professional golf doesn’t need Tiger Woods the way many in the media do. I also, however, recognize the power he has in every aspect of the sport. The Tiger Effect is real, but how real was it and what power does it have remaining?

With the help of Matt Adams (Golf Channel, Fairways of Life), we break down the numbers of how Tiger has impacted the sport and what this week could mean to its present state.

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Please subscribe and spread the word. Plus, if you have a suggestion for a future pod, please let me know. Thanks for listening!

Episode 2

I saw Dustin Johnson torch the field in Maui two weeks ago. To me, it’s hard to argue somebody is a better golfer in the world than DJ, but that’s what arguments are for. Is he the consensus number one? No, especially if you track the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. That would be Rickie Fowler. Rickie?! Yep.

Episode 2 of the Perfect Number Podcast explores various rankings of players, and chats with Lance Ringler from Golfweek. You don’t want to miss it. Really good stuff and a different way to look at how we measure success.
(Jordan Spieth should have been Player of the Year last year, not Justin Thomas. Listen and find out why)

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The Perfect Number Podcast

I had been toying with the idea of podcast for a long time and finally came to the realization it was time to take the plunge. But what do you produce to be relevant and not muddy the already-crowded waters?

I’m a bit of a geek. I’m definitely a golf geek. Why not explore my nerdy questions in a long-form program? I’ve been around the game of golf in so many different capacities that I feel my knowledge is dangerous, just enough to think I know it, but not enough to be a voice of reason. This podcast hopes to solve that conundrum by chatting with REAL experts.

It will be thoughtful, it will be deliberate and it will happen as often as something interesting comes about. Topics will include stats, analytics, fantasy, psychology, fitness and probably a lot more.

The first episode is here and I hope you enjoy it!


More Than My Pro

Two completely different “events” have converged in a perfect storm of my golf world this week. The first: I’ve been sucked into the social media war of words about proper golf swing construction and instruction. Primarily, it has centered around Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee’s various takes, many of which have drawn the ire of current PGA Tour professionals.

From an uneducated view – and having not read every statement – it seems the center of the argument is about letting naturally talented athletes/golfers (see: Woods, Tiger) use their God-given skills to be great, not deconstructing them into swing machines. I don’t know if that is a good opinion or not. But, it is a little personal for me.

I started taking golf seriously when I hit my teenage years. Working in the game at a local country club fueled my passion to play it. I swung hard, had a strong grip and putted with my right index finger down the shaft of the club. Quirky? Yes. Detrimental? No.
There were plenty of professionals who wanted to change some of those characteristics. My canvas was still relatively clean. The trouble was, it didn’t feel natural for me to do it. One pro steadfastly said he would work within my uniqueness and make me better AND comfortable at the same time.

That second event this week: That pro, Alan Schulte, is being inducted into the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame. One of the best players the state has ever seen, he was my first real swing doctor and the only one I’ve ever sought for swing advice in 20+ years since. I worked for him in various capacities through the years and was there for his first PGA Championship. Most importantly, he has been a great friend.

The moral of this story? In golf, don’t seek out professional help just for the answers. Seek it out for the relationship. The answers will eventually come, but getting stuck in the technical isn’t what the game is all about.

Right Place, Right Time

Every broadcaster wants a special game to call. You can’t control when you will get one, but you have to make the most of it when it falls in your lap. It’s icing on the cake when your stream-of-consciousness final call goes viral and inspires a bunch of online quotes. Once I get the DVD, I will clip this game in the Video section…

A Basketball State

Last night, Butler lost on the road at Indiana State, becoming the first ranked opponent to get beaten by the Sycamores in 10 tries. The last? Notre Dame in 2013, on the home floor of the Irish. Notre Dame and Indiana State haven’t place since. It’s likely now that the same will be true for the Bulldogs.

In a state that claims a sport as one of its most treasured exports, how the institutions that foster much of that love and history  have arrived at not playing each other is both sad and understandable. Butler’s presence in the game last night was almost a lose-lose. By losing, it assures the Bulldogs of a questionable (I won’t call it bad, yet) loss on paper, when analyzed, without much context, by the NCAA Selection Committee. Had they won, it would have been an overlooked W far removed from the “quality win” column the committee salivates over.

Nothing above is a knock on either program. It is a product of the system by which we field a tournament of 68 teams – the ultimate measuring stick of a program’s annual success. For Butler, a team that was clamoring for the power teams of the state to play two decades ago, a power move against such games is likely coming. It’s good business.

But we, as fans, don’t care about that business. We like our basketball homegrown. My fondest memories as a Butler fan (with radio/TV commitments, there are few) are road trips to Muncie, Terre Haute, Evansville and others at the beginning of the season to cheer on my team. Walking into a hostile environment to be that minority roar from the rafters. The talk was certainly trashy, but it ended with a high five after the game. Respect. We were different, but the same.

Aside from Indiana beating North Carolina, the two greatest men’s college basketball games played inside the state’s border this season have been last night in Terre Haute and Fort Wayne’s win over the Hoosiers last month. If Indiana and Butler fans can put on objective glasses for a moment, they could see what those wins did to keep basketball fresh, relevant and attainable at all four corners of the state.

Those games shouldn’t deter schools from playing each other. If anything, it should make them more prevalent. Will it happen? Probably not, but if it does, why not have it look something like this:

Indiana Major Basketball Programs (4) – Butler, Indiana, Notre Dame & Purdue
Indiana Mid-Major Basketball Programs (6) – Ball State, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indiana State, IUPUI, Valparaiso

[Before I get killed by my Crusader & Horizon League fans, let’s be honest – This categorization is fair, especially when it comes to tournament success, budgets, conference affiliation and rational thought]

Major vs. Major Scheduling
Thanks to the forward-thinking folks at the Crossroad Classic, and the fans showing up to produce money too good for the schools to ignore, this is already done, and is awesome.

Mid-Major vs. Mid-Major Scheduling
To a large extent, this already takes place. Valpo has games against both Ball State and Indiana State this year. IUPUI plays Ball State and the Jaguars have had series with others. There are also a couple of conference foes. But, all of it is contingent on staffs securing these deals. Let’s take care of that for them!
Every year, each team on this list plays four games against others, two on the road, two at home, rotated the following year for four true home-and-home series. 

Major vs. Mid-Major Scheduling
This may require legislative intervention or even an act of God, but for the sake of the sport, let’s make it work! To the credit of all the schools, there are games this decade, but not to the level fans would want. Forcing all six mid-major teams may be difficult, so I settled on a random rotation of four games in a four-year span:
Every year, each Major team will play four games against Mid-Major opponents, three at home and one on the road. It’s a four-year agreement that winds up being a 3-for-1 for the Mid-Major.

Keep something in mind before you think the idea is crazy: Other states mandate this happen. Wisconsin plays Green Bay and Milwaukee. The Iowa schools rotate annually.

Given the above hypothetical, we could arrive at the following non-conference schedules:
Indiana – Butler (N), Ball State (H), Evansville (H), IUPUI (H), Valparaiso (A)
Butler – Indiana (N), Indiana State (A), Fort Wayne (H), Ball State (H), IUPUI (H)
IUPUI – Purdue (H), Butler (A), Indiana (A), Notre Dame (A), Ball State (H), Indiana State (H), Valparaiso (A), Evansville (A)
Valparaiso – Indiana (H), Purdue (A), Notre Dame (A), IUPUI (H), Ball State (H), Fort Wayne (A), Evansville (A)
So on, and so on and so on…

To be fair, Valparaiso in 2016-17 may have scheduled better than what this provides. Having an all-everything player and recent run of success gets you more invitations, but would a home game against IUPUI be better than Chicago State? Would a road game to Mackey Arena be better than Oregon at the end of it all?
For the big schools, you’d hope season ticket holders in Bloomington would appreciate Ball State more than Houston Baptist. Wouldn’t Fort Wayne be a better draw at Hinkle than Central Arkansas?

It’s not going to happen, but it feels more attainable than not. Who’s with me?!