Sports podcasts tend to lean heavily on loose back-and-forth banter between co-hosts who share laughs while delivering quippy off the cuff opinions and hot takes on current topics. Like most media entities, Golf Digest has dabbled in the audio streaming arena for a few years but has only achieved modest success in the medium. But now they’ve re-cast the die on their podcasting strategy by launching highly produced content that leverage the brand’s core storytelling strengths.
Hosted by Golf Digest writers Daniel Rapaport and Alex Myers, Local Knowledge has the feel of an NPR radio documentary. The first episode “Golfing While Black: The Inside Story of the Grandview Five,” features interviews with a couple of the African American women who had police called on them part way through their first round of golf at a Pennsylvania club they had just joined. Future episode topics of the biweekly show include an examination into how alcohol affects one’s golf game and a look at the infinitesimal difference between the world’s top golfers and those who are simply “very good” with insight from journeyman Bob May who was the runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla.
“The new strategy is to lean on our storytelling strengths. I feel like the podcast space has a lot of quick hit reaction and round table discussions which we’ve attempted as well. What we realized is that doesn’t play as much to our strengths as much as taking the time to tell stories in-depth,” says Sam Weinman, Golf Digest’s digital editorial director.
“The previous podcasts were very topical, knee-jerk reactions to the news and interviews with players and special guests. The new format is looking into stories and issues in-depth and really putting together a audio program that tells a complete story,” says Weinman.
“It’s not just an interview with player X, it’s several interviews. It’s using our own writers to report stories out, and leaning on their reporting to really tell a story in-depth, that’s where our strength has always been.”
Instead of just chatting up tour pros and shooting the breeze on current golf goings-on a la No Laying Up, Local Knowledge specializes in deep dives into evergreen topics with streamlined tightly edited episodes dedicated to expounding upon a single story or issue. There’s a clear intent to cater to golf fans’ more intellectual curiosities.
“I think what No Laying Up does is great, and they are a leader in talking about what’s relevant in the game right now and so I would say we’ll be competing with them in the sense that we’re another golf podcast, but we are taking a completely different approach,” says Weinman.
After listening to the new show, it’s undeniable that Golf Digest has elevated their podcast game to a new level. To put it in golf terms, it’s as if their earlier forays in the medium were mini-tour events and Monday qualifiers but after putting in the work to find their voice and amp up their strokes gained talking stat, they’re now playing in the big show.
Be Right presented by BetMGM is also part of Golf Digest’s podcasting rebirth. The relaunch of their weekly fantasy golf and gambling show under the new Elmore Leonard-esque sounding moniker brings on golf handicappers, gambling gurus, data scientists, and other experts to talk picks and provide golf bettors with actionable intelligence.
While Golf Digest wouldn’t disclose listenership goals, they currently attracts 5.3 million digital uniques per month across their platforms, and with plans in place to push their podcasts on the website, social feeds and email newsletters, the content will be served to a sizable audience.