‘Golf is well served by pod­casts and there is huge in­ter­est in our sport’

Where else can you hear Har­ring­ton’s love for thrash-metal or Pep­perell’s thoughts on Nigel Farage?

Today's Golfer (UK) - - FIRST TEE -

Ipretty much live on a mo­tor­way these days. Not in the way that many might sus­pect – in a dingy car­a­van by the hard shoul­der, buf­feted by the draft of pass­ing lor­ries. Show­er­ing at Cher­well Val­ley Ser­vices and oc­ca­sion­ally steal­ing a pasty from Greggs. What I mean is that like many peo­ple these days I spend hours in tran­sit up and down the mo­tor­ways of the UK. It’s just a nec­es­sary part of the lives we lead. It’s cer­tainly part of the job I do and it is an enor­mous test of pa­tience and re­solve. I’ve heard talk of a small stretch of car­riage­way some­where that is not a 50mph av­er­age speed limit, but I’m not sure I be­lieve it.

The good news is that there are ways to make it all rather more bear­able and one of them is lis­ten­ing to pod­casts.

Now you may be en­tirely au-fait with the pod­cast­ing genre, in which case I am preach­ing to the con­verted. Or you may in­stead be in the camp pop­u­lated by peo­ple such as my mother – to whom pod­casts are just an­other part of that thing called “com­put­ers” and a bit of a mystery.

But pod­casts are a huge part of broad­cast­ing now. In a world where in­tel­li­gent speech-based ra­dio is in short sup­ply and the news is all too de­press­ing, they en­able peo­ple to tai­lor their lis­ten­ing more to their spe­cific tastes. And I’m glad to say that golf is very much on board.

I am duty-bound to tell you first of all about the BBC golf pod­cast, “The Cut”, which comes out weekly and pretty much cov­ers the year. Though we are tak­ing a break in De­cem­ber as my fees are start­ing to crip­ple the Cor­po­ra­tion. I’m told that if we went the whole year round, they would have to can­cel Coun­try­file.

It’s pre­sented by Iain Carter and my­self and is, in the spirit of all good pod­casts, just a chat about golf – a com­bi­na­tion of tour­na­ment re­views and pre­views, dis­cus­sions of the burn­ing is­sues of the day and a guest or two, all loosely tied to­gether in a fairly in­for­mal ram­ble.

It wasn’t the eas­i­est thing to get off the ground – sev­eral meet­ings and fo­cus groups had to take place be­fore those in power de­cided that golf was wor­thy of a pod­cast, but I’m glad to say that they did. The hard­est thing was then to de­cide on a name and there are still oc­ca­sional grumbles from those who wanted to call it “The Chip­ping Fore­cast”.

The key thing is that we get time (it can be as long or short as we want) with­out wor­ry­ing about the con­stric­tions of more con­ven­tional broad­cast­ing. And it also presents golfers more as they re­ally are. It is a far more re­laxed en­vi­ron­ment than a pre-tour­na­ment or post-round in­ter­view.

Yes, you can hear from the play­ers on their form, their coaches, in­sights from the Tour – the kind of re­ally good, weighty stuff that we are cov­er­ing this month in this magazine. But you are just as likely to hear the re­ally cru­cial news – that Mel Reid meets Rory Mcil­roy at her lo­cal su­per­mar­ket in Florida or that Ed­die Pep­perell likes to put but­ter in his cof­fee.

Ah yes – Ed­die Pep­perell… If ever a golfer was made for pod­casts then it is he.

I urge you to lis­ten to his ap­pear­ance on one of the other pod­casts I am in­volved in – the Euro­pean Tour’s “Life on Tour” pod­cast. Each episode is a fairly lengthy chat with a big name con­nected with the Euro­pean Tour. It might be a caddy (Billy Fos­ter, Fanny Sunes­son) or a rules of­fi­cial (John Paramor) but most of­ten is a big-name player. Those we have spo­ken to so far in­clude Luke Don­ald, Justin Rose, Padraig Har­ring­ton, Martin Kaymer and Pep­perell. For real in­sight into the mind of a golfer and the hu­man side of pro­fes­sional golfers, the Har­ring­ton and Kaymer ones are hard to beat. For en­ter­tain­ment on ev­ery topic un­der the sun, Pep­perell is the down­load for you.

The key thing with this pod­cast is that it gets proper time with the in­ter­vie­wee. Sit­ting down for an hour or so to talk about all man­ner of things as they take us through their lives on and off the course.

It can, though, go down un­ex­pected av­enues – Har­ring­ton’s love for the mu­sic of Ger­man thrash-metal band Ramm­stein, or Pep­perell’s thoughts on Nigel Farage. A live-au­di­ence edi­tion is planned for the week of the Tour Cham­pi­onship in Dubai, so by the time you read this I may well have been ei­ther sacked or ar­rested. The great thing about the pod­cast­ing world is the num­ber to choose from. Sky Sports pro­duce a reg­u­lar of­fer­ing and if you want a more transat­lantic flavour then there are Amer­i­can ef­forts such as “The Fried Egg” and per­haps the kings of the genre “No Lay­ing Up”.

I’m just glad that golf is well served and with the down­load fig­ures avail­able you can see that there is huge in­ter­est in our sport.

So try a few out. You might find them a wel­come es­cape and help you get your golf­ing fix.

Even as you do bat­tle with the Ed­die Sto­barts and the speed cam­eras of the M42.


Part of the BBC commentary team, An­drew Cot­tergrew up tack­ling Ayr­shire’s links and plays off 3. Fol­low him on Twitter @Mran­drew­cot­ter

An hour with a player gives a real in­sight into their per­son­al­ity.

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