If you’ve read Golf Digest on the web over the past years, you’ve stumbled across the work of Alex Myers. We at BG had always liked his production, but when I discovered that we shared an alma mater, I paid even closer attention. Recently, Alex sacrificed some time, post-Ryder Cup coverage, to answer a list of questions for an interview. He also sent along some images and a few video links. We’ve included the images amid the questions, and tossed a twitter post in at the end. If you love to golf (why am I asking this question?) you’ll also appreciate this piece on the most avid golfer around. Follow Alex on The Tweet and have a read of his answers to our questions.
1. Introduce yourself and tell us how you got started in golf
I’m Alex Myers and I’m an associate editor at Golf Digest. I first got into golf through my grandfather, who took me to mini-golf courses and then real golf courses when I visited him in Florida growing up. We used to visit in the summer and those early-90s British Opens and PGA Championships he’d have on the TV are my earliest memories of watching the sport. I got into golf writing my freshman year in college when I started working for the school paper at Wake Forest, The Old Gold and Black. After college, I took a sports reporter job at The Journal News, a Gannett newspaper in Westchester (N.Y.) near where I grew up. I enjoyed covering all sports (even swimming and gymnastics!), but realized I liked golf the best. I loved the game, but I also liked not having to write on tight deadlines at night!
2. You attended and graduated from Wake Forest. What was the golf vibe like for you there? On the team? If not, were you involved at all?
By the time I attended Wake Forest I was probably about a 15 handicap, so no, I was NOT on the team. However, I was fortunate enough to cover the team for the school paper (I signed up after hearing John Feinstein give a guest lecture!) all four years. The mighty Demon Deacons were ranked in the top five in the country most of that time, even ranked as high as No. 1. It helps when you have future FedEx Cup champ Bill Haas (a fellow member of the Class of 2004) winning 10 times in his college career. Unfortunately, Bill and the team never quite won an NCAA title, but it was fun writing about such a fantastic team. And Bill was (rightly) regarded as a superstar on campus. There’s a great golf vibe at the school and the weather (remember, I was coming from New York) is very conducive for working on your golf game!
I was extremely lucky to get my job at Golf Digest. Unfortunately, I was part of a massive Gannett layoff in December 2008, but on the way out, my sports editor told me to reach out to our golf/hockey writer at the time, Sam Weinman. She said Sam was taking a job at Golf Digest and he might be able to help. Those phone calls never seem to amount to anything, but three months later, I had an interview with Golf Digest and I got the job. I owe it entirely to Sam and being in the right place at the right time. I started as a part-timer, working a lot of nights and weekends, but within a year I became full-time freelance and eventually, I was put on staff. Seven years later, I can confidently say that getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me. Even though I have to work side-by-side with Sam everyday. Kidding, he’s a great boss, and it still blows my mind when I’m inside the ropes watching Rory McIlroy play or talking on the phone with Jack Nicklaus. I was very fortunate to get my job and I’m still very fortunate to have it.
4. What are your responsibilities at GD? We read/see a lot of your work. What skills did you bring in and which ones have you developed along the way?
I have a wide-range of responsibilities at Golf Digest. These days, you have to in this business. In addition to being the main content producer for the website, I’m also tasked with keeping our homepage fresh, monitoring breaking news at all times, editing and posting other writers’ stories, handling most of our podcasts, doing a weekly video and running the Golf World Twitter account. My favorite part of the gig is putting together my weekly column and video, The Grind. My previous job at the newspaper taught me how to write quickly and cleanly on deadlines, how to write for different platforms, how to report stories, and it gave me an overall good news sense. At Golf Digest, my writing has improved a lot, although I still have a LONG way to go. My creativity has also been encouraged and I’ve developed a good sense of what works on the web, which helps when determining what to write about/cover. Sadly, none of this has helped my ability to make fantasy picks…
5. You’ve had the opportunity, we imagine, to play some nice equipment and some nice courses along the way. What have been your most memorable pieces of golf equipment and courses during your time as a write/editor?
At Golf Digest, I’ve been very lucky in both equipment and courses. I’ve actually had editors take me to the equipment closet for replacement clubs when they don’t like what they see in my bag! As for courses, I never use the Golf Digest name to help me get on, but I’m fortunate to get invited by co-workers to some of the best clubs in the area. Playing Winged Foot and Country Club of Fairfield have been two highlights. I’m 0-for-2 in winning the Masters media lottery to play Augusta National, but I’m hoping the third time is the charm!
6. Which story that you have done has impacted you most? Can you elaborate on why? Following that, any stories that got away? Any that you dream about doing?
The story that impacted me the most was actually a series of stories I wrote during the 2015 Players on how NBC and the Golf Channel puts on its coverage. It’s not so much that anything I covered was groundbreaking or particularly moving, but it was a lot to do over the course of four days (while I was still covering the tournament in a traditional manner) and it gave me confidence that I can take on bigger projects. As for one that got away, I can’t really think of any, which indicates to me I need to be more aggressive and take more risks in trying to tell fresh and interesting stories. And as for one I’d love to be involved with, how can you not answer Tiger Woods or Anthony Kim? Getting the real, honest, complete story from either would be the ultimate scoop.
7. What’s the future of golf news coverage? We’ve seen a tremendous shift from print to digital, and wonder if we’re going to go away from reading toward listening.
The future of golf news coverage definitely contains even more video and audio, but I hope it never gets to a point where we aren’t reading anymore. Certainly, we’ve seen a trend towards shorter stories, especially on the web, but I also think there’s a place for longer pieces. I’m fortunate at my job that I get to be involved in all different types of content. Traditional game stories and preview pieces are becoming a thing of the past, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Readers have spoken about what interests them and it’s up to us to adapt.
8. What advice do you have for aspiring journalists? What courses should they take? Which life experiences should they seek out?
My advice to young journalists is to write as much as possible and be as versatile as possible. Start a blog, tweet frequently, get involved in a rapid-fire group email chain with friends, try doing podcasts or video, etc. Definitely write for the school paper. Learning through experience is better than learning in a classroom. Always be thinking and jotting down notes when you have good ideas. And be willing to take any job that will get you in the door. When I started at Golf Digest, I was doing all production work. It wasn’t fun, but I learned skills that have come in handy. There aren’t many writer/editor/producer positions out there in sports and there are even fewer ones that are strictly writing. If you want to work in sports, you have to be willing to become a jack-of-all-trades. Oh, and don’t be afraid to make contacts and ask people for help – especially when an ex-boss tells you to call an ex-co-worker! You never know what it might lead to.
9. Saved the best for last. Which question have we failed to ask, that you would love to answer? Ask it and answer it, please, and thank you for your time, Alex.
“Does Tiger have one more run in him?” I don’t know, but that’s what everyone seems to ask! No, seriously, I’d ask, “Why are some people so serious when it comes to golf?” To that, I’d also answer I don’t know, but at least, it does seem to be changing. I will never be as good of a writer as most of the people I work with, but I’m trying to find my own niche by coming up with fun content and taking a lighter spin on things (when appropriate, obviously). I’m lucky that when I want to write an “unauthorized history of Tiger Woods’ jeans” or rank the FedEx Cup champs bobblehead collection, my boss lets me. Of course, there are times to be serious and you need to find a balance. But I’m not chained to a desk looking at spreadsheets or constantly in business meetings like most of my friends. I spend my days writing and talking about golf. What’s NOT fun about that?