I play golf and watch countless hours on T.V. so that’s why I tuned into this much anticipated Netflix series.
While I’ve viewed every episode of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” about Formula One racing, I don’t exactly tool around in a multi-million dollar race car so I don’t relate to that sport anywhere near like I do golf, which I play regularly.
“Full Swing” is Netflix and the PGA Tour’s answer to “Drive to Survive”.
After watching the first episode (there are 8 episodes), it delivers big time.
In true golf fanatic form, I got up at 3:00 a.m. today (Feb. 15, 2023) to watch “Full Swing” minutes after it was released.
Here are some observations after watching the first episode and why you should watch “Full Swing” on Netflix:
For Golf Fanatics and Non-Golfers
You get a phenomenal look into the the PGA Tour and what it takes to win. Golf fanatics might be slightly disappointed as the series caters to non-golfers as well. The goal, I presume, is to engage viewers who don’t know a golf ball from a basketball. In episode one, CBS broadcaster Amanda Balionis-Renner articulates the basics of a golf tournament (four days, cut after two days, playoff formats, etc.) that your average golf fan knows by heart. Walking the tightrope to make the series interesting to both types of viewers was, no doubt, difficult, but the producers did an admirable job.
The stars of episode one are unquestionably Justin Thomas and his dad/coach Mike Thomas. While the cameras take you into the thick of the action at the 2022 PGA Championship on Justin’s journey to victory, the interviews with J.T. and his father give a glimpse into the anguishing mental side of what it takes to win, especially a major. Jordan Spieth, J.T.’s, best friend since junior golf days, is also an important part of the first episode.
Capturing the Big and Small Moments
It’s not just the big moments that are chronicled that make the series compelling, it’s the mundane activities that make things interesting. For instance, during the 2022 PGA Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the cameras follow J.T. into a CVS as he purchases allergy medicine. Also, the childhood videos of Justin showing the loving relationship between father and son and how golf has been such a central part of their lives are heartwarming.
Comeback For The Ages
Episode one plays out like a Hollywood script. Just prior to J.T. teeing off for the final round at the PGA Championship, an analyst states: “Thomas is seven strokes off the lead with a 1.2% chance of winning from that position.” In the dramatic final round, J.T. makes a furious charge up the leaderboard and wins in a playoff over Will Zalatoris. “Full Swing” captures the intensity of that final round in exemplary fashion.
Netflix cameras had amazing behind-the-scenes access never seen before. Perhaps Jordan Spieth put it best in a recent podcast when he said: “The cameras were there when you didn’t want them and they were there when you did want them.”
A variety of highly respected golf personalities are interviewed in episode one to provide insight on PGA Tour life, including Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee, Golf Magazine writer Dylan Dethier, Barstool Sports writer Dan Rapaport and golf instructor Sean Foley.
I’m already into the second episode, which features Brooks Koepka, and the editing of the series is really impressive. The seamless weaving of PGA Tour tournament footage, interviews with analysts and journalists and video of players in their homes and on the course is what makes this series so watchable and enjoyable. Can’t wait to watch episode three which chronicles the LIV vs. PGA Tour battle with Ian Poulter playing the starring role.
Here are the featured stars in upcoming episodes :
Episode Four: Joel Dahmen
Episode Five: Matt Fitzpatrick
Episode Six: Collin Morikawa and Tony Finau
Episode Seven: Sahith Theegala and Mito Pereira
Episode Eight: Rory McIlrouy