Year in Review: The First Call's 10 top stories of 2021

Though The First Call launched in August, quite a few stories caught our readers' attention. We start counting them down to No. 1

On Aug. 9, The First Call officially launched and over the past four months has published stories ranging from course architecture to superintendents and from hospitality to product. Here are our top 10 stories of 2021.

FlagBag Golf Co.
Customers can submit their own pin flags for creation of a bag or purchase one that has been created in partnership with a growing number of clubs and courses.

No. 10: Brothers flying high with unique carry bag idea
Josh and Matt Smith knew their upstart FlagBag Golf Co. had arrived when they received a shout-out from a legendary broadcaster.
By David Droschak | Read

The West of Ireland Open Championship — Divot Bags
The simple process of repairing a divot can go a long way to improving the course you play.

No. 9: Golf Course 101: A user’s guide
The First Call's Bradley Klein offers golfers a few basic tips on how to take care of their course before complaining about course conditions to the superintendent
By Bradley Klein | Read

PopStroke, which has partnered with Tiger Woods and Bridgestone Golf, currently has two locations in Florida, but has plans for seven more locations across the country by the end of 2022.

No. 8: PopStroke not your Daddy’s miniature golf experience
In modernizing a longtime family pastime, PopStroke has created an experiential atmosphere that merges casual dining and technologically-advanced competitive golf
By David Droschak | Read

Herb Kohler | 2021 Ryder Cup
After solidifying The American Club resort hotel's presence, Herb Kohler turned his attention to adding golf courses. The Straits course at Whistling Straits hosts this week's Ryder Cup.

No. 7: Winning formula: How Herb Kohler succeeded in hospitality
The American Club resort hotel in Kohler, Wis., which this week is hosting guests attending the Ryder Cup, is operating proof that the third-time-is-a-charm mantra can be true
By Shaun Tolson | Read

Champions Golf Club
Champions Golf Club is one of only two clubs in the United States to host a men's and women's U.S. Open, a Ryder Cup and a Tour Championship.

No. 6: Why Jack Burke Jr., 98, finally sold Champions Golf Club
Sixty-four years since co-founding the famed Houston club, Burke sells to his son, citing youth as key to the club’s continued success
By Art Stricklin | Read

TaylorMade — Landscape
Golfers who identified as extroverts in a UK-based psychological study were not as selective in their club brand preference, though TaylorMade (shown) and Callaway did account for 40 percent of the sample.

No. 5: How your personality, not your game, may affect equipment buys
A research study of introverts and extroverts determines that a golfer's typology may be the difference in preferring a particular brand of equipment
By Ken Klavon | Read

Renovation at Eau Claire Golf and Country Club
From left, Rich Quisberg (Duininck Golf shaper), Josh Bullion (Duininck Golf construction superintendentt), Kevin Norby (ASGCA), Lee Mayer (Eau Claire Golf and Country Club board liaison) and Nick Peinovich (Eau Claire Golf and Country Club superintendent) review course renovation plans.

No. 4: The cost of everything just went up … if you can get it at all
From general managers to superintendents, hard decisions are having to be made due to rising prices across the board. How could that affect the bottom line — and you?
By Bradley Klein | Read

Golf Course Superintendent
The demands on golf course superintendents have been stressed by the on-going pandemic.

No. 3: How to make the course superintendent’s job easier
As the demands of the course superintendent's job increase, so do the pressures. The First Call’s Bradley Klein offers practical solutions to help ease the growing stress points
By Bradley Klein | Read

Inverness Club — 4th Hole Post Restoration
A view of Inverness Club's restored fourth hole that is more in keeping with the original design intent.

No. 2: Inverness Club: lessons from a proper course restoration
Led by course architect Andrew Green, the site of this week's Solheim Cup has not only been restored to its previous glory, but serves as a reminder for clubs looking to do the same
By Bradley Klein | Read

GCSAA — Superintendents

No. 1: Why golf’s toughest job is growing harder
A golf course superintendent’s job is never easy — and has been made even more difficult by the pandemic — but, as 'The First Call' columnist Bradley S. Klein writes, a better understanding of the role might temper what can sometimes be unrealistic expectations
By Bradley Klein | Read