Fairways of Life with Matt Adams

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Matt Adams is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning host on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio and golf industry executive. He has been called “the best interviewer in golf” by golfing legends, including Billy Casper and Gary Player. He has interviewed virtually every living legend of the game from Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson to Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Adams’ broadcasting talents have been featured on the BBC, ESPN, Golf Channel, PGA Tour Entertainment, and European Tour Productions, among others. Matt is a member of the European Golf Travel Writers Association, American Golf Travel Writers Association, International Sports Press Association and the Golf Writers Association of America. He is the former General Manager/President of Newport National Golf Club in Middleton, Rhode Island. Follow him on Twitter at @MattAdamsFoL.

Golfing Magazine caught up with the always busy Adams recently.

GM: So, what are you up to these days?
ADAMS: Since 2015, I have been working for NBC/Golf Channel. They have allowed me to work in many different areas as an on air host, analyst and reporter, but my primary assignments are Golf Central, Morning Drive and as the equipment expert, taking me back to my years in the equipment industry. In addition to this I continue to host my daily golf talk show, Fairways of Life. In late 2019, my twelfth book, The Golf Round I’ll Never Forget, was published. The book focuses on first-person accounts of some of the greatest rounds of all time from Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tiger Woods and more.

GM: Anything new in the works?
ADAMS: I am super excited about the new direction we are taking Fairways of Life. Almost two years ago I independently syndicated the daily golf talk show. Our objective was straight forward: where we had been broadcasting for ten years was a great run but the paid service only reached 10 percent of the listeners in the USA. We wanted to reach 100 percent of the USA and we wanted it to be free. By utilizing all of the new technologies and platforms, we were able to achieve free access to our daily live radio show, for free, in addition to being available 24/7 On Demand on a Fairways of Life app, website and every major audio platform around the world, including TuneIn Radio, iHeart Radio, iTunes and Spotify, among others. This had never been done before in golf and now we are available to over 2.5 billion people around the world!

The next step is that in January of 2021, we are doing something completely unique in golf media. During the lockdown we built a broadcast quality television studio in Orlando. It features multiple cameras and set areas with the largest set built to host a television simulcast of the Fairways of Life Show. We are currently beta testing these live broadcasts and while we have not told the world about this yet, friends and fans can watch these shows on our Fairways of Life Facebook and YouTube pages. This evolution for us marks another step that is a first in golf as there’s never been a daily, live, totally free, globally distributed golf talk show available in an audio and digital television format.

There are many examples of other golf media entities doing something similar in bits and pieces, either weekly or monthly, but we are the only ones doing it on such a scale and on a daily basis. It’s extremely exciting and the response has already been fantastic. The daily radio show had already become the most widely distributed daily golf talk show in the world and now we will achieve the same distinction on the television side. Our sponsorships are sold out and the technology allows us to broadcast from wherever we please, so we have broadcasts already planned from Ireland, England, Scotland, New Zealand and all over the USA.

Needless to say, jumping from the nest of a subscription satellite radio service felt like a risk, but it was the best decision I ever made as we are now on multiple media platforms, we totally control our editorial content and the show generates ten-times as much commercial revenue. It’s been a win all-around!

GM: Has it been difficult working in the golf industry in the year of COVID?

ADAMS: The difficulty of COVID was in the uncertainty and tragedy of those impacted. Thankfully, golf was quickly recognized as a safe activity and the game has boomed as a result. This was in spite of the fact that many tried to politicize the game in the election year, but as golf always does, it rose above the fray and it’s been embraced by the masses. One of the areas of challenge has been on the equipment side. Many of the big companies delayed or cancelled head orders from the casting houses and when the game went crazy, they could only get product at a fraction of the pace of demand. The industry is only now starting to catch up.

GM: Are you pleased with the way the pro tours have handled the pandemic? Why?

ADAMS: Professional golf and in particular, Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour, deserve great praise for the courage, foresight and comprehensiveness of their restart. There was no playbook to follow. They brought professional sports back and against significant push back from some in the golf media, they proved their decision to be safe and a great benefit to fans who finally had something fun and exciting to distract them from a flood of otherwise foreboding news. Brilliant job.

GM: What do you believe some of the highlights of the season have been thus far?
ADAMS: Using the definition of “season” very broadly, I’ve loved the variety of winners, young and old. Golf delivered dramatically, right down to Collin Morikawa’s PGA and Bryson Dechambeau’s overpowering triumph at the US Open. It only makes me more excited for the Masters in November and the conclusion of the majors on the LPGA!

GM: Do you feel good about the golf industry moving forward? Why?
ADAMS: I feel great about the golf industry going forward. Through the pandemic, many came back to golf and many others discovered it. With all the exciting young players and the flashes of glory from some of the legends, the game is in great shape.