We all have mental pictures of what certain individuals might be doing in their natural habitat at any given moment. Bill Belichick hunkered down in a dark room Krafting his weekly plan of attack against (formerly) helpless opponents. Bryson DeChambeau slamming protein shakes while playing Fortnite with twelve-year-olds. Adam Schefter monitoring five Blackberry’s on a live ESPN broadcast… you get the picture.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Jay Revell or know his content, you’ll understand that he’s one of those characters too. Thus, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I called Jay to interview him for his new book only to find him taking a sunset stroll with his dog at his home course in Tallahassee – Of course that’s what he was doing – In my mind at least, that’s how Jay spends every moment of his charmed life. His relaxed temperament and overtly positive outlook only serve to strengthen my case that he might be the embodiment of what it means to be “living the dream.” If you throw his penchant for telling golf stories on top of a slow, mesmerizing southern drawl, I swear to you that you’ll consider letting him tell you bedtime stories as a form of meditation.
Before things get too weird… let me recalibrate and point out that first and foremost, Jay is an immensely talented and passionate writer. He’s been published in The Golfers Journal (numerous times), McKellar Magazine and GOLF.com – In terms of burgeoning golf writer’s not soon eligible for an AARP membership, he’s on a very short list.
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he seized the unique opportunity to self-publish his debut book; a collection of previous works titled, The Nine Virtues of Golf: Essays, Musings, and Other Contemplations On the Game. As Jay characteristically explained, “you gotta put your energy in places that are productive, if not, things can get bad.”
In a year in which nearly everything has been objectively discouraging, Jay’s book is a lighthearted and uplifting relief for those who love golf. In short, it’s a spirited walk through his personal experiences, recollections and theories from a lifetime spent in the game.
Before we get into the interview with Jay, I’d highly recommend you consider purchasing a copy of your own for two reasons. First, the book is a breezy read and I guarantee you’ll connect on a personal level to several of the stories and sentiments within the pages. Second, as an independent content creator myself, I like to support those who are putting in the time and effort to approach the game from a fresh perspective.
Don’t take my word for it though, Jay’s book has been the #1 seller on Amazon in the golf category every week since it was published and that’s no anomaly. With that said, here’s our interview with the author of The Nine Virtues of Golf and a friend of the program, Jay Revell.
First, I think we have to talk about the elephant in the room… Your excessive use of the oxford comma. It’s pretty clear you have a proclivity for unnecessary punctuation and I need to know why.
[Laughs] I went to a very small high school and was fortunate to have great English teachers. I had two or three over the years that really taught me how to write and that oxford comma habit comes from a collection of those wonderful ladies. You are not the first person to point that out, but I wear it like a badge of honor.
I enjoyed the chapter with Ran Morrissett (Founder of Golf Club Atlas) on pace of play. You talked about struggling to keep up with him – What’s worse… the golfer who plays too slow OR the golfer who plays too fast?
At my club (Capital City CC) I got the reputation of being the slow guy. At first you deny it but after a while you start to realize maybe they’re right. Since then I’ve made a massive effort to pick my pace up. I still talk too much on the course though. I was just on a guy’s trip to Streamsong and had a few buddies comment that they were tired of lookin’ at my ass all day. I was sorta proud of that fact but probably need to find a happy medium. There’s a point to be made for playing too fast, but when you’re a dad trying to squeeze golf in… slow play doesn’t cut it anymore.
One of the quotes talked about your golf habit “wiping away any hope of any spousal productivity” [in the instance you play midday on a weekend] – What if any advice do you have to other husbands on navigating the time commitment of golf inside the home?
You have to find where the parameters are and play within the windows of latitude. Sometimes you have to take five holes before dark and be happy with that. You have to really plan your hometown golf in advance as best you can. If you want to play on Saturday, you better be working towards it on Monday. You have to be very intentional about it. It helps to wash a lot of dishes, clean a lot of toilets and know a good jeweler and/or a florist.
You have a chapter titled “Golf in the Age of Fatherhood” which I have to admit, scared the hell out of me. Quotes like “long days on the golf course are an increasingly rare occurrence” – For those who will be becoming first time parents in the future, what sort of reassurance can you give that a baby doesn’t spell the end of our golfing lives?
First and foremost, there is nothing more wonderful than being a parent. Nothing can compare to a hug from your kid or when they call you daddy [s/o Alex C], it’s just the greatest thing in the world. The upside of having children is incomparable – In terms of the game, you start to find new joys in golf. Whether that’s playing “putt-putt” with my daughter Winnie in the yard or going for a walk with her on the course. It’s a blast. The other thing is when your time for golf becomes scarce, you appreciate it more. You appreciate every shot more. Every hole more. Time with your golf friends more. Everything about the game becomes enhanced by it and that’s a good feeling.
Legendary golf writer, Tom Coyne, wrote the foreword for your book. What comes to your mind when you hear the name Tom Coyne?
Tom’s been a real inspiration and I greatly admire all of his work. It takes a lot of courage to pursue a dream and some of the wild ideas like he’s done – We have a book festival here in Tallahassee and I was asked to throw out some ideas for authors to participate. I reached out to him and he said he would love to come down. We got to play some of my favorite courses in the area, including Havana Golf Club, where I grew up. As we parted ways at the end of his trip I had my copy of “A Course Called Scotland” and the helpless fanboy in me asked him to sign it. When I got home that night, I looked to see what he wrote and he said that he hoped that I would one day sign a copy of my book for him. That was really cool.
You have a blog, wrote a book and have been published in many prominent golf publications. When you have a concept you’re thinking about, how do you decide whether that’s fit for your blog or something you want published? Do you ever struggle wanting to own that material on your personal platform?
Definitely. You want to be published in reputable places because it’s a good way to grow your audience, gain credibility and confidence. I’ve tried to get published in a variety of outlets to diversify my portfolio. When I go talk to students at FSU, I talk about something called “luck surface area.” If you have an ever-expanding network, skillset and reputation… all of those things build you a larger opportunity and grow the chance of luck finding you – To your question though… it’s tough. You want some of your best work to live under your own roof, but ultimately, I’d prefer the longform stuff to be in distributed publications or books. It’s about trying to breed as much opportunity as possible. I believe one day the phone is gonna ring and there will be an opportunity I never could’ve dreamt of waiting for me. I have no idea what it’s gonna look like, but I’ve found that to be true in all facets of my career.
Moving away from the book… what’s the best thing happening in golf right now?
Probably the global pandemic to be honest with you. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but I think it’s been specifically beneficial to the game of golf. To really enjoy golf you have to be willing to be relaxed, be in nature and want to take a walk. We live in such a fast-paced world. In these last few months, I think a lot of people have come back to golf and seen that the game is a real joy. You hope that it turns into something that spurs long-term upward trajectory for the game.
What’s the worst thing happening in golf right now?
We’ve been watching Bryson beat the ball ungodly distances and I have no interest in that. It’s kinda worthy of a chuckle for a few minutes but it’s not anything I care to be invested in. The professional game has a lot to figure out. Much like the steroid era in baseball, after a while you start to feel like this power has cheapened the game. Golf has taken equipment and begun to bastardize how the game has always been played at the highest level.
If anyone comes across your content, it’s obvious that you’re an abundantly positive guy. You’re not necessarily a “hot take” personality, but I know deep down you have one or two in there and I refuse to post this until I hear at least one of them…
[Prefaces response with abundantly positive sentiments about golf] — I get heated when I see people attack golf, who don’t play, or haven’t taken the time to understand the game. That podcast with Malcolm Gladwell was infuriating and I’d always been a big Gladwell fan. When I heard that come out I immediately thought… if this is how he’s approaching golf, all the other stuff I thought highly of over the years is probably a bunch of bullshit. There’s a take for ya’. Like most things in life… are there bad things in golf? Sure. There are bad things everywhere. But there’s a shitton of good in golf and I like to focus on the good.
Gimme the elevator pitch on why someone should buy your book.
I think it’s unlike anything else that’s out there in golf right now. I have a tremendous admiration for the leading voices or influencers in the game. There are so many great contributors and they all bring something good to golf. I think I also have a voice that brings something good to the game which is different. I like to think that a Jay Revell story is generally reflective of how a lot of people experience the game. If someone wants to know why they should buy my book it’s because I think you’re going to find yourself somewhere in those pages. [This is true, you will]
You can find Jay Revell online and buy his new book by clicking the links below: