Jordan Spieth is like a lot of other golf diehards when he says he’s generally excited about the development of “Full Swing” — a new Netflix docuseries following the turbulent 2022 season in professional golf. And Jordan Spieth is like a lot of other diehards when he says he’s still wary whether he, a golf diehard, will enjoy watching the show when it debuts this weekend.
But there is, it should be noted, one noticeable difference between Spieth and his fellow golf fans as it relates to the Netflix show: he starred in it. Yes, Spieth was among the characters who elected to participate in “Full Swing” season 1, providing never-before-seen access to his life and relationships. And, as it turns out, the show’s pilot episode is based on him. But as he told Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz on this week’s episode of Subpar, he’s not sure he’ll be watching.
“I was just thinking about that. I don’t think I’ll watch the series,” he said. “I saw the first episode because I wanted to see it, but the next episode is like Brooks and Jena in their house, and I don’t really want to watch that. I’m just saying — I know the other guys. Brooks, I’m sorry.”
The problem with “Full Swing” among golf nuts — or shall we say perceived problem — is that the show doesn’t cater to them. Like the iterations following Formula 1 and professional tennis before it, the show was created for the beginner fan. Those who already watch a tremendous amount of golf, the theory goes, won’t have all that much to learn from watching a show documenting the golf they saw months ago.
It is true that Full Swing aims to document pieces of Spieth’s life that he already knows in great detail. But it also aims to show pieces of the world that Spieth knows nothing about — like Koepka’s defection to LIV Golf — which might prove compelling TV even for those on the other side of the LIV/PGA Tour fence.
Perhaps some of Spieth’s waffling is performative. It’s early to know how repetitive the show proves, considering only a handful of people have seen it. Our Sean Zak, who reviewed the full season earlier this week, says there are moments that make up for the tedium.
Still, while some of the show’s characters are uncertain about its watchability, some remain excited by its potential.
“For me, it’s cool to see JT and Jordan how I see them,” said Rickie Fowler, who participated in and saw an advance version of the show. “When we’re hanging out and messing around and playing practice rounds, what people don’t normally get to see. You’re going to see a lot more situations that you don’t see. Everyone’s used to seeing guys from Thursday to Sunday on TV, how they talk to media, but this is a little bit more of who the guys really are.”
Fowler has been an outspoken proponent of the show, and after having seen the first season, he remains one, even if he’s tempered expectations.
“I don’t think it’s going to have the effect that ‘Drive To Survive‘ has had for F1 as far as the growth and viewership and fans in the U.S.,” Fowler said. “But if we can tap into a percentage of that, it only helps us.”
Growth is ultimately the long-term goal of “Full Swing,” which is partially why so many of the sport’s most valuable stakeholders — from the PGA Tour to Augusta National — handed over the keys to Netflix. In framing the story for beginners, the show risks running some hardcore golf fans afoul, but the show’s producers hope it will open up the avenue for so many more to discover the sport in the first place.
For the golf diehard, Fowler says, “Full Swing” won’t be revelatory. But it will be worthy of watching.
“We obviously know and understand a lot of the stuff that went on last year, but I think hearing people’s thoughts and opinions more from themselves and the situations going on,” Fowler said. “That will be interesting just to see. We know how it all played out, but what was going on in day-to-day, normal life.”
To hear the rest of Fowler and Spieth’s Subpar interview, including their input on the eventual outcome of “Full Swing” and the shooting process, check out the link below.