Netflix just surprise-revealed ‘Full Swing’ viewership. Here’s what we know

two netflix executives stand in front of screen with logo at Full Swing premiere party

In a surprise, Netflix dropped its 'Full Swing' viewership data.

Getty Images/Daniel Boczarski

Well, would ya look at that? Christmas came early.

On Tuesday morning, Netflix released viewership data for the first time ever, providing a rare glimpse into the back-end data that powers the world’s largest streaming giant. The data drop, titled “What We Watched: A Netflix Engagement Report,” offers a look into some 18,000 titles that appeared on Netflix worldwide between January and June of this year — a group that includes, interestingly, the hit golf docuseries “Full Swing.”

According to the report, “Full Swing” season 1 was watched for some 53.1 million hours between its launch in February and the end of June — a total that made it the 267th most-watched title on Netflix in that same period.

Now, those numbers might sound low, but they fall somewhere on the plus-side of expectations for the show, watched by roughly half the audience of the new season of the more popular sister show “Drive to Survive,” (53.1 to 90.5 million) but nearly double the first season of the tennis docuseries “Break Point,” (30.5 million) which debuted at roughly the same time as its golf counterpart and was seen as a natural running mate. All three shows were picked up by Netflix for another season in 2023, and each performed well relative to other well-touted docuseries on the platform during the same time.

These numbers come as welcome news to golf’s stakeholders, none of whom had access to Netflix’s streaming data until around the time of this week’s release. According to those the Hot Mic spoke to within the industry, Netflix expressed excitement about the series in the weeks following the show’s release, but did not share any detailed viewership data with the PGA Tour and others. The show, an eight-episode documentary-style series that captured the turbulent 2022 season in professional golf, arrived to much fanfare in the weeks following its debut, but its commercial success was a mystery until it was picked up for a second season by Netflix the following month.

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Of course, there were other ways of measuring the show’s success. Viewership aside, Netflix’s 230+ million worldwide subscribers proved ample audience incentive for golf’s stakeholders to jump aboard, even if precise viewership data remained a mystery. And, as the PGA Tour and others touted, “Full Swing” appeared on various worldwide Netflix “Top 10” lists and its subjects witnessed meteoric rises in social media followings and sponsor interests. Those achievements were worth noting, but they pale in comparison to the kind of balls-and-strikes reporting Netflix released on Tuesday.

As for what the reporting means to those in golf, the news is mostly good. The hope upon the debut of “Full Swing” was that the show would help to propel a new audience of fans towards golf, and that thesis is largely proved true by viewership data. If every audience member watched “Full Swing” in its entirety and only once — a statistical impossibility, but worth using for the sake of demonstration — the show would have reached some 6.63 million viewers in just the first four months of its existence. That would easily make it one of the most-watched pre-produced golf shows ever. For context, only the Masters and its 12.1 million viewers averages a higher total than that number. Of course, that’s just a hypothetical — the real number of total viewers is likely much higher, the retention is likely much lower, and “averages” and “total audiences” are apples and oranges — but these broad-strokes numbers help to evidence why Netflix appeals to golf.

And in the case of golf’s appeal to Netflix? Well, that’s another thing entirely. The streaming giant was careful to state in its release on Tuesday that viewership data is not a definitive predictor of success.

“Success on Netflix comes in all shapes and sizes, and is not determined by hours viewed alone,” Netflix said. “We have enormously successful movies and TV shows with both lower and higher hours viewed. It’s all about whether a movie or TV show thrilled its audience — and the size of that audience relative to the economics of the title.”

True as that may be, it’s hard to see how Netflix would be anything other than thrilled with the performance of “Full Swing” in only its first season. Fifty million hours consumed in less than five full months — a number comparable with shows like “Suits” (season 5) and “Better Call Saul” (season 1) — represents a tremendous audience size, while data showing the popularity growth of those who participated in the show speaks to the depth of engagement. For those worried that “Full Swing” may not last, at least the first data seems to show audiences are still willing — and hungry — to tune in.

In short, it’s a very good week to be part of the cast and crew for “Full Swing” season 2. The show is in its final edits now, and is expected to debut to audiences everywhere — and evidently, big audiences — early next year.

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at