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The Challengers Brendon Thomas

  • On screen text: Charles Schwab Presents

    Brendon Thomas: We believe that if you make something that’s worth keeping, people will pay for it.

    On screen text: The Challengers
    A series about people who QUESTION. ENGAGE. SUCCEED
    Brendon Thomas

    Brendon Thomas: My name is Brendon Thomas. I’m the publisher of The Surfer’s Journal and the founder of The Golfer’s Journal. It’s not immediately obvious how golf and surf are connected. One is fluid and moving really quickly, and you’re reacting to the changing environment. Golf, you’re standing over a stationary object, but you’re still in the elements. You’re still factoring in the wind, the atmosphere, the same way you would in surf.

    Brendon Thomas: You’re out in nature, there’s a lot of downtime between activity, between hitting a ball, between catching a wave. And I think those similarities are very important, being able to surrender your mental space to the environment and be present in the moment. As surfers, we see ourselves as part of a tribe. And golfers are part of a tribe as well. Golfers have their own culture, their own art, their own lingo. It’s very much a shared identity that I don’t think is celebrated enough. There’s so many interesting people that play the game.

    Brendon Thomas: How’s it going boys? And so the idea of the Journal is to really unearth those people, and bring together, and connect them. One of my core beliefs and something I always tell my staff is you have to build the world you want to live in. And the question we kept asking ourselves is, "How can we make golf the way we want it to be?"

    Spoken on screen text: How can we make golf the way we want it to be?

    Brendon Thomas: And we wanted to speak to these passionate people who love the game as much as we do and find ways to harness their collective energy to help direct the future of the game.

    Brendon Thomas: So back in early 2017, I was friends with Scotty Cameron. We had played a lot of golf together. One day, I decided to pitch him on this idea I had. It was supposed to be an hour long discussion, and three and a half hours later he said, "If you build it, I’ll support it." And that was really a push that I didn’t expect to get. So I went home, regained my composure and then showed up at LINKSOUL and told them my idea.

    Geoff Cunningham: My name’s Geoff Cunningham, I’m the co-founder and art director of LINKSOUL. I’ve always been a big follower of The Surfer’s Journal. And so when Brendon contacted me, it kind of felt like I was meeting a celebrity of some sort, somebody who I thought it was really cool. He came to John and I to see if he was crazy for thinking that he could start a magazine that was The Surfer’s Journal of golf.

    Geoff Cunningham: To start a magazine in the middle of social media, you’d have to be as crazy as Brendon. You’d have to be very creative, very innovative, and calculating, smart, and driven. The logo, it was his idea, and it’s one of my favorite logos that I’ve ever worked on. It’s a great symbol in golf, that captures the soul of the game. I finally found the tee at Goat Hill Park. One of my morning walks and kind of knew it was the one.

    Brendon Thomas: In the beginning, I did a bit of everything. We had no venture capital.

    Spoken on screen text:I was doing the social media. I was selling ads. I was writing features.

    Brendon Thomas: And my editor Travis Hill, was on the other coast, so we really scrapped it together. The photography in The Golfer’s Journal was actually one of the biggest challenges initially. Everywhere I looked, the photography had a certain aesthetic. So we went out and got photographers who don’t play golf, and we sent them into this foreign landscape to capture the game. What we got back was just completely different to what you see everywhere else.

    Brendon Thomas: The book is the backbone of the whole enterprise. As we move increasingly into the Metaverse, physical things that are tangible are super important. And I think that’s what people love so much about the journal is that we paid so much attention to the construction of it. We do things like spot varnish all the images, so the images really pop. We do things that you can’t really do in the digital realm, not crammed between ads. The story warrants 30 pages in the book, it gets 30 pages in the book. I mean, really let every story be told to its full extent. And I think that’s what separated us. It separates us now.

    Brendon Thomas: Something that I’ve come to realize over the course of starting this business, is that the quality of your life is almost entirely dependent on the quality of your mind. People talk about the work-life balance. I don’t really into that analogy. I don’t think you need to balance it. I think of it more as a flywheel. If your work inspires you and gives you fulfillment, then you are energized and you’re better at home, and your home life can inspire your work life.

    Brendon Thomas: And the more attention and mindfulness that you bring to each of those situations, the better your whole life’s going to be. The more I’ve worked on that, the more I’ve been able to manage my time, and manage a couple titles, startup that requires a lot of energy and attention, and family that I love and giving them the time that they deserve.

    Brendon Thomas: I think the initial question was always, how can we tell golf stories differently? We’re telling human interest stories as much as We’re telling golf stories. And I think that connects with a lot of people. So the answer to that question was yes, there was a different way to tell golf stories and We’re doing it.

    On screen text: ASK QUESTIONS. BE ENGAGED.

    [Charles Schwab logo] Own your tomorrow.

    Brendon Thomas: People have told me on more than one occasion now, that they’ve fallen back in love with the game because of The Golfer’s Journal. And that, to me, is the most rewarding thing to hear.

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    On screen text: Thanks to:
    Thanks to Goat Hill Park Golf Club
    John Ashworth

How can we make golf the way we want it to be?

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