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full swing season two

New stars, but old problems! Assessing Season Two of Full Swing on Netflix

Season two of Full Swing on Netflix was fun and enjoyable, but there were still some teething issues on the mind of NCG’s Matt Chivers…

 

It’s here! Season two of Full Swing has arrived on our Netflix screens.

It soon became obvious when the first season was being filmed in 2022 that the popular streaming service chose no better time to film a docu-series about golf.

The rise of LIV Golf and the tension between the breakaway league and the PGA Tour dominated the first series.

We were introduced to household names but also stars that casual fans probably weren’t aware of such as Joel Dahmen and Sahith Theegala.

Season two features this mixture again with new faces entering the fray.

As a die-hard golf fan and writer, some elements of Full Swing are great, but some elements are difficult to swallow, so I aim to summarise this below.

tom kim

ALSO: Rory McIlroy’s rage over PGA Tour-LIV merger caught on Full Swing series

Here are three things I enjoyed about Full Swing Season Two:

Episode three is as authentic as it gets

Joel Dahmen and his caddie Geno Bonnalie are the stars of the show. Dahmen shot to superstardom in season one with both his quality on the course and his outgoing personality off it. The pair are inseparable, and this was made even clearer in season two.

Bonnalie implored Dahmen to visit a sports psychologist after his form dipped on the PGA Tour and his alcoholic antics away from the fairways increased. Bonnalie even threatened to part ways with his best friend if he didn’t take these measures.

The scene on the private jet between the American pair where they are overcome by emotion and reach what seemed a crossroads moment is astonishing and it is as if no cameras are there.

Both the PGA Tour and Netflix have struck gold with Dahmen and Bonnalie. Dahmen describes how his life has changed since the first chapter of Full Swing and how this affected his career.

Recruitment of new stars

I was really pleased with the inclusion of Tom Kim, Rickie Fowler, Wyndham Clark and Alex Fitzpatrick.

These are all the types of characters you must include in this type of show to make the sport appealing to casual fans who are only familiar with the big names.

Episode four is genuinely hysterical. Kim is making his first visit to Augusta National for the Masters. He gets lost in the clubhouse and his ironic wave to Scottie Scheffler in the car park, the defending Masters champion, had me in stitches.

In episode two, Fowler is introduced as a new protagonist with his slump in form on the PGA Tour being a key talking point. Before winning the RSM Classic in July, he had been winless since February 2019.

Part of Fowler’s resurgence can be attributed to reigniting his relationship with legendary golf coach Butch Harmon, who has always been an engaging, insightful character on television broadcasts too.

The Fitzpatrick family are absolute gems and we are lucky to have them as part of the game. After season one showed Matt winning the US Open, season two showed Alex playing on the Challenge Tour and at Final Qualifying for The 151st Open.

The access Alex and Matt, and the family as a whole, allow Netflix in episode five is admirable and the footage is so fun. To watch Alex toil on a developmental tour while his brother wins the RBC Heritage against Jordan Spieth on the PGA Tour, the contrast is presented perfectly.

Wyndham Clark’s introduction to Full Swing was emotional and insightful. The programme showed him in turmoil, but then becoming a major champion at the US Open with the help of sports psychologist Julie Elion.

After coping with the death of his mother Lise in 2013, it was presented as if Elion had become a mother figure to Clark in helping him reach the pinnacle of the game at Los Angeles Country Club.

The Ryder Cup captured like never before

The on-the-ground footage during the Ryder Cup is excellent. The cameras followed the players up their backsides all over the golf course, as well as tracking behind-the-scenes footage of the captains and players travelling to and from Marco Simone.

Scenes we hadn’t seen concerning Shane Lowry and Joe LaCava on the 18th green in the infamous row on day two of the tournament were great, but the lead-up to the event that was held at the end of 2023 in Rome was superb.

Hats off (if you pardon the pun) to Keegan Bradley who allowed the camera into his house to ultimately film his captain’s pick rejection call from Team USA leader Zach Johnson.

He was not guaranteed to be chosen for the American team, yet he still agreed to allow Netflix to film his reaction, while the cameras also saw the jubilant reactions of Fowler, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.

full swing season two

Here are three things I didn’t enjoy about Full Swing Season Two:

The hyperbole is unbearable

As a person who covers golf almost every day of the week, it is difficult to cope with the exaggeration of certain storylines that casual golf fans almost certainly won’t pick up on.

The rivalry between PGA Tour players and LIV Golfers at the Masters is completely blown out of proportion. Although there was intrigue to see how players would greet each other in Georgia, there was little expectation of fireworks or genuine tension.

Then there was Barstool Sport’s Dan Rapaport who claimed the performance of the PGA Tour players at the 2023 US Open put the circuit in “a strong position” as negotiations with LIV Golf’s chief investors continued.

I am not criticising anyone with this point but I just don’t think these types of statements reflect what was actually happening in the game.

In episode two, the commentary team claimed Fowler was the “biggest needle mover in the game right now” since Tiger Woods. Again, Fowler is an extremely popular player, but can we be real for a second?

Kim’s debut at the Masters was almost presented as a life-and-death situation if he didn’t win despite being just 21 years old, so these were some of the teething issues which I found frustrating in season two.

The chronology issue still remains

In the first season, the episodes jumped forward and backwards in time between the major championships quite often, which was a source of frustration for some golf fans.

I felt this wasn’t as bad in season two, but it was still an issue and could potentially always be an issue with the show bouncing from player to player who experiences highs and lows at different stages of the year.

We see Fowler almost win the US Open in episode two, but by the time we have come around to Clark’s story in episode three, we already know he is crowned champion, so the suspense and the edge are somewhat muted for casual fans who might not’ve known the outcome in the first place.

LIV Golf is rarely included

Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson are substantially included in season two, but they are the only two LIV Golf representatives who are given air time, with the odd snippet here and there of LIV Golf tournaments and news bulletins.

This could be for one of many reasons though. The players have a choice to involve themselves and you cannot expect all of them to allow Netflix into their homes.

But it is primarily a PGA Tour-based programme and a major-based programme. Of course, the framework agreement between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf is covered, but I feel we are predominantly shown one side of the professional fence and not the other.

Rory McIlroy, Fowler, Thomas and Spieth are players who feature heavily in the series, but it would be interesting to hear more from the likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith and Patrick Reed.

NOW READ: It’s over! LIV Golf gives up chase for world ranking points

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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