Brent Kelley- The Unknown Expert.
Brent Kelley Interview
By Kickntrue on 8/11/08
By Mallory, oobgolf intern
I had the pleasure to interview About.com's Golf Guru Brent Kelley. Never heard of him? You should learn. He provides thousands of pages of knowledge and information at About.com that is read by millions. He also has a blog that he updates frequently. Here is our back and forth.
What does your typical day look like?
It looks like a computer screen. Because I spend most of the day staring at one.
I work out of a home office, so I crawl out of bed, stumble downstairs, plop down in front of the computer and get to work. There is a checklist of minor daily chores relating to golf.about.com that I start each day with - housekeeping, so to speak. Then I move on to the "to do" list. I've been with About.com for nearly six years now, and the strange this is, my "to do" list just keeps getting longer, not shorter ... Golf is a big subject! I'm often working on one or two major projects while also making smaller updates and additions in reaction to what's currently happening in the golf world.
Do you ever wish you received more recognition for your amazing work or do you prefer being out of the limelight?
I'm definitely a behind-the-scenes guy, which is one reason I enjoy the online world so much. If other golf Web sites and golf bloggers find golf.about.com useful, and feel it is worth linking too, or recommending it to their readers, well, that's all the recognition I need. (And thanks to all the great bloggers and webmasters out there who have done that.)
I'm just lucky enough to work for a great company that allows its "guides" (there are around 750 of us in the network) much freedom to run our sites, and lots of support to get the job done.
Do you perform all of your own research or do you have someone to help you with it?
The "staff" is just me.
But there are many people who have contributed guest content for us, from teaching pros to readers sending in photos. Michael Lamanna, director of instruction at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, has written a few of the most popular articles on the site, and also shot some very popular instructional videos. We have tons of photo galleries - golfers and golf courses - and many of those photos were submitted by readers.
I also get a lot of help from the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and USGA media departments. Magazine archives are a goldmine. And there are Web sites like golfstats.com that are invaluable for research purposes.
How often do you get out on the course? Are you any good (we had to ask)? :)
The last few years, only a handful of times per year. And most of the rounds I have played in that time period have been solo, on chilly, wet winter days when the course was deserted, so I could finish up in two hours and get back to my office before anyone realized I was gone.
And, uh, what was the second part of the question? Um, I'm sorry, didn't catch that one ... uh ...
OK, OK, I'll answer it: No. I used to be a low handicapper, but that was many years (and many pounds) ago. Occasionally I'll show flashes of that former form, but just don't play enough anymore.
Do you still enjoy the game or does it seem more like work now?
Golf is my job, but it rarely feels like work.
However, there are times when pretending that golf seems like work is a good thing. For example, when I can say to my wife, "Sorry honey, I'd really love to go over to your parents' house with you, but I have to watch the final round of The Masters. You know, work calls. Nose to the grindstone."
Can you write off your games as "creative research?"
Shhhhhh! Don't tell the IRS!
Actually, About.com has a strict ethics policy that we all take very seriously (and that is posted for our readers to check out, too). No free lunches, as they say. But there are certainly times in my position when golf and legitimate business expenses intersect. And I love those times!
What's your best piece of advice for all types of golfers out there?
Ask yourself what you want out of your golf game, and adjust your sights accordingly. If you want to be a great golfer, then realize that you're going to have to work hard (and find a good teacher to work with).
If you just want a friendly game a couple times a month with your buddies, then stop beating yourself up over poor shots. Relax and enjoy the time with friends.
And if you only play twice a year - once with your father-in-law, once in the company outing - never, ever take all of your allotted five minutes searching for a lost ball!
Abide by the spirit of the game (don't be a jerk on the course, in other words) ... and always repair your pitch marks.
What is your favorite course?
The one I grew up on, a fairly typical South Texas goat track. Hardpan fairways, dead spots on greens, rotisserie wieners that have been spinning since 1986, holes so close together that every tee ball is a dance with death, crusty old marshals driven mad with power. Good times, good times.
If you could play on any course in the world, which one and why?
The moon. Because Alan Shepherd's 6-iron on Feb. 6, 1971, flew the "green," and the ball is just sitting there, waiting for me to play one of my Mickelson-esque flop shots over a crater and to the cup. Oh yeah, I got that shot :)
Who would comprise your ultimate golf foursome (living or deceased)? and why?
The Roadrunner, Wile E. Coyote and the Tasmanian Devil. I like to play fast.
About.com's Golf Guide
[ comments ]
I know Brent, and he's awesome.
Off-Course Golf Rob says:
Way to go Brent. I respect your response about your favorite course. Home court is always the sweetest. My favorite is the one right down the street from me...because it's right down the street from me.
Brent Kelley, if all your "fact gathering" is as original and factual as your blurb about Alan Shephard's "moon shot" you need better sources. Here's an except from the "actual" moon golf shot by Alan Shephard:
Back in 1971 though, things were not quite so hidebound. (Referring to NASA's present ban on "Golfing On The Moon). And besides, the duffer of the flight crew had already gotten approval for the first golf game on the moon. His only problem was where to store a golf club on the Apollo XIV capsule. Unable to solve the dilemma, he cut the head off a six iron and carried that in his pocket.
When the crew had finished the necessary hard chores on the moon's surface, Shephard fastened the golf club head to the bottom of a tool used for gathering soil samples. He then reached into his space suit for a golf ball. What he wanted to do, was a simple demonstration that youngsters would understand, to show what it meant to be in an atmosphere with one-sixth the gravity of Earth. (MORE)
He naively figured that he was going to be able to drive the golf ball six times the normal distance of an Earth game.
But his first shot bit right into the dirt in front of him. A second swing got him a slice shot of two or three feet. Shephard dropped a second ball, and maneuvering in the bulky space suit, hit a shot that he enthusiastically reported as having sailed "miles and miles". He later admitted that it was really about 200-400 yards. But just in case anyone else wants a shot, he left the balls behind on the moon.
Vis a Vis: Kelly: Quit editorializing! If that's the best investigative reporting you can do, even from home on the computer, you need better info!
Thank god Shephard is a duffer, too! Even with a "shovel 6-iron"... on the moon!" Come to think of it... GREAT SHOT!
PapaJoe- What the heck are you talking about? Seriously? It sure read to me like Brent was being lighthearted about the moon and you took it to a whole new level of dumbness.
Umm... I think it was a joke.
How much does a "contributor" to OOB make? Its pretty obvious I'll never play golf for a living (still hope for the champions tour though), so maybe somebody can pay me to talk about it. If I got paid by the word I could make a killing.
Kick: I was trying to make a point, which apparently didn't come across properly, that if editorial contributors such as Brent Kelly, whether it be on 'oobGolf' or any other forum of interviews, do not have their facts straight, even about the obscure "6-iron moon shot", DON'T
OOPS, hit the wrong key:
DON'T take editorial license to lead readers into thinking about something that really didn't happen. Such as, a 6-iron that sailed miles and miles when it only went a few feet, or best a couple hundred yards! Oh, what the heck, let the public believe what they want, whether it be a "dumb joke" or not.
I wish the BEST for anyone and everyone who can make their living from sitting at a computer and and misleading readers into the "unreality" of what's happening in the REAL world.
You sure you don't want to flame him for his dream foursome chioces too? Geez.
All he said was that it flew the green, which, if he was hitting 6-iron, would probably have been 160-170? If it went 200 then he flew it and is now certainly primed for a Michelson-esque flop shot... which apparently he has.
Holy hell, PapaJoe. Lighten up. I'm sure his editorial content on about.com is less jocular.
Brent's Golf on About.com is seriously a great resource. It's comprehensive and can answer all the questions we, oobgolfers or golfnuts, come up with - from history to courses to instruction to rules, you name it.. Thanks Brent & keep up the good work.
As you can see, oobgolfers are a varied and widespread group of people - "different strokes for different folks". Just roll with it.
Never knew about About.com Golf - looks great. Thanks Oobgolf.
TaylorFade. Good advice! Did you say "lighten up, or light up!" I'll do both. Just fired up a good ol' CAO Gold Torpedo, and feeling much better now!
Unfortunately I take too many of Kelley's About.com reportorials as "Soapbox Oratorios", and like every other red blooded American disagree with a lot of what he "supposes". Especially when he says, "I suppose...." although he didn't write that once in the above interview.
Sorry, Brent. Good luck on your upcoming few times yearly onesome golf game. And apologies to you, too, Kick. I'll try my best to watch my new levels of dumbness! The last thing I want is to offend anyone on 'oobGolf'.
Happy balls to all!
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