NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Golf Digest/Golf World
Jerry Tarde, Editor-in-chief
Peter Morrice, Executive editor
Mike Stachura, Senior editor, Equipment
Kim Kelleher, Chief business officer
Founded in 1950, Golf Digest was purchased by Conde Nast in 2001. With a circulation of 1.6 million, it describes itself as the largest golf publication.
While the magazine’s editorial remains primarily centered on golf instruction, it also contains personality features, course rankings and equipment reviews (its popular Hot List of club reviews and awards debuted in 2004). In recent years, the magazine has adopted a theme of Think Young/Play Hard as it focuses more effort on reaching a younger audience.
It also introduced a video channel that averages 20 million average monthly views (by an audience whose average age is 43) and The Loop, a section on golfdigest.com self-described as “The modern handbook to sports, entertainment and everything else.”
Golf Digest’s Editor-in-Chief, Jerry Tarde, has been instrumental in the magazine’s growth and evolution. Tarde has said he decided at age 16 that he wanted to be the editor at Golf Digest and became an intern at the company prior to his 1978 graduation from Northwestern University. Tarde soon became an assistant editor, was promoted to editor in 1984 at age 28, and helped recruit some of the most talented journalists in the industry as contributing editors, among them David Owen, Dan Jenkins, Tom Callahan, Jamie Diaz and John Feinstein.
Tarde and the team of writers he helped assemble have won more than 200 awards from the Golf Writers Association of America.
While Golf Digest has expanded its digital presence significantly, Golf World is available exclusively on digital platforms, as the sports news cycle necessitated immediate access to quality content. Golf World stopped its monthly print publication in 2014 to focus on its online coverage, an evolution that increased the frequency of content, improved delivery time and incorporated video reporting.
Golf Digest traces its roots to the early 1950’s, when three friends from Northwestern University – John Barrett, William Davis and Howard Reed Gill Jr. – distributed the earliest versions at golf courses in the Chicago area. Gill helped fund the undertaking by working as a chicken farmer and the publication eventually moved to newsstands before being distributed nationally in 1957. The New York Times Company acquired Golf Digest in 1969.
Golf Digest has made a noticeable editorial effort in recent years to connect with a younger demographic, seeking to attract new readership while retaining its established core of subscribers, whose average age is 55 years old.
Amid challenges for traditional print media, Golf Digest is continually trying to adjust its editorial and business model accordingly. It’s greatly expanded digital presence speaks to this shift. The magazine remains part of a premier media company in Conde Nast, which attracts more than 120 million consumers across its print, digital and video brands, with a portfolio that includes iconic titles such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, GQ and The New Yorker.