Archive for the ‘Magazine: Sports’ Category

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Golf World (

Issue reviewed: Oct. 4, 2010, Vol. 64, No. 11

  • Published in Wilton, Conn., by Golf Digest Publications/Advance Magazine Publishers Inc.
  • Circulation: 225,000
  • 48 pages, saddle-stitch binding
  • printed 38 times per year


  • average income: $241,860
  • average age: 46
  • mostly male (86%)


The editorial staff at Golf World does a great job of making the very vertical topic of golf interesting enough to stretch from front to back of the magazine on an almost weekly basis. Capturing the personalities of the competitors and spending some time talking about where-to for golfers keeps the writers busy from beginning to end. This magazine does not focus much energy on how-to.


The design is good and gives the reader tons of short chunks of information. It never makes the reader feel committed to a page; instead, it lets the reader sample tastes like a buffet and leave at will. Whereas the design is somewhat handicapped by photography — it’s a sport made up of white men and golf clubs, so the photos all look the same after a while — it makes good use of what it has. In some of the features, the designers used as much space as possible with beautiful scenic shots that really stand out. A few strong elements add a nice touch, such as the thick black and gray bars. However, the light yellow screen on some sidebars, like Finding Their Groove, looks dated and weak.

What’s Best

  • Back 9: This department lists nine key tidbits that the writers deem most interesting to golfers. Many of these include stats, either rankings, winnings or historical data. This page is followed by several pages of other statistics, mostly results from recent golf tournaments. The boring-but-necessary information is not the best design I’ve seen for this kind of content, but it is simple, clean and easy to read.
  • Bunker: This is the shorts department at the beginning that tosses in a few 50-word stories with some 200- and 500-word stories, keeping the reader engaged in several stories in only a few pages.
  • Writing: The writers focus on telling stories rather than reporting events; simply reporting is an easy trap to fall into when the assignment is some sort of tournament coverage. Instead, Golf World’s writers bring their stories to life by injecting personality into each article, even the shorties.

What’s Worst

  • No editor’s note: The back page of the magazine is the closest we get to an editor’s note, simply called Opinion and, in this issue, written by features senior editor Bill Fields. The Opinion story, which is a look at a new book about Tiger Woods, is well written and interesting — and reads much more like good commentary than a run-of-the-mill book review. On page 20 is another Opinion page written by Geoff Shackelford, and it is a well-crafted argument against the World Golf Hall of Fame induction of George H.W. Bush.
  • The red type: It makes my eyes feel almost like they’re burning, and I just want to blow through it because it hurts to read. Red type is good for a touch here and there in big fonts, not for small, flowing copy.

Overall Opinion

Golf World could improve by moving Bill Fields or another editor to the beginning of the magazine and letting him set the tone for the current issue. A few design tweaks could help, too, adding a more masculine look to some sidebars with bolder colors and stronger type-color choices. The writing for the magazine, though, is very strong and flavorful and makes for a good read, even for people who don’t love golf. For those reasons, I give Golf World a B.

I invite your comments! Check out the magazine or its website and tell me what you think of it.

–Tyler Reed

Editor, The Sidebar Review