How Colorado-based Podcasters are Giving a Voice to a New Generation of Golfers

Golf podcasts have taken off and Coloradans are part of the charge

Spencer Smith, left, and his brother Mitchell from Big Drive Energy. Photo courtesy of Big Drive Energy.

By Jim Bebbington

As interest in golf and interest in podcasts exploded since the pandemic, it’s only natural that the Venn diagram of golf podcasts is getting bigger.

Ten years ago there were few golf podcasts. Now everyday content streams are produced by teams of people talking about everything from the PGA Tour, LIV, golf course architecture,  golf humor, golf lifestyle, women’s golf, men’s golf, golf insight, golf gear and golf travel.

And people with Colorado ties are at the forefront. One of the most popular golf podcasts nationally, No Laying Up, is recorded partially locally because one of its founders, Phil Landes, moved to Denver. The Cincinnati native helped start the No Laying Up brand with some college roommates, and as the audience grew he moved to Denver – along with a few thousand other Buckeyes – because he thought it might be a cool place to live.

Closer to home, when the All City Network – a national network of sports podcasts with events as well as a popular sports bar on Colfax Avenue in Denver – wanted to launch a national golf podcast, they turned to Denver natives Spencer and Mitchell Smith. The Smith brothers created Big Drive Energy. They are both scratch players and both have worked as teaching PGA professionals. Their podcast blends deep Colorado knowledge, humor and insight about the golf industry and its top players on the PGA and LPGA tours. And Fort Collins native Drew Stoltz got into the podcast game after a nearly 10-year career as a touring professional. Stoltz now lives in Scottsdale, but he and fellow PGA Tour graduate Colt Knost host the GOLF’s Subpar podcast, an offshoot of the GOLF Magazine brands.

Here’s your guide to these Colorado-infused golf podcasts:


For a decade PGA pros Spencer and Mitchell Smith saw it all. They begged their patrons not to carry their clubs into the Colorado pro shops where they worked. They daily dealt with people who thought that the specificity of tee times – like 8:52 a.m. – was merely a suggestion. They had stories you wouldn’t believe.

Enter Spencer’s employer, Denver-based sports commentary platform DNVR, and its parent company, the national syndicate All City Network. All City Network wanted to start a golf podcast; were Spencer and his better-golfing-brother Mitchell interested? Yes.

They dubbed their project ‘A drinking podcast with a golf problem,” and launched in July 2020, the summer in which the world emerged from its quarantine slumber.

GOLF Subpar’s recent guests have included, clockwise, Ricky Fowler, NBA great Steph Curry, actor Rob Riggle and comedian Nate Bargatze

They launched with the idea of using their experience as PGA teaching pros to help the newbies flocking to the game get the most out of it while embracing the six-pack and cart-speaker culture that the new arrivals were bringing to the sport.

“On the surface, people think we’re just two 25 to 30-year-old kids,” Spencer said. “But we’ve both been PGA pros. We’re not just two guys.”

“At the core of it Spencer and I have been best buddies the most of our lives,” Mitchell said. “This is something we would do regardless of whether this was recorded or not. Very Pardon The Interruption. There’s definitely a dynamic with us being brothers – we argue, we bust each other’s chops. We like to talk about personal life – everyday golf happenings, favorite courses in the area.” That is what sets Big Drive Energy apart for the Colorado listener.

Both brothers grew up here. They played high school golf here. When Mitchell talks about how cool a cucumber reigning U.S. Open champ Wyndham Clark can be under pressure, it’s because he saw it first-hand as a high school player getting ground to hamburger by Clark and his Valor Christian golf teammates.

While they may talk a lot about the world domination of Scottie Scheffler, when they talk about favorite courses, they toss around names like TPC Colorado.

They were still working in a local clubhouse when they began to dabble with content creation.

“We started filming videos almost as a joke – making fun of the average golfer but doing education,” Spencer said. “Don’t Be This Golfer. Don’t bring your full bag into the pro shop. We thought this would be the perfect thing to do. We used to do once a week, shared the mic, and produced this one thing.”

Now they’re typically cranking out a podcast every five days. They have recently added video shorts, telling stories from their days in the pro shops on YouTube and Instagram. And they’re trying to grow their audience, fulfilling the dreams of two brothers who grew up in Colorado playing golf and talking about sports.

“That was my dream as a kid was to be a sports broadcaster,” Spencer said. “Me – I have the gift of gab. I could talk to a blank wall,” Mitchell said.


In April, when Nelly Korda tied the record for most consecutive wins in LPGA history by taking the season’s first major, she had every golf media enterprise asking for her time.

Of them all, she called into the No Laying Up podcast and talked to them for about 15 minutes.

What had started in 2014 as a semi-regular hour-long talk among a group of buddies from Ohio’s Miami University, No Laying Up is now consistently ranked as either the No. 1 or No. 2 most-listened to golf podcast. Much of the ‘on-air’ reason for their success is that each of the friends got very good at some very specific roles.

One of the three Miami U. founders, Chris Solomon, founded the brand by putting up the then-invisible Twitter feed; he has evolved into an excellent host – filling the gaps between interviews and getting the most from his partners and their interview subjects. Fellow Redhawk Todd Schuster adds funny and provocative questions and insight.

And then there is Phil Landes, Big Randy by his on-air moniker. He too is a Miami grad, and has combined his friendly on-air demeanor with significant guidance of the brand’s business operations behind the scenes.

They have since added other names who have become very familiar to their fans, but the popularity of the podcasts often still comes back to the Big Three.

Landes’ move to Colorado came while the No Laying Up members were transitioning from doing the podcast as a side gig into one-by-one going full-time. Now with the travel, video, social media and other brand partnerships has come a larger staff and plenty for the founders like Landes to do.

Landes said he first got the bug about how cool Denver is when No Laying Up held its first tournament, in 2019 at CommonGround Golf Course in Denver, organized by Denver-based tournament partner Erin Gregory of PrivateCollectionGolf. He was living in Florida at the time working in finance. As the effects of the COVID-19 quarantine eased, he decided it was time to try living in a new city. He records his part on the podcasts from his home in Denver.

No Laying Up’s Big Randy, aka Denver resident Phil Landes. photo by Jim Bebbington.

“We have found ourselves in a position that our flagship podcast is significantly the first or second podcast in the golf space,” Landes said. What had begun as a little bit of a joke was now serious.

“Hey, we’re here so let’s try to stay here. With that always comes the fear of complacency. (Staying No. 1) certainly is our goal. I think we’ve achieved that most weeks. It’s a space that is becoming much more crowded.”

The Korda interview, for example, is something that Landes said they worked for years to be in a position to get. He said they realized in 2022 they were big enough that they had a responsibility to do better in many aspects of the golf game – and women’s golf was at the top of the list.

They decided “We are going to start dedicating real time and resources to covering the LPGA,” he said. “I think we’ve gained their trust.” Now – like nearly every other golf commentary brand – they are seeking to be all-platform. Their partner DJ Piehowski recently had a film crew with him and others while he played in the Bandon Dunes 25th Anniversary weekend matches in Oregon; the videos will feed their YouTube pages and social media.

From his perch in Denver, Landes and his partners are looking to keep a good thing going.

“One of the hardest things about setting out and creating a company isn’t necessarily the content people see but just having to make ourselves – what’s our mission statement and what’s our north star – create goals and one-year and three-year strategy,” Landes said. “That’s something we spend a lot of time on that people probably don’t realize. We want to entertain and inform avid golfers worldwide.”


The pride of Poudre High School, Drew Stoltz took a long way to podcast stardom.

Stoltz won the 2001 Colorado 5A state championship and turned professional in 2014, working through the Korn Ferry Tour in hopes of making the leap to the PGA. When he got to the age of 30 and was still toiling in the Korn Ferry vineyards, he decided his dream was over.

First, he tried to leave golf behind for good. He began to work for Merrill Lynch in private banking in Chicago. That lasted 18 months.

“I was very uncomfortable talking to people about their money, which is probably something I should have figured out before going into that line of business,” Stoltz said.

GOLF Subpar’s recent guests have included Ricky Fowler, NBA great Steph Curry (pictured here in the center), actor Rob Riggle and comedian Nate Bargatze

But Gary McCord, the former CBS golf broadcaster with the signature handlebar mustache, has a home in Edwards, Colorado, and has known Stoltz for many years. “Gary came to me after I stopped doing finance and said, ‘You need to do what I do,’” Stoltz said.

Golf Subpar’s Drew Stoltz with Jon Rahm. Photo courtesy Golf Subpar.

Like everyone else in this story, he began talking into a microphone largely as a way to have fun. He began doing a show on Sirius Radio that was primarily about golf gambling. When called and asked if he wanted to transition to longer-form interviews and podcasts, he jumped. He called his friend, fellow PGA Tour pro Colt Knost, whose playing career was winding down too.

Together they launched Subpar in 2019. Their niche is as former Tour insiders, they know a lot, share a lot, and get some of the best names in the game to come on their shows.

Case in point: When Jon Rahm won his Masters green jacket in April 2023, he was asked by every golf podcaster in the game to come on their show. On only one did he wear his actual green jacket for the video recording: Subpar.“If you had asked me would I get into this space after I quit golf the answer would have been no,” Stoltz said. “I was burned out on golf. I tried to put my head down and say ‘This is my next chapter.’”

Stoltz now lives in Scottsdale with daughters Palmer and Quincy and his wife Marissa. “I’m honestly doing everything I want to do,” he said. “I wake up every morning and I enjoy everything I do.”


Contact Colorado AvidGolfer Content Director Jim Bebbington at [email protected]

Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it, publishing eight issues annually and proudly delivering daily content via

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