For those hoping to keep up with the exploits of Taylor Funk in his professional days, he’s making that endeavor remarkably simple.
The 22-year-old turned pro in May, leaving Texas after his junior season, and hasn’t yet found his footing at the next level. Funk embarked on Web.com Tour Monday qualifiers, mini-tour stops and state opens during the summer and tried his hand this fall at European Tour Q-School (he failed to make it past first stage).
But he currently doesn’t have status on any major tour, although he’ll hope to get some at PGA Tour Latinoamerica Q-School next month.
But competing over the weekend at the PNC Father/Son Challenge with dad Fred, an eight-time PGA Tour winner, the young pro seemed sanguine about his current path.
“Everything’s coming along,” said Taylor, who tied for ninth with his dad for team earnings of $44,500.
That tranquility is helped by the fact that the 22-year-old is actually melding two passions in his pro golf travels.
Funk has commenced a YouTube vlog chronicling his exploits.
The vlog began earlier this month at the Jamaica Open, where Funk finished seventh, with the opening footage offering beautiful views, on-course commentary and an explainer at the end.
The video even included an appearance from Fred, who was caddying that week. With dad on the bag, Taylor felt it was as good a place as any to get things started.
But where did all this interest come from? And what is the plan?
Taylor noted that an interest was sparked over the last year by watching others’ vlogs, particularly those of Casey Neistat and Jon Olsson (who both boast popular YouTube channels).
That led to the pro golfer editing his own photos and videos, even watching footage of instructions on how to edit on Adobe Premiere Pro. The cinematography process is something he realized he enjoyed. And then it hit him: He travels a lot and has picked up video-making skills, why not document his journey in golf?
“They have travel vlogs out there and I travel (a lot) anyway, so might as well just record it,” Funk said. “(I) thought there was a little niche for life to the PGA Tour and background behind that. I kind of thought of it a couple of months ago and decided to try it out, see if it catches on.”
Funk has already published three vlog posts (a second one from Jamaica and one from Disney World) that combine scenery shots, action footage and commentary into an edited product. He records the vlog entries via equipment that includes a point-and-shoot Sony camera, a GoPro and a drone.
It’s certainly too early in the process to tell if his hunch about a niche in this market is correct, but he’s gotten some feedback already. Funk said he’s received plenty of positive comments, with the best of them being about his dad’s humorous antics in the videos.
Funk has also received useful tips in comments, but there are the early doubters.
“Some people are like, ‘You’re wasting your time,’ ” Funk said. “But I don’t really care.”
His reasoning? He has fun making the videos and they don’t take much time to create, so if the niche isn’t there, no big deal.
And the niche very well may exist, as he moves into mostly uncharted territories.
“No one really gets to see the behind-the-scenes look of what a golfer does practice-wise, travel-wise,” Funk said. “It’s glamorous and unglamorous at the same time, and I think people want to see that.”
He has no timetable for how long he’ll keep the vlog going (obviously viewer interest will play a factor) nor has an idea how often he’ll post entries from here.
So far, he’s posted three in less than two weeks and actually should’ve had four, but his external hard drive crashed and he lost all footage from what should’ve been his final vlog entry from Jamaica.
The footage included a cinematography trick that Funk was particularly proud of. He went to the beach near his hotel in Jamaica and put together this scene:
“I was like, ‘Fred, how far do you think it is to Jupiter (Fla.) from Jamaica?’ and he was like, ‘I think it’s just a three-quarter driver.’ And I hit a driver off the beach and then I flew my drone off so that like a ball was taking off. And when I got back to Jupiter, I landed my drone and threw a ball down and made it look like it landed there.
“It would’ve been cool, I wish I didn’t lose that.”
Funk’s not sure what his next vlog entries will entail, although he wants to put more footage in on how he practices – especially as he will mostly stay put in Florida for the next month.
He won’t know for some time, either, whether his vlog will move into significant popularity.
For now, the videos serve as a fun passion that allows Funk to relive his past trips as his pro golf career just starts to unfold.
“Sometimes you get lost in what you’re doing because you’re traveling so much,” Funk said. “Then you can look back and watch a 10-minute video of your trip, and you’re like, ‘That’s pretty sweet, let’s keep going.’ “