‘I’m Taking My Talents to Fire Pit’
By Patrick Koenig
The year is 2016, and it is my first time visiting the PGA show in Orlando. My friend Sean Ogle of Breaking Eighty is showing me around the chaos. The floor at the PGA Show is crowded with important people walking with a purpose from booth to booth.
I am not one of these people. I am a full-time tech salesperson who uses his vacation days to visit the PGA Show as an aspiring “social media influencer.” The PGA Show is pretty much like Disneyland for golf nerds, and my brain is overwhelmed by the vast number of golf companies packed into one location. There’s Bubba Watson. And a fully clothed Holly Sonders! Then I see someone more exciting.
“Hey look, it’s Matt Ginella,” I say to Sean. “I’m gonna go say hi and see if he wants to give me his job.”
At the time, Matt was the host of “Ginella’s Journeys,” a travel show on Golf Channel. In my opinion, he had the best job in the world: get paid to play golf and tell stories.
Matt is busy getting ready for a live hit. People are fixing his mic, and he is running some lines. Even though he is preoccupied, he takes the time to break away and say hello. After some introductions, I quickly reach for my big guns and ask if he will gift me his job. I am only half-serious, but Matt responds quickly and with passion.
“Never! I don’t plan on giving up this job until I am dead,” he says. After briefly contemplating a covert murder operation, I decide the golf world is better off with Matt in it.
I dial it back a notch and pop a quick selfie with Matt. A picture and a tweet is almost always a better idea than a murder plot.
“The Fire Pit Collective is a modern media company composed of authentic and diverse perspectives. We focus on informing, inspiring and entertaining our readers, followers, and listeners. We are golfers. We are storytellers. We are the Fire Pit Collective.”
Fast forward six years and about 2,000 rounds of golf. I found myself living in Southern California and had become friends with Matt. He had relocated to Oceanside and was on a mission to tell the world’s most compelling and inspiring golf stories. Along with Alan Shipnuck and Alex Upegui, Matt had created a new media company called the Fire Pit Collective.
As they added one impressive team member after another, I continued to drop hints about my availability and eagerness to join the team. I quickly recognized that the hottest thing in golf was happening right in my backyard, and I wanted to be a part of it.
Matt took notice of my subtle and not-so-subtle hints and invited me to join the team. My Pit position has two priorities.
“As we were building out the charity and events aspect of what we’re doing at The Fire Pit Collective, it became obvious Patrick would be the perfect fit to spearhead both verticals.
We’re excited to have his energy, attitude, creativity and business background. We feel lucky to have him as a part of our team and our future.”— Matt Ginella at the Fire Pit Press Conference
Fire Pit Festivals
Starting in 2022, The Fire Pit will be hosting fun and inclusive golf festivals. These events will take place at the liveliest par-3 and short courses across the country. There will be a series of events throughout 2022 with the season-ending festival at Goat Hill Park. Everyone is invited to participate, and the official schedule and registration links will be up shortly.
Fire Pit Foundation
After several years of working with The First Tee, I have realized that helping others is infinitely more rewarding than helping yourself. With a considerable capital investment and inspirational stories being uncovered by Ryan French, the Fire Pit Foundation is going to give back to the game we all love, with an emphasis on supporting youth golf and dreamers who need a helping hand.
Having grown up in the game, it means a lot to me to have found a place where I can share my golf passion with others. I get to work with some of the best storytellers in the golf media to create content around compelling people, places and stories. All these years later, I can finally say I have coolest job in golf. I hope all of you will join me in this journey.