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The Fire Pit Collective Debuts The Grind, an Immersive Docuseries

The first of 15 episodes premieres on YouTube on Jan. 24, bringing to life the struggles and triumphs of aspiring pros

OCEANSIDE, Calif.—Golf’s most intense and addictive new docuseries is here: The Grind will take viewers deep into the worlds of a diverse group of pros and top amateurs chasing their golf dreams. (See bios below.) The first of 15 episodes is set for Jan. 24, streaming on the Fire Pit Collective’s YouTube channel and FirePitCollective.com. Episodes will drop weekly.

“Lost in the greed of the top tier of professional golf are tens of thousands of pros struggling to get by,” says Matt Ginella, CEO of the Fire Pit Collective. “By telling their stories and bringing their challenges to life, our hope is that more of these players get the opportunity to make a decent living playing professional golf.” 

Thanks in part to the support of GOLFTEC, The Grind is a sweeping production that utilized the talents of five field producers, eight editors and a dozen camera operators. The 15 episodes in Season 1 have been culled from more than 120 hours of raw footage, and included visits to Scotland and Ireland. All of this was inspired by the reporting of the Fire Pit’s Ryan French (“Monday Q Info”), who has spent years chronicling the heartbreak and life-altering triumphs that make golf’s minor leagues so compelling. “It’s a dream come true to see these players spotlighted in such a dynamic way,” says French. “It blows me away how good the production values are in these episodes. Once fans get to see The Grind, I’m pretty sure they are going to be invested in these players’ stories as much as I am.”

Among those featured in Season 1 of The Grind

Mark Baldwin [Stream Episode 1 Now]
Age: 39
College: Notre Dame
Turned pro: 2006

Baldwin has competed on five continents while pursuing professional golf’s highest level. Known for his effortless length off the tee, Baldwin held full status on the Korn Ferry Tour for three years and had multiple top-10 finishes. He has made the cut in his last three PGA Tour starts.

Paige Crawford
Age: 32
College: Montana State
Turned pro: 2015

Following a stellar career at Montana State, Crawford has juggled various jobs to finance her golf pursuit, including working at a climbing gym and as a delivery driver. She now travels the mini-tours—and sleeps—in her van. 

Joe Hooks 
Age: 29
College: Wayne State
Turned pro: 2017

A native of Detroit, Hooks found success in 2022 on the APGA Tour, finishing in the top five in more than half of the tournaments on the schedule. Now a member of the APGA Player Development Program, Hooks will try his luck this year at PGA Tour Monday qualifiers. 

Laird Shepherd
Age: 25
College: University of Stirling
Turned pro: 2022

Shepherd produced one of the greatest comebacks in the history of amateur golf at the 2021 British Amateur, battling back from eight holes down with 19 to play in the championship match. After playing in the 2022 Masters and Open Championship, Shepherd now embarks on his professional career. 

Ellie Slama
Age: 23
College: Oregon State
Turned pro: 2022

Slama is one of the best players in OSU history, winning three tournaments and setting a school record for lowest career scoring average. After competing in the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, she turned pro and will play the Epson Tour this season. 

Hayden Springer 
Age: 26
College: TCU
Turned pro: 2019

The challenges Springer and his wife, Emma, face are unlike any other in pro golf: Their daughter Sage has a rare chromosomal condition known as Trisomy 18 and needs full-time medical attention. The Springer family recently welcomed their second daughter, Annie. Springer made it to the final stage of Q school at the end of 2022 and is now a member of the Korn Ferry Tour.

Daniel Augustus
Age: 35
College: Paine College
Turned pro: 2010

Augustus has overcome personal tragedy, including the murder of his father when he was 3 and years of abuse at the hands of his stepfather. To fund his golf dreams he has worked as a club pro and a chauffeur and has slept on friends’ couches. In 2022, he enjoyed his best season as a professional with a pair of runner-up finishes on the APGA Tour.

Will Kropp
Age: 32
College: Oklahoma
Turned pro: 2013

Kropp had a blockbuster career at Oklahoma and has played professionally all over the world. He has a win on the Latinoamérica Tour, where he defeated former Masters champion Angel Cabrera by one stroke. Despite having the game to compete at the highest levels of professional golf, Kropp feels a pull toward helping juniors at Goat Hill Park in Oceanside, Calif. 

Hugh Foley
Age: 25
College: N/A
Turned pro: Still an amateur

Foley won both the North and South Ireland Amateur last year, becoming the second player to do so. He also finished runner-up to countryman Matthew McLean in the U.S. Mid Amateur. Foley plans to remain an amateur until the end of the 2023 season, but the pro game beckons.

Willy Wilcox
Age: 36
College: UAB
Turned pro: 2009

Wilcox has been to the promised land, enjoying a couple of successful seasons on the PGA Tour, during which he won more than $2.5 million and was among the leaders in many ball-striking categories. Early in 2022, Wilcox revealed harrowing details of a drug addiction he has battled for much of his career. 

John Murphy
Age: 24
College: Louisville
Turned pro: 2021

After a standout college career, the Irishman returned home. Murphy enjoyed some early success on the European Tour in 2021, including a tie for ninth at the Dunhill Links, he has continued to apprentice on the Challenge Tour. The future is bright for this long-hitting lad.

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1 thought on “The Fire Pit Collective Debuts The Grind, an Immersive Docuseries”

  1. The first episode is fantastic! I can’t wait for more. I am a former grinder and 2 time All American. I follow Ryan’s work religiously and find the grinders the most compelling story in professional golf. Also the ups and comings like Davis Thompson.

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