2023 Writing Contest Results

Beall, Shipnuck, Tarde lead way in 2023 GWAA Writing Contest

ORLANDO, Florida (Feb. 28) – Golf Digest’s Joel Beall doubled up for the second time in three years in the 2023 GWAA Writing Contest, winning first-place awards in Daily Features as well as Special Projects. Beall’s two victories led Golf Digest to four first-place honors in the annual contest that judges the best writing of the year.

Beall won Daily Features for his March story titled “Golf in a war zone, a chilling tale,” written about young Ukranian golfer Mykhailo Golod being trapped in his home country in the midst of its war with Russia. Beall also teamed up with Daniel Rapaport to win first place in Special Projects (“Inside PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf”) and won second place in Daily Features (“I thought I was dying; golf kept me going”).

Thirteen turned out to be a lucky number for Alan Shipnuck of Fire Pit Collective, who won for his entry in Game Stories. It was his GWAA-leading 13th career first-place award. Shipnuck won for his game story that chronicled Rory McIlroy’s close call at last summer’s Open Championship on St. Andrews’ venerable Old Course (“McIlroy Falls Short”). Shipnuck finished 1-2 in Game Stories, taking second for his U.S. Open gamer on Matt Fitzpatrick.

Golf Digest’s Jerry Tarde won first-place honors in Non-Daily Columns for “They gave me Tiger money,” which ran in Golf Digest’s September 2022 issue. In the column, Tarde has a conversation with the late Dan Jenkins about the new Saudi-backed LIV Tour. It marked Tarde’s fourth consecutive victory in Non-Daily Columns, and his 10th first-place award in the GWAA Contest. Golf Digest swept Non-Daily Columns, with Max Adler second and Tarde also placing third.

Gary D’Amato of Wisconsin Golf won his fifth career first-place honor, capturing Daily Columns for his tribute to the late Herb Kohler titled, “To me, he was just Herb, a friend of the game.” D’Amato wrote about the friendship he developed with Kohler, who nearly single-handedly turned Wisconsin into a popular golf destination with projects such as Whistling Straits, which has hosted three PGA Championships and a Ryder Cup.

The clash between upstart LIV Golf and the PGA Tour was one of 2022’s most written-about topics by GWAA members and garnered its share of attention in the 2023 contest. Mark Schlabach of ESPN was a first-place winner in News Stories with his longer-range look of what lies ahead for LIV (“Examining LIV’s future”). A judge called the story “superb journalism,” noting that it was “thoroughly researched and well written.” 

Golf Digest’s Chris Jones won in Non-Daily Features for a story he wrote titled “An unfathomable win,” which detailed the emotional journey of 19-year-old Conner Willett, who won his biggest title, the Massachusetts Amateur, just days after his father’s sudden death.

Congratulations to everyone. We look forward to celebrating April 5 at the 49th ISPS Handa GWAA Dinner at Columbia County Performing Arts Center in Evans, Georgia.

Complete results of the 2023 GWAA Writing Contest:


  1. Gary D’Amato, Wisconsin Golf, “To me, he was just Herb, a friend of the game,” Sept. 4, 2022
  2. Ryan Lavner,, “Phil has no answers,” June 13, 2022
  3. Beth Ann Nichols,, “Adaptive Open shows true spirit of golf,” July 20, 2022


Jerry Tarde,, “He taught us everything we know,” Feb. 28, 2022; Alan Shipnuck, Fire Pit Collective, “Phil was right, sort of,” Aug. 26, 2022; Ryan Lavner,, “Tiger gave everything at Augusta,” April 10, 2022; Jerry Tarde,, “Herb Kohler was golf’s grand old man.” Sept. 5, 2022.

Judge’s comment on D’Amato’s winning entry: “Herb Kohler was many things to many people. This writer enjoyed him as a friend and as a friend to golf.”


  1. Joel Beall,, “A chilling tale, golf in a war zone,” March 3, 2022.
  2. Joel Beall,, “I thought I was dying; golf kept me going,” Nov. 23, 2022.
  3. Bob Harig,, “The summer of LIV,” Oct. 26, 2022


Patrick Hand, Global Golf Post, “Godspeed, Bob Goalby,” Jan. 21, 2022; Dylan Dethier,, “Here’s how LIV felt,” June 30, 2022; James Colgan,, “Inside golf’s favorite cult TV show,” June 18, 2022; Ward Clayton,, “A single gets on at the Old Course,” July 10, 2022.

Judge’s comment on Beall’s winning entry: “A well-written story about a top young Ukrainian golfer as war descends upon his country.”


  1. Alan Shipnuck, Fire Pit Collective, “McIlroy falls short,” July 17, 2022
  2. Alan Shipnuck, Fire Pit Collective, “Fitzpatrick wins Open,” June 19, 2022
  3. Josh Berhow,, “Rory’s Open heartbreak,” July 17, 2022


John Huggan,, “Smith spoils an all-time story,” July 16, 2022; Ryan Lavner,, “The Open’s ecstasy and agony,” July 17, 2022; Gary VanSickle,, “Scheffler masters the world’s best,” April 10, 2022; Dylan Dethier,, “How Rory’s dream weekend dissolved,” July 13, 2022.

Judge’s comment on Shipnuck’s winning entry: “The writer used color, play-by-play and dialogue to put readers in the middle of the dramatic, emotional final round of the British Open.”


  1. Mark Schlabach,, “Examining LIV’s future,” Oct. 31, 2022
  2. Alan Shipnuck, Fire Pit Collective, “The truth about Phil and Saudis,” Feb. 16, 2022
  3. Dylan Dethier,, “Daughter helps Tiger write own story,” March 10, 2022


Jason Sobel, Action Network, “Tour announces big changes,” Aug. 24, 2022; Beth Ann Nichols,, “CME CEO disappointed with LPGA,” Nov. 19, 2022; Alan Bastable,, “When LIV and Trump converge,” July 7, 2022.

Judge’s comment on Schlabach’s winning entry: “This is superb journalism, thoroughly researched and well written. It offers a clear, complete view of the biggest current story in golf.”


  1. Jerry Tarde, Golf Digest, “They gave me Tiger money,” Sept., 2022
  2. Max Adler, Golf Digest, “Old Course has golf’s best 18th hole,” June, 2022
  3. Jerry Tarde, Golf Digest, “Lee Trevino and the man he became,” Oct., 2022


Gary VanSickle, Arizona Golf Insider, “How I got shafted,” Feb-March, 2022; Tom Coyne, Golfer’s Journal, “When the dog bites,” December, 2022; Michael Bamberger, Golf Magazine, “A personal Open history,” June, 2022.

Judge’s comment on Tarde’s winning entry: “The clear winner. Different. Funny. It captured the spirit of Dan Jenkins and was simply the one I would want to read over and over.”


  1. Chris Jones, Golf Digest, “An unfathomable win,” Oct.-Nov., 2022
  2. Adam Schupak, Golfweek, “The story of Shoal Creek and PGA,” Issue 3, 2022
  3. Dave Shedloski, Golf Journal, “Oakland Hills vows to return stronger,” Summer, 2022


Chris Jones, Golf Digest, “DeChambeau has a headache,” March-April, 2022; Max Adler, Golf Digest, “Rebuilding Casey Martin,” May, 2022; Joel Beall, Golf Digest, “A 14-year-old outlawed from his team,” April, 2022.

Judge’s comment on Jones’ winning entry: “It’s not often, if ever, that golf, love and death are woven together in a single story. This account of family grief is written elegantly.”


  1. Joel Beall and Daniel Rapaport,, “Inside PGA Tour vs. LIV Golf,” Aug. 9, 2022
  2. Sean Fairholm, John Steinbreder, Global Golf Post, “Labor pains,” May 30, 2022
  3. Jaime Diaz, Rex Hoggard, Ryan Lavner, Mercer Baggs,, “The tales of Tiger,” March 9, 2022


Shane Ryan,, “The club pro crisis,” May 13, 2022; Dylan Dethier,, “Pereira’s heartbreaking finish,” May 25, 2022; Sean Zak,, “Summer in Scotland,” June-Aug, 2022; Bob Carney, Sean Fairholm, John Steinbreder, Global Golf Post, “Caddie comeback,” Oct. 24, 2022.

Judge’s comment on the Beall-Rapaport winning entry: “This entry does a super job of explaining LIV Golf’s development. We all knew loads of cash were involved, but the article provides strong insight into where, how and why the project came to be.”

Total Entries (323)
Daily Features (95)
Daily Columns (60)
Game Stories (52)
Non-Daily Features (39)
News (37)
Non-Daily Columns (24)
Special Projects (16)

(Contact: Jeff Babineau, GWAA Secretary,; 407-496-4956)