When Phil Mickelson ran after an errant putt to redirect it toward the hole during this summer’s U.S. Open, many old-school golf fans gasped in sheer horror at the two-shot violation. The stunt drew plenty of angry missives. But to many golfers watching at home, who’ve all pulled that same move before out of similar frustration, the spectacle of seeing a pro do it was pretty hilarious.
Revelling in the lighter side of the game is a trademark of golf comedian Mike Dojc. Sporting a WWII era army helmet and a Linksoul “Make Par, Not War,” t-shirt, Canadian ex-pat Dojc crouches down to the turf at the Par Tee driving range on Charleston Highway, a bucolic expanse just ten minutes outside of downtown Columbia, South Carolina where, on a clear day, you can spy the silhouette of Williams Brice Stadium.
The range is frequently a backdrop on Dojc’s Slinging Birdies videos, shared across the social media landscape by golf bloggers, media sites, and fans. The show’s own Facebook page has swelled to about 11,000 fans, the bulk of whom are men between the ages of 25-44. Slinging Birdies doesn’t have a title sponsor, allowing Dojc to “keep it real on the fairway,” but companies across the equipment and apparel spectrum supply gear and wardrobe for review— big names like Ecco, Nike, and Galvin Greene on down to niche brands like BombTech Golf.
A shiny black Tour Edge Bazooka driver is propped against Dojc’s knee and he wonders aloud what Madonna would think about this big stick, before softly breaking into song: “exotic, exotic… put your hands all over my clubface,” he purrs.
“Mike is a real character. A lot of people think the show is just off the cuff and improvised, but he actually prepares scripts in advance,” explains R.J. Foley of Light Road Media Productions, who films the series.
Dojc’s antics tend to zag towards the zany, whether he’s chilling his ColdFusion balls in a grocery store freezer aisle next to the CoolWhip, in order to get the spheres down to optimal temperature, subjecting premium golf kicks to playground climbing walls, or toting a Gandalf staff amidst his wedges while playing Myrtle Beach’s The Wizard to ward off bogey monsters. Still, his respect and reverence for the game always shine through and that is Slinging Birdies’ irrepressible charm.
No comic come lately, Dojc has been cracking wise professionally as a humorist ever since cajoling himself into an internship at Maxim magazine after college. Early on, he spent much of his time there sifting through the mail and sorting out pics of women vying for “hometown hottie” status and lengthy love screeds written by incarcerated men. But he would go on to file stories on how to start a harem, become a cult leader, and hack down that tree blocking your view of the nudist camp next door.
As for his golf education, Dojc began having his good walks spoiled back in high school, thanks to a little familial nudge. Perhaps they felt his persistent pop outs in teen league baseball obscured a latent talent.
“My grandfather, who worked in the office furniture manufacturing industry, was very athletic, well into his twilight years, but he preferred pumping serious iron to knocking the dimples out of golf balls,” says Dojc. “So, I would get the call to sub in for him when he was invited to corporate golf outings.”
“These tourneys were always best ball affairs, so even though I was just getting the hang of the game back then, I was still able to contribute, albeit my moments of early golf glory typically took place on the greens—where my then unorthodox stare-at-the-hole-and-shoot style which would later be perfected by Jordan Spieth yielded a few startling cup clangers.”
And don’t expect to see Dojc in the field at July’s Canadian Open. His golf swing pretty much mirrors his brand of comedy, coming off quick, and a touch hammy. As Slinging Birdies gains steam, the dream is for it to get picked up by a foreign network.
“I think it would really connect well with audiences on Golf Network Slovakia,” he deadpans.