Netflix golf hit ‘Full Swing’ is brainchild of UGA grad Chad Mumm

Rory McIIroy with his hardware after winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup by sinking a birdie putt on the fourth playoff hole during the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Atlanta. McIlroy beat Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell in a three way playoff.   Curtis Compton /



Rory McIIroy with his hardware after winning the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup by sinking a birdie putt on the fourth playoff hole during the final round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Atlanta. McIlroy beat Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell in a three way playoff. Curtis Compton /

AUGUSTA — The 88th Masters Tournament will be in full swing Thursday, and the hope of golf fans everywhere is the show by the same name soon will be, too.

By now, millions are familiar with “Full Swing,” the docuseries that utilizes unprecedented access to golfers competing on the PGA and LIV tours and follows them for a year on their journeys around the globe. In its first couple of years, it has humanized stars such as Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa and made stars out of journeyman pros such as Joel Dahmen, his caddie and up-and-comers like Tom Kim.

Lesser known, likely, is that the series has some strong Atlanta ties. The show is the brainchild of native Atlantan Chad Mumm. Though self-described as a “military brat” who was born in Japan, Mumm attended McIntosh High in Peachtree City and graduated from the University of Georgia.

In the Peach State, Mumm fell in love with golf. His first job was working at a Pro Golf Discount store as a 14-year-old. Later, he was a cart boy at Planterra Ridge Golf Club in Peachtree City.

“I used to wash golf carts down there and, you know, that let me play golf for free,” Mumm said in a recent interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I played a little junior golf, here and there and I played golf at McIntosh. When I went to Georgia, I worked at the driving range some while I was there. You know, golf is something I never stopped thinking about.”

Only recently, though, is golf something that Mumm can think about all the time. He has been producing tons of television shows in the years since he left Georgia, first from New York, then Hollywood. In fact, he is the producer of the number one show on Netflix right now.

Chad Mumm, a UGA grad, is the executive producer of the Netflix series Full Swing.

Credit: Photo provided

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Credit: Photo provided

“Files of the Unexplained” is another docuseries and falls within the crime and sci-fi genre that dominated Mumm’s work before “Full Swing.” It investigates ghost stories, UFO encounters and strange disappearances. One of its episodes focuses on the alleged haunting of Lake Lanier, another homage to Mumm’s Georgia’s ties.

“Files of the Unexplained” is just one of numerous story-telling projects that Mumm has led since graduating from UGA’s Grady College of Journalism. He has done true-crime shows and food shows. As chief creative officer of Vox Studios in Los Angeles, Mumm has made “50-something shows” over the years and made a name for himself in the process. Still well shy of turning 40, he has been distinguished as a “30 Under 30″ entrepreneur by Forbes Magazine in 2016 and a “40 Under 40″ alumnus by the University of Georgia in 2022.

But there is no subject about which Mumm is more passionate than golf. For that reason, he made the recent decision to chronice that sport as his full-time job.

That meant stepping away from his position at Vox Studios. It also meant raising capital and brokering a more permanent, exclusive relationship with the PGA Tour. Several handshakes and $20 million in fundraising later, “Pro Shop Studios” was founded and began operations on April 1. The new media company and its investors will focus exclusively on golf entertainment ventures and managing the PGA Tour’s digital and social media platforms.

“I just started thinking, I love golf so much and, being able to pull off ‘Full Swing’ is such a dream that I wanted to do more in the game,” Mumm said. “It felt like, you know, golf was having its moment in culture. Thanks to ‘Full Swing’ and a bunch of other factors, it’s gotten a lot cooler, in terms of athletes and celebrities and musicians and country stars and everybody just becoming obsessed with golf. There was this kind of like this growing wave of golf becoming cool probably for the first time since like the Seventies.”

Though it might appear an overnight success, “Full Swing” was a nearly decade-long process of Mumm nurturing a relationship and building trust with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and other stakeholders of professional golf.

“It was years in the making,” Mumm said. Once he had the trust of the tour, Mumm then had to work on the players. They are, after all, independent contractors. So, they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do. Also, they’re not paid.

Rickie Fowler was one of the first players on board, agreeing to give the “Full Swing” crew access way back in 2020. Matthew Fitzpatrick and Wyndham Clark also were early acquisitions. Many others signed on. Storylines emerge organically, so some make the show and others don’t.

Getting McIlroy on board was a huge accomplishment. Not only is he one of the biggest names in golf, for the last three years he has been in the crosshairs of the sport. While emerging as the PGA Tour’s primary diplomat in its often hostile and ever-changing relationship with LIV Golf and trying to maintain his status as one of the greatest golfers in the world, “Full Swing” has been there every step of the way.

“Rory deserves all the credit,” Mumm said. “He embraced the show from the beginning and has leaned way into the series.”

Convincing McIlroy to come on board is a uniquely Atlanta story. Mumm describes “hanging out” in the clubhouse at East Lake Golf Club all week in August 2022 waiting for an opportunity to approach players about participating in the show. He was standing in the lobby outside the players’ locker room when McIlroy came walking through. Recognizing the opportunity, Mumm sidled up and made his pitch.

“Thirty minutes later, he’s wearing one of our microphones,” Mumm said.

As luck would have it, McIlroy came from behind to defeat Scottie Scheffler and win the 2022 Tour Championship.

This past year, the Ryder Cup was the obvious hook for Season 2, but it was a year-long endeavor to pull off. Mumm and his staff had to work through the PGA of America, Ryder Cup USA, Ryder Cup Europe and the DP World Tour to gain all the permissions and access needed before traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to Rome, Italy.

“Full Swing” cameras were there for every step of that journey as well. They were given exclusive access to U.S. and European team captains Zach Johnson and Luke Donald, respectively. They were even there for the personal calls when players were informed if they’d made the team — or not. Infamously, they were in Keegan Bradley’s living room when Johnson called to tell him he’d been passed over.

Thanks to the success of seasons one and two, the script has flipped. Instead of working clubhouse lobbies and locker rooms, players’ agents now are contacting Mumm to see if they can get involved. Notoriety can be a bankable asset for a professional golfer.

As for who might be involved and what the storylines will be in store for Season 3, we don’t even know for sure yet if there will be a Season 3. Mumm won’t say. But seasons one and two have been wildly successful.

Mumm would not confirm that his crew would be on Augusta National’s property this week. However, he was spotted strolling the grounds Tuesday morning with some of his assistants and, later, sitting down for breakfast Tuesday in the press building’s cafeteria. His camera crews, if present, were dutifully out of sight, as the tournament committee would have it.

“We haven’t announced anything publicly about Season 3,” Mumm said. “Obviously, we’re super proud of Season 2 and would love to continue to make this show for as many shows as Netflix will have us.”

Early returns would indicate “Full Swing” and Chad Mumm will be around a while.