Who is Joel Dahmen? He’s not a particularly well-known golfer, perhaps most famous for whipping his shirt off and chugging a beer on the course at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2022 to the delight of the rowdy crowd. At the start of the episode, we’re introduced to Dahmen in his own words — “someone’s gotta be the 70th-best golfer in the world. Might as well be me.”
But Dahmen is so, so much more than that. If he’s not the fan favorite on the PGA TOUR after this Netflix show, I’ll be shocked. Humble to a point of occasional self-deprecation, Dahmen is the ultimate everyman. Watching him and his caddie, Geno Bonnalie, rib each other during officially sanctioned PGA TOUR tournaments will feel like a throwback to hitting the local course with your buddies and a few beers. In fact, during a qualifying event to get into the U.S. Open, Dahmen knocks back a couple of White Claws with Bonnalie. He goes on to take the lead in that same U.S. Open and finish tied for 10th place.
He and Bonnalie go way back. Their relationship is clearly very special — they work together, but they feel more like brothers. Each man tears up when talking about the other and reminiscing on their early days together. Dahmen’s wife, Lona, is fantastic as well — working out in the gym alongside him and giving viewers the perspective of someone who holds Dahmen in a much higher regard than he holds himself.
We reach into the last decade — Dahmen’s mother died from pancreatic cancer when he was a teenager, and he had a bout of testicular cancer just a few years ago. He has been through a lot, which perhaps puts it all in perspective — he doesn’t have that win-or-die edge that we see from so many other golfers in this series, and yet he clearly has this incredible natural talent that allows him to keep pace with the best of the best on some of the toughest courses in the country.
Dahmen won his first PGA TOUR event in 2021. His statement afterwards? “It is so freaking hard to win a golf tournament.”
Everyone else in the episode, including fellow golfer Max Homa, keeps repeating that Dahmen could be one of the top-ranked golfers in the world if he wanted to, but the question remains — does he want to? If you watch even one episode of this show, make it this one. As Bonnalie says at the start of the episode, “he’s just your friendly neighbor who is really fucking good at hitting a golf ball.” Dahmen is an absolute delight.
Full Swing is available to watch on Netflix. All episodes are out now.