Full Swing Season 1 Episode 4 Recap: Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome follows one of the PGA Tour's most down-to-earth, and self-deprecating, players Joel Dahmen

Joel Dahmen hits a tee shot at the US Open
(Image credit: Netflix)

Episode 4 of Netflix's Full Swing docuseries about the PGA Tour features one of the tour's lesser-known but much-loved players Joel Dahmen. Warning - stop reading now if you want to avoid Full Swing spoilers!

Dahmen is a one-time PGA Tour winner and is known for being a very down-to-earth guy but Imposter Syndrome offers a fascinating look inside the mind of what is one of pro golf's most modest and self-doubting players.

It focusses on his home life, with he and wife Lona expecting their first child, his relationship with his caddie Geno Bonnalie and his experience at the US Open, where he records his second ever Major top-10 after briefly holding the lead.

Episode 4 is a real tear jerker, with the American revealing how his life was completely turned upside down when his mother died within six months of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was then diagnosed with testicular cancer in his early professional days after somehow finding his way towards the sport's elite level despite the huge tragedy in his life. Dahmen discusses his ordeal with losing his mother and then dealing with cancer and you might just need a box of tissues.

Joel's bag man Geno features a lot in this episode as it's hard to really think about one without the other once you get to know their friendship. They've known each other since they were kids growing up in Washington state and Joel fights back tears when he starts to read out Geno's incredible job application.

"I can't believe I'm getting emotional. That's how much I love Geno"

The story of how Geno became my caddie is interesting," Dahmen explains. "Basically he had this email that he sent to me."

Full Swing then intertwines footage of the pair each reading sections of the letter:

"First off I want to tell you how proud of you I am. Not only do I think you're going to make the big time, I truly believe you're one of the best players in the world.

"That being said, I'd like to officially apply for the position of Joel Dahmen's caddie. I just want what's best for you and I truly believe that you and I would thrive together.

"I already have a plan to get rid of my truck and buy a Honda Civic and modify it to be my house."

Joel Dahmen and Geno Bonnalie at the Netflix Full Swing Premiere red carpet

Joel and Geno at the Full Swing premiere

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I can't believe I'm getting emotional," Dahmen says in the documentary, holding back tears. "That's how much I love Geno."

"And I hired him, obviously."

The pair clearly have a bond unlike many other player-caddie relationships in pro golf. They are thriving now on the PGA Tour but it wasn't always that way, with Geno revealing that he made just $87 in his first year caddying for Joel.

Geno also explains how much PGA Tour caddies earn, with around $2,000 per week to cover expenses and then anywhere between 7-10% of earnings.

"Joel is definitely different to many of the other golfers out there. Joel is capable of being top 30 in the world I would say, that being said I don't know if Joel wants to be top 30 in the world"

The self-deprecating nature of Joel is shown throughout Imposter Syndrome, where it becomes clear that he just doesn't think he'll ever win a Major or go on to achieve greatness in the game - despite being one of the world's best players.

"Joel is definitely different to many of the other golfers out there," Geno says. "Joel is capable of being top 30 in the world I would say, that being said I don't know if Joel wants to be top 30 in the world"

We also hear from Max Homa at a yard party, who essentially reiterates what Dahmen's views are of his golf ability. "I would say most of my adult beverage nights with Joel and with me yelling at Joel about how good he is at golf and trying to get him to realise it."

"When I retire with golf, no one's gonna remember who I am," Joel says. "I understand that, I'm fine with that. I'm not playing for legacy. Some people will be like ,'Well that's why you'll never be great because you don't believe it.'"

US Open

The episode follows Joel and Geno at US Open Final Qualifying, which he wasn't even sure about entering. He eventually makes it through after a poor opening 18, some White Claws at lunch and then a brilliant second round to take one of the 13 spots.

Joel doesn't even seem sure of playing the second round, but he catapults himself up the leaderboard to book his spot at Brookline for his third appearance in the USA's national open.

From qualifying into the event, Joel then goes on to tie the halfway lead the US Open and we follow him throughout the week.

Joel Dahmen and his caddie walking at the 2022 US Open

Dahmen finished inside the top-10 at the 2022 US Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Am I ready to win a Major? I don't know if I'm good enough," he says. "I need a lot of stars to align in one week."

"It wasn't long ago I wasn't gonna qualify and now I'm here and I've kinda said this multiple times that I'm pretty good at golf. I always believe that but I probably need to believe it a little more. So maybe I'll start speaking it out loud more often."

Joel doesn't go on to win the US Open but he does win over $400,000 and both he and Geno will win a huge amount of fans after this episode.

Imposter Syndrome might just be the best episode yet.

Full Swing Season 1 Episode 4: Imposter Syndrome

  • Episode length: 42 minutes
  • Synopsis: Ahead of the U.S. Open, fun-loving and self-deprecating Joel Dahmen must embrace growing responsibilities if he wants a place as a top professional golfer.
  • Main cast: Joel Dahmen, Geno Bonallie, Lona Dahmen, Max Homa
  • Tournaments featured: US Open qualifying, US Open
Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV