As part of the 10 year anniversary of Hooked On Golf Blog I’m going back in time to some highlights of the past.
This post will be a quick recap of the first few years in the life of Hooked On Golf Blog, 2004-2006. In those years I broke ground on many golf blog techniques and features, which many hundreds of subsequent blogs have copied in one way or another, and still do today. When I started, there were no blogs “reviewing” golf equipment, apparel, golf courses, anything else. It was the wild wild west of golf blogging.
After the first post in December of 2004 I posted my first review of any golf product, which was Golf for Dummies DVD by Gary McCord.
In December 2004 I also started developing a golf community website called Web Country Club. Later WCC would die and I would create The Golf Space, which is still around and has over 6,000 members.
In January of 2005 I began ranting about sappy musicians playing golf in pro-ams, like Michael Bolton. That ranting would be a craft I would spend years perfecting and I’m still getting better at it. Kenny G? Pass the barf bag.
In the spring of 2005 I posted many opinions and results from PGA Tour events. I also posted my first few golf course photos from a golf trip to Vegas. Little did I know how many courses and photos would be coming over the next 10 years.
Around March 2005 I tried something to spruce up my then Blogger blog theme. I put a Titleist golf ball up in the corner of the website. About 15 minutes later someone from TaylorMade emailed and asked if I wanted to review some prototype golf balls, and perhaps even write about it. They also “suggested” that the Titleist golf ball didn’t look that great and should be removed. A few days later I received my first product submission, a Maxfli prototype golf ball which I really liked at the time. Shortly after receiving the balls, I played 92 consecutive holes with one.
March would mark the date I would post my first golf club review, the Ping Craz-E. I would also post my first golf travel review of La Costa Resort and Spa. I was not all that great a doing those types of reviews, but how could I be? I was a golf gravel writing virgin.
Unfortunately some of the photos from 2004-2005 were on Flickr, and are no longer available. One of the lessons I would soon learn was to host and be in control of ALL of my content and media.
April 2005 was the first Masters month for HOG. Tiger Woods would win that Masters with the incredible chip-in on the par-3 16th, and it would be the last Masters which Jack Nicklaus would compete in, sniff sniff.
On April 9, 2005 HOG made a big move. I left the Google/Blogger.com domain and opened the site on WordPress with its own domain name, HookedOnGolfBlog.com. In hindsight I wish I would have found a shorter URL but it is waaaaay too late to worry about that now.
In June 2005 Travel Golf asked me to join them as a golf writer. I declined to focus on HOG. Years later they would be bought by Golf Channel.
In July 2005 The Golf Chick golf blog began, and I’d eventually build up a long and great friendship with Kristen Williams. She’s awesome.
Jack Nicklaus said farewell to competitive professional golf as he waved while standing on the Swilcan Bridge at the Old Course in the 2005 Open Championship. Sniff sniff. In the same tournament, Tiger Woods won his 10th major.
In July of 2005 I posted my 300th golf blog article. July 2005 also marked the departure of “MJ on Golf,” a nice blog by a very cool cat named Mike Jones. Mike was a good digital friend.
In August of 2005 I had the pleasure of meeting Jack Nicklaus. On the same day I met Billy Casper and helped him find his way.
In August 2005 I made it to the final championship match at Meadowbrook Golf Club. My opponent, a former pro, made five birdies in a row to close me out. Nice playing buddy.
Last story of August is when my then 8-year-old daughter was hanging out with Bill Murray at a golf tournament. He even bought her a snow cone.
In September of 2005 my proudest moment in golf happened, I won my first club championship!
The first big event of 2006 was unfortunately the loss of a golf pal to cancer. RIP Bobby.
In February 2006 I received my first Google check for advertising. I think it was a little over $5.00.
The 14 Ball Putter was introduced.
The Golf Space, a golf social networking site I built, opened its doors.
My golf stats tracker came to life online at The Golf Space for the first time.
I was one of a few people invited to play Ballyneal before it opened and during the round, a new friend carded a hole-in-one. Picture below:
Unfortunately in November the site was hacked and completely dropped off of Google’s rankings as a result.