Today marks the 11th birthday blogday of this humble, single-writer, independent golf blog. This blog was founded before most people had heard the word “blog” and before all the magazines and newspapers started calling their columns blogs. This blog is one of the originals, in the group of perhaps the first 4-5 golf blogs ever founded, and one of 2-3 that are still in operation since 2004. To date, I’ve “crafted” (ahem) 5,268 golf blog posts, 2-3 of them are actually quite good.
Diamante Dunes 16 Green
In 11 years I’ve traveled to some of the world’s most spectacular golf destinations, from St Andrews to Cabo to Colombia to New Mexico. I affectionately call these travels the HOG World Tour. I’ve played many of the world’s top courses, some which had not even opened yet like Ballyneal in Colorado and Diamante Dunes in Los Cabos, Mexico. I’ve tested and blogged about hundreds of golf clubs, golf gadgets, and golf apparel items. Though not the primary focus of this blog, I’ve covered many PGA Tour and amateur golf events. I’ve been to the hallowed grounds Augusta National Golf Club several times. I was one of the first bloggers to do live blogging from the PGA Merchandise Show. Now it’s old hat.
Anna Rawson and me. You can tell she’s in love…
The gear, the golf, and the travel are great, but by far the best part of my experience in the golf blog world has been all the amazing and interesting people. Many of the people whom I would never have met without this golf blog have become lifelong friends.
I’ve managed to make acquaintance with so many of golf’s greats and celebrities it could take me a long while to write them all down. Highlights include Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Gary Player (check out my interview with Mr. Player), actor Robert Duval (nice long interview), Dave Stockton, Chi Chi Rodriguez, played golf with George Brett, Fuzzy Zoeller, Duffy Waldorf, Anna Rawson, Blair O’ Neal (interview), Fred Funk (interviewed), John Daly, Rocco Mediate, Billy Casper, Dave Pelz, Charles Barkley, Doctor J – Julius Irving, John Elway, Mario Lemieux, Michael Strahan… There are many I forget.
Celebrities aside there are some amazing people I’ve established relationships with in the golf world. Some are bloggers like John Retzer (Golf Blogger), Jay Flemma, Kristen Williams (The Golf Chick), John Duval, Robert Rodriguez, Mike Bailey… It’s a long list of great people and some great writers. Other amazing people I’ve met through golf blogging are golf pros or directors of golf at fantastic resorts like Tom Velarde at Black Mesa Golf Club who has become a very close friend. Some of the great people I’ve met are in golf equipment like Jesse Ortiz (Bobby Jones Golf), or small entrepreneurs like Scottish putter maker Grant Mackay.
My pal John Boyne (left) and myself at the Home of Golf, St Andrews Scotland
Last but certainly not least is a special friend John Boyne of Caddie Golf Tours, who is a caddie at the Old Course in St Andrews (pictured right).
I’m so thankful for all the great opportunities that have presented themselves to me as a result of this golf blog and quite frankly as a result of my hard work. The past 11 years have been 11 of the greatest years I’ve had on this planet. This last year has been a struggle in my golf game and in my personal world and some of my blogging (or lack thereof) has reflected that. But I’ve stuck with it and plan to continue on this journey, wherever it leads.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to get going on year #12 of golf blogging. Stay tuned and thanks for your patronage.
Golf is a game of honor, right? That’s exactly why the USGA does not trust us to post scores when played as a single.
To further support the key System premise of peer review, scores made while playing alone will no longer be acceptable for handicap purposes.
A hell of a lot of golfers I know play by themselves. We call penalties on ourselves, right? But we can’t be trusted to record our own scores?
This is one of the many reasons I no longer pay the out-of-touch USGA to be a “member.” Yeah, no more cheapo free U.S. Open hat for me. Other than the hat there was seriously no benefit. None. Oh, wait. I did get a free notepad with about 10 sheets of paper on it for, you know, those times I use paper.
I’m inspired to post these comments because of the fantastic commentary written by my friend Golf Blogger. Check out his article The USGA Just Called Me A Liar. John (Golf Blogger) nails it.
This rule shows once again that the Golf Lords of the USGA are out of touch with the peasant’s game.
The lack of average golfer representation is, I think, at the root of the USGA disconnect. The USGA doesn’t represent me, or anyone I know.
That’s a birdie if I ever read one. Nice job John.
Sort of like gun control laws, all this rule will do is affect golfers who follow the rules. The Saturday group that allows illegal drops, gimme putts inside the leather of a 58″ club, and mulligans will still do those things. Those players will still win all the net games and come in at one billion under par in corporate/charity scrambles. We will still hate them.
And what will the USGA do about rounds punched in after the fact, on apps and computers? I often punch in my UGA (Utah Golf Association) scores the evening of my round when I’m at my computer. Will the USGA require an email address of the “witness” in order to allow the posted score? Come on.
Does this grow the game? No. Then again, the USGA doesn’t care about growing the game. It cares about growing the USGA.
Well it is that time of year, the “gift guides” are all over the blogosphere now. Ah, I remember back in the days when I did one of the only golf blog Christmas gift guides. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Today’s golf gift guide is specifically geared around golf apparel. Featured below I have several golf apparel suggestions. Click the title of each one, or the image to read the full review. Happy Christmas shopping! If you follow my suggestions, your gift recipient will be very happy.
Any HOG reader knows already that Kentwool Socks are THE best golf sock, ever in the whole universe. Now they have colors for your favorite college teams. These aren’t cheap, but I REFUSE to wear any other sock.
Get the person on your Christmas gift list a custom milled golf buckle and belt from NXT18 Golf. Send them a graphic and they’ll put it right on the buckle. If you’re not sure what graphic to use, they have the HOG logo on file.
Note: Above is a Twitter post embedded. Follow me! Also, the cover pic of the deep snow is a HOG “file photo.” There’s only an inch or so on the ground right now.
The end of the season? Perhaps. Looking back over my yearly golf records the season’s last round is usually in the first week of December. The first spring round usually March. I won’t cry a river of tears if it is the last of 2015. I’ve struggled this year and look forward to a mental break, and coming back fresh in the spring.
Then again, the temps should reach the 50’s by the weekend….
Here are some highlights from the Hell Day tournament at one of my home courses, River Oaks. I introduced this format to the club when I was club president and I’m glad to see that legacy carrying on years after my reign ended. One might call this format a Halloween golf tournament (for those of you googling that term…) Below is a highlight video from my group, showing some of the very tough putting conditions and below that are some photos.
Teeing off on the par-3 12th
Not really sure what is going on here…
This is AWESOME. Halloween pumpkin painted next to the 17th tee
16 tee, carved out of the bushes WAY right of the fairway
Pumpkins are immovable objects
Lasering a yardage on #15 tee
Trophy for LAST place is a guy bending over and blowing a snot rocket on his ball