I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Rick Limpert for his radio show on Netcast Studio, “Tech of Sports.” Rick is a very connected and knowledgeable guy in the worlds of technology and miscellaneous sports, especially tennis and golf. It was great meeting Rick and playing some golf with him in Michigan earlier this year. He’s a cool cat and produces a massive amount of great content.
Here’s the interview below in audio form. Click the play button on the left side of the controls. We discuss the beginnings of HOG, the game of golf, golf media, gear, Tiger Woods, and all sorts of other interesting subjects.
As I approach the 10 year anniversary of Hooked On Golf Blog I’m thinking about all the hundreds of crappy golf blogs out there now. When I started HOG in 2004 there was no template. There were only a couple of other golf blogs on the net, one of which is still operating. My format was developing on the fly. HOG was one of the first blogs to “review” golf equipment or golf apparel, or golf courses for that matter. Now “review” articles are cheaper than the latest “golf babe” photos on the Trash9Network.
I should just compile this into a top-10 list, but for now here are a few of the things golf bloggers do to make themselves look like idiots.
When identifying one’s self to others as a golf blogger the reactions are quite interesting and entertaining. Whether those reactions are positive or negative seems to depend on the perspective of that individual, and perhaps a personal experience they may have had with golf bloggers. On many occasion I’ve gotten some very bad reactions from professionals in the industry because a boneheaded blogger had been there before me, and f*!ked it all up.
Case in point was one of my first PGA Tour events with a media credential. When talking to the Tour’s media official in the press room about a photo credential, I got quite a reaction. He thrusted his head back and looked at the ceiling rolling his eyes. Then buried his face in his hands. Then he sighed three or four times. I felt like I’d asked him to cosign on a payday loan or something. Upon further discussion I was briefed on how the “last blogger” was a complete idiot and broke nearly every rule imaginable inside the ropes, like clicking his shutter in Tiger Woods’s backswing or asking him questions during the round. Players, caddies, other press, and even fans had complained about this bonehead.
It then became my job to convince the Tour official that not all bloggers were idiots. He begrudgingly gave me a photo credential.
I never clicked in Tiger’s backswing once. Well, Tiger was not in the field that week, but you get the point.
The rest of that week I’m pretty sure that this Tour official noticed that I was the first one in the press room in the morning and the last one to leave at night. By the end of the week, and at subsequent events, I was no longer judged based on a previous bonehead’s actions.
I type fast. I’m trying to write a blog post quickly before I run off to my tee time. Sometimes I make mistakes and a typo or two may fall through the cracks. We are all human. When I find a mistake like that, I kick the dog and fix it. Well, I kick the neighbor’s yelping poodle, but that is a story for another day.
That said, there are grammar errors I will NOT tolerate when reading an article. If a writer can’t use the proper version of they’re/there/their or two/to/too I leave the article immediately. Throw in your/you’re as well. “They’res” nothing worse than bad grammar, run-on sentences, and blatant misspellings which are not proofread. Get “you’re” crap together.
Speaking of bad grammar, there’s a great new Twitter account to follow called GolfBlogGRR. This person (not sure if male or female) scans golf blogs and points out their boneheaded grammar errors, and their crappy photos (see next items).
And by the way, when you see a misspelled word or bad grammar here PLEASE tell me so I can fix it. As a single independent I proofread as best I can, but sometimes I miss. I appreciate it.
I inherently distrust bloggers/reviewers who use stock or public relations photos for their equipment or apparel “reviews.” This makes me think they’re completely full of manure and are making the whole thing up. Take your iPhone or some cheapo camera and shoot a photo of the golf club. Spend two extra minutes and make your review a tiny bit better and more believable.
On second thought, maybe stock photos are better. Why is it so hard for someone to point a camera at a golf club and shoot a picture? Apparently this is difficult. There are countless crappy review photos out there, where the lighting is bad, the background is in focus (not the subject), or the photo was shot in the reviewer’s kitchen with last night’s dirty lasagna dishes in the background. GolfBlogGRRR (mentioned above) is great at pointing out how nice the “carpet” is on many of these bad golf blogger’s photos. Brilliant.
Class it up a bit and shoot a decent photo. Make sure the subject is in focus. Try not to shoot it in your kitchen. This tiny bit of effort will make the review better.
Regurgitating PR Speak
Golf PR agencies love bloggers. Free publicity! The PR agencies send press releases to them and the bloggers post them. Win/win right? The PR agency gets their word out and the blogger doesn’t have to do a damn thing! This is great for apparel scripts and other worthless drivel golf PR companies come out with… It is nauseating and readers see right through it. So does Google.
Even worse than simply posting press releases (I created a site just for press releases so PR agencies wouldn’t be mad that I didn’t post them here), is bloggers who “write” reviews but 99% of it is the same drivel the PR agencies sent them. We all get these press releases. We know who you are.
Brown-Nosing Golf Companies for Free Stuff
“We get so much free stuff it is sick!” was the first thing I heard at certain golf blogger say to me when we first met at the PGA Show a couple of years ago. The guy had started his blog a short time before that. My first reaction was “we?” Who is this guy?
I started my blog back in 2004 for a love of the game and to document my experience. I never started it with “free gear” in mind. I’ve gotten a much gear as anyone I’m sure but let us be perfectly clear, the stuff is NOT free. It takes a lot of work to keep a decent blog going.
Can you trust a golf equipment reviewer who says Brand A’s driver is the “best I’ve ever hit” this week, and then the following week says the same thing about Brand B’s driver? Did that really happen or is this writer just being a shill? Brand B gets all excited about the review, Tweeting and Facebooking it to their fanbase. If they read five posts later though, they’d realize the shill just said the same “great” comments about their competition.
Lame Web Design or a Cookie Cutter Blogspot Domain
Do you want to be a “real” golf website? Get your own URL and take some pride in designing it or making it original and appealing somehow. If your site is mylamegolfblog.blogspot.com, please leave the web now. And take that green blogger template 50,000 other golf blogs are using with you!
Now to be clear I think a blogspot domain or WordPress domain is great for starting up. Get your feet wet. Gain some experience and make sure this is right for you. Then move up to your own URL.
This week’s “bonehead of the week” goes to Golf Channel. I’m fairly sure that Payne Stewart did in fact have two feet. Not a good photoshop job.
Bugger! Where did his foot go?
Also odd that the image is sort of foggy, yet Payne is standing out crystal clear…
Thanks to reader PJ_ONeal for commenting. PJ believes (see comments below) that this is not a photoshop fail, but likely a camera angle in which Payne’s foot was chopped off. I disagree, based on years of graphic design and photoshop. Plus, there’s nothing in the same area of the green to indicate a different level. For fun I did look closer at the image in photoshop:
Here’s a shot from another angle…
Still looks like a bad photoshop to me. But if I’m wrong I’d love to hear about it. I’m more than willing to take a lump if it is deserved.
I decided to post a top ten list of things golf could (should) do without. Similar to Skynet, the list became self-aware and started writing itself. I tried to pull the plug but it was too late. This list is sure to grow, but for now here are the top 51 things golf can do without. The list is numbered, but not ordered in priority.
“Trash9Network” – Here is a prime example of what golf can do without, complete with trashy content, bad photos, and even misspelling the word “caddie”
Equipment release cycles which make your brand new awesome longest-ever shiny $400 driver obsolete junk 10 minutes after you buy it
Morons in PGA Tour galleries who yell “you da man!”
Boneheads who yell “get in the hole!” on 497 yard par-4 tee shots
Idiots who yell “mashed potatoes”
Golf course wedding reception centers (see #7, #8)
Golf course weddings (see #6, #8)
Gigantic clubhouses which cost so much, courses have host weddings to pay for them (see #6, #7)
Golf bloggers who don’t use a spell checker (hope to hell I didn’t spell anything wrong in this piece..)
Golf bloggers/review sites who don’t know how to focus a camera (kudos for taking your own pictures though, see #40, #41)
Golf bloggers who don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re” or “their/there/they’re”
Ex golf “journalists” who call their articles blogs because nobody read them when they were “articles”
Publications who post photos of sluts to generate traffic and call it “golf lifestyle” (see #15, #31, #50)
Back9Network (see #24, #29, #30, #31, #50)
Changes to the rules of a great game which has lasted over 1400 years without Tiger Woods and without modern golf marketing (see #17)
15 inch golf holes
Over-watered Augusta-green golf courses
Watermarked photos of Kidd Rock
Websites/social networks whose sole fan base is there for to get free stuff (see #23)
Players who don’t repair their divots
Cheesy tour vans which are neither associated with a tour, or with a golf equipment manufacturer (see #20)
Reporters who report about Tiger Woods, even when Woods is not playing
Golfers who don’t fix their ball marks
Golf courses designed and built for the sole purpose of of selling real estate
More websites covering professional golf, recapping last week’s scores
Photos of hot tour wives and girlfriends/golf T&A (see #14, #15, #31, #50)
24/7 coverage of Lindsey Vonn, Amanda Dufner, Elin Nordegren, Paulina Gretzky (see #13, #14, #15, #28, #50)
More “how to fix your slice” instruction pieces. The first 48,892,103 didn’t work.
Grow the Game initiatives proposed and championed by those who have a vested financial interest in golf. (Thanks Kent from Twitter)
Recreational golfers reading a putt from 4 sides like $1M was riding on it. (Thanks Gary from Twitter)
More “what’s in the bag?” photos (especially those with watermarks)
Last night was the second edition of the Golf Blogger’s Square Table Discussion, a live Google Hangout on air. This is a new thing I’ve been putting together in the hopes of producing some new, interesting content. Last night’s discussion was regarding the 2014 Masters Tournament, with a bit of 2014 U.S. Open thrown in. Participants in the chat were Doug Farrick from Golf Dash, Jay Flemma from Cybergolf and his own website, Rob Hayashida from Sandbox8 and myself.
Check it out:
I plan to do these at relevant times during the golf season, such as before and after all major championships. We may also talk equipment, apparel, the game, instruction, and other subjects at random times during the year so stay tuned.
I’m also using the hangouts for interviews, which is quite fun. Watch for more interviews coming soon.