Just in case you stumbled onto our OLD blogger blog, we wanted to let you know that Golf is Hard TV is best viewed at www.golfishardtv.com. Please update your links!

Golf is Hard TV Episode 1

>> January 31, 2009

We couldn't be more excited to present the first episode of our new video podcast (or vlog, or whatever you want to call it)!

Golf is Hard TV is going to be the Internet's most passionate golf show. Bear with us as we figure out the lighting, audio, content and everything else.

Please leave comments and suggestions or questions for Coach Dave. If you'd like Dave to take a look and make some swing suggestions, upload your videos to Youtube and send us the link.

Enjoy the show!



Show notes/links
Introduction and Welcome
Putting Lesson
You Spent What, On What?
Super Bowl Picks

Links
Golf Galaxy and Dicks Sporting Goods

Steele Canyon Golf Course

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World Golf Tour

>> January 29, 2009



Have you come across this amazing web/game site yet? From their web site (PR baloney...)

World Golf TourTM (www.wgt.com) (WGT) is the world's most authentic online golf experience. WGT's mission is to bring the golf lifestyle and game to everyone via the Web, making the sport accessible and affordable for all. The World Golf Tour experience allows golf enthusiasts to play the world's most challenging and exclusive courses through superior HD graphics on a PC or Mac platform – for free, no download or software needed. WGT's online community allows friends, families and golf fans to play a round of golf simultaneously, competing in tournaments for prizes, sharing scores, testing out the newest equipment and reading the latest news in the golfing world.
But the thing is... this site absolutely rocks! The game features individual play on high resolution courses and multi-player features. They also have tournaments and other great game features.

The game features several courses including Kiawah Island and Bali Hai. Golfers can play practice rounds or take the skill challenge. You can also tee it up in online tournaments that feature cash prizes.

Check out these awesome graphics:





Most importantly, this game is way addicting, seriously. My profile is "msirkin" - find me if you want, or leave a comment with your email address and I will invite you. Let's tee it up!

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It's Great to Join GIH...Hope to Help You Play Better, Laugh and Simply Have More Fun

>> January 28, 2009

Hello There Fellow GIHers...

Thanks Marc for the invitation to join in here at Golf Is Hard...I remember playing a lot of golf with one of the members at my first club, he was a 1 handicap. We would have some heated matches although usually they were just a $2 Nassau. Most of the time, after we finished and were walking up the hill to the clubhouse, he would look back and say, "Dave, that'll be five ways!" (meaning I owed him $10). As a struggling, poor golf pro, it was very hard to hand over 10 bucks to a guy making 6 figures plus, but hey, I lost. When I kicked his butt though, it was like winning the lottery. No doubt a motivation for me to practice. Anyway...I remember this because he would always say..."this game is hard". No doubt this is the hardest game in the world to master...and in fact, no one ever does. Just ask Tiger...he is always looking for a way to get better. The best athletes from other sports (Michael Jordan, etc.) have admitted this is the hardest game ever...so don't ever try to get it...and don't ever say you figured it out after shooting your best round, because the Golf Gods will certainly find you and you will have five bad rounds after! If you are laughing now, you know what I am talking about. Just have fun with it!

Looking forward to hearing from you...your biggest challenges on the course...where you want to improve in '09...any specific questions you have about your game, how to get your kids into it or into a good program...If you live in the northeast and need some help on getting your own lawn in perfect shape this year...we can help with that too....if you have a question about cooking an awesome Italian meal (and have it ready for when you get back from the course)..send it our way...if you are a Yaknees or Giants fan...my condolences and please direct those questions directly to Marc....let's have some fun!

DV

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Sadly, I'm Not the Best Golfer on GIH Anymore...

Golf is Hard is expanding... ever since I wondered out loud about what this blog was good for, I have been wondering if GIH could be something bigger, better or hell, even more useful.

For now though, I want to introduce you to a friend, co-conspirator and former PGA pro Dave Vitols. He'll be helping me realize the true potential of this blog (lots of people reading and joining us in our love of golf). We both have a passion for the game and a rapidly expanding vision that we can both entertain and help people become better golfers.

So even though it stings to no longer be the best golfer on GIH, I am thrilled to have Dave to help provide some actual insights and help for us "average" golfers.

Look for Dave's posts (coming soon)!

For now, Dave, this is everyone... everyone, this is Dave.

GIH Marc: Hey Dave, and welcome to your new home on Golf is Hard! What's your golf background?

GIH Pro Dave Vitols:
I always had a passion for golf since I was a little kid. My Dad would take my brother and I to the local courses to look for balls in the woods. I would then clean 'em up and sell them to the players on Sunday mornings. One time, when I was 9 or 10, I remember making about $11. The best ones were the Titleists, I sold them for $.50 each. One day the golf pro saw me and was pissed because I was taking his business...he kicked me off the course. I ended up playing for my high school and college teams and got better every year. I played baseball too, otherwise I might have really gotten to be a good player.

GIH: How did you end up a pro, and why'd you stop?

Dave Vitols:
It was the passion that drove me into the golf business and the dream that I would play on tour (yeah…right). Anyway, after working for about 2 years in a suit and tie, during which time my game steadily improved, I decided to quit my job and pursue the dream. I got to know some of the local club pros, which were sort of mentors, and they hooked me up with a job at a 54 holed private club in Florida. Packed up everything I owned in my car and drove down for a $6/hr ranger job. This place was awesome, practiced everyday and really improved. I landed a great assistant pro job back in MA at a private club and for the next 3 years lived in MA in the summer and Florida in the winter. Worked through the PGA program and landed a great year-round job at a Nicklaus facility in AZ. Spent about four years there, ended up the head pro at one of the courses on property. AZ was the best, played or practiced just about every day, worked with the Nicklaus/Flick golf schools and really learned how to teach well. Played with quite a few tour players…got to be pretty good myself. My most fun round ever was playing with Alice Cooper and Paul Westphal in the same 4-some. Who would expect them to be friends, but that’s what golf does, it brings people together. “Coop” shot a 78 I believe, not bad…

Eventually I got a little burned out…working seven days a week...got married, had kids and decided I needed to not be working every weekend. Still miss teaching…and playing competitively but some day I’ll get back to playing competitively, maybe when the kids go to college…

GIH: What's your best round played?

Dave Vitols:
Shot 67 a few times…but my “best” round was qualifying for the Mass Open, low 70’s but just remember the feeling of qualifying for a great tournament.

(GIH Marc's note): 67! My best is slightly higher.

GIH: What's your favorite golf course?

Dave Vitols:
Desert Mountain’s Geronimo course. Pine Valley is a close second, the caddies there have their own language


GIH: What's your favorite club in the bag?

Dave Vitols:
Used to be the Taylor Made 13 degree burner (fairway metal), made a double eagle hitting it twice on a par 5 on the 12th at Desert Mountain. Always loved the putter too, believed I could make every putt.

GIH: What's your favorite shot to make?

Dave Vitols:
I got to be really good out of the sand while in AZ. Nicklaus designs are usually elevated greens and deep bunkers, so you had to be good. However, there is still nothing like blasting a long straight drive, exactly where you aim it.

GIH: What's your favorite drill when practicing or teaching?

Dave Vitols:
I actually hated doing drills, but the most effective one for almost anyone is hitting shots either with both feet together or balancing on one foot. This really helps promote feeling the weight in the club and helps keep the body relaxed while swinging. Most people are amazed when they see the ball fly more than 80% of their typical distance on a “normal” shot.

When I practiced, I would spend hours on my short game…wedges, etc. of all distances.


GIH: As a golf teacher, what was your favorite type of student?

Dave Vitols:
First, the student that was really passionate about the game, about learning it and about having fun while improving…they were the most fun to teach. As far as seeing the quickest results…the easiest to teach were those that played other sports, especially tennis, baseball, hockey, etc. I say that only because they may have better understood the concept of using their hands to move an object. It is quite easy to teach a baseball player how to hit a golfball…but really…anyone can do it. While in AZ, I gave a few lessons to former Red Sox player Dwight Evans…not only my favorite team growing up…but one of my favorite players…what a blast. Or course I made him swing the golf club like a baseball bat, I had to see the old sweet swing up close.

Folks... this is a new day for Golf is Hard... strap in because it's going to get interesting from here on out.

If you have specific questions for Dave, please leave them here in the comments!

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I Knew He'd Make That Putt

>> January 27, 2009

Have you stumbled onto this amazing essay/article by Joe Posnanski "The Meaning of Tiger Woods?"

It's a wonderfully written article with some great insights and questions about the greatest golfer ever.

I love this Rocco quote in particular:

“I knew he’d make it,” Mediate shouted when Tiger made it. We all knew. Anyone could make that putt with the right read, a good stroke and a touch of providence. I’d even say that most excellent pros could make that putt in that moment, under that pressure, with a throbbing knee and a U.S. Open at stake. But only Tiger would make it. Maybe that’s the difference with Tiger, the difference between could and would.

What's compelling about this essay is that Joe exposes us to the fact that we really don't know Tiger at all... in a supposed age of transparency, Tiger's true self is shielded from us in subtle but important ways.

Joe points out a few terrific stories including this one about MJ that I absolutely love...

I know a pretty telling story about Michael Jordan. It seems that he was practicing before a game, and arena people were going through all the scoreboard games to make sure they worked. “Hey,” Michael yelled out. “Who wins the dot game tonight?” They told him … say it was blue. That night, during a timeout, the dot game began. Jordan turned to Scottie Pippen: “Hey, bet you a thousand dollars blue wins.” Something about that gets me closer to Michael Jordan, his hunger for action, his need for control, his preparation, his desperation to win. Pippen agreed to the bet, which tells you plenty about him too.
Think about this for a moment.. where are all the great stories about Tiger?

He sanitizes his image daily. He speaks in platitudes and technicalities and circles — “I love competing,” he says, and “I just try to stay in the moment,” and all that. He does not want to be known.
That quote reminds me of when Crash Davis teaches Nuke Laloosh in Bull Durham about handling interviews...
Crash Davis: It's time to work on your interviews.
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: My interviews? What do I gotta do?
Crash Davis: You're gonna have to learn your clich├ęs. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. They're your friends. Write this down: "We gotta play it one day at a time."
Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: Got to play... it's pretty boring.
Crash Davis: 'Course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down.
Thanks Joe, for a terrific essay on the greatest golfer. This is seriously, one of the best pieces of writing I've seen in a long, long time.

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Finally, A Real Golf Tour for the Average Golfer




Golf Galaxy sent me an email to their VIP Golf Galaxy Tour titled "Finally, A Real Golf Tour for the Average Golfer."

I'm not sure how they are defining average, but the overview says that the tour is "Open to golfers who normally score 95 or less on 18 holes. Men, women and juniors welcome." Average eh? I think maybe they'd get a few more entrants (me maybe!) if they expanded this to golfers who "sometimes break 100."

The entry form asks "What do you normally score on 18 holes?" The choices..

  • 79 or less
  • 80-84
  • 85 or higher
Yea.. that's average for sure!

So let's say for arguments sake that you shoot 90 or normally, you might be tempted to sign up...

The package looks pretty sweet and has lots of goodies baked in. You can learn more on the VIP Golf Galaxy site. It includes a number of nice benefits including hats, balls and discounts. It looks like the basic package, priced at $99 is actually worth about $500 if you manage to take advantage of everything they are offering. Golf Galaxy also has a higher end package priced at $149 that includes a $50 Callaway gift card and a $20 Golf Galaxy card. In addition, there is potentially over $1000 in tour winnings.

You can check out all the different locations and select the one that's closest to you. I'm in CT and they have a Milford, CT tour stop as well.

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The Golf Fix

>> January 26, 2009

Anyone else going to check out "The Golf Fix" on GC tonight? I set my DVR to record it and hope it's not more of the usual stuff. I'm starting to get a little sick of tips and technique shows.

I do like the idea of the live component of the show - even though I won't be watching it live!

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What is an Average Player?

>> January 17, 2009

I'm wondering what you all think is an "average" player. I've been doing a little digging and set up a poll over on the right hand side (please vote!) to see what folks think an average player shoots.

I'm convinced that if you look at the average handicap (I believe it's around 15-16 according to the USGA), you are leaving out way, way too many casual and non-handicapped golfers. One of the things about golf that I really dislike is how elite it can feel at times.

I've personally been intimidated when playing golf for lots of reasons (lack of a fancy bag, perfect swing, the latest clubs etc...) and frankly, am a bit sick of it. Golf is a great, great game and the more I think about the barriers that exist for casual and inexperienced players the more I want to try to do something about it.

So... let's start with what you think is an average player, take the poll on the right and leave comments below and we'll go from there.

Photo credit

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Golf Lesson Just For You!

>> January 16, 2009

Need a quick pick me up or some new swing thoughts? Check out this graphic and the embedded video below. You can thank me later!


(I have no idea where this graphic came from, I saw it on a mailing list. If it's yours, send me a note and I'll give you some credit!

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GIH Interview: GolfGym's Ken Pierce

Getting in better shape has been a priority for me for a few months. I recently added an occasional pilates workout my other routines in an effort to focus on my core a bit more. Everything I read tells me that I'll get some great golf benefits with a stronger, more flexible core.

To that end, I stumbled on to a company called GolfGym (or follow on Twitter) and decided to reach out to them to learn more and do a quick interview. I was thrilled that Ken responded so quickly and played along with my interview questions. He's partnered with PGA Coach Joey D who works with Pat Perez, Tom Pernice, Jr., Ryuji Imada and Tim Wilkinson. I wanted to learn a little more about Ken, his business and getting fit for better golf.

I enjoyed doing this interview and plan to do more... so if you run a golf business, own a golf course, are a coach or just want to chat, drop me a note!

Golf is Hard:
Let's start with golf... How often do you play, and what's your handicap?

Ken/GolfGym:
It is a running joke that everyone in the golf business must play golf all the time…Actually we are busy running our golf businesses. So, I play as much as I can in the summer when the light is longer after I leave the office. I get out occasionally in the winter, given that we live in California. My handicap is about 15. I haven’t posted lately. I go out as a single most times and really enjoy just walking 18 holes with different partners and hitting good shots and generally don’t think so much about the final score.

GIH:
Let's talk favorites... ho is your favorite current PGA and/or LPGA pro? Favorite all-time golfer?

Ken/GolfGym:
Favorite PGA Player is currently Ryuji Imada (he is highlighted on our new DVD’s and is a great guy and a very hard worker). I admire Morgan Pressel on the LPGA Tour.

GIH:
I'm fascinated by entrepreneurs who are able to carve a successful golf business for themselves, briefly tell me the story behind GolfGym.

Ken/GolfGym:
I created the Original GolfGym PowerSwing Trainer in 1987. I could go on for days. Better you go to: www.golfgym.com/story. Bottom line….tenacity.

GIH:
I'm a high handicapper and in decent shape (at least good enogh shape to walk 18), what should I be focused on during the winter to get myself into shape to play better golf this spring?

Ken/GolfGym:
Cardio is always good, but resistance training is the best. Go to my blog and view the last large post from December. It focuses on exactly what you are talking about.

GIH:
What are the key differences that amateurs and hackers should focus on that is different than training pro golfers?

Ken/GolfGym:
There really are no differences in the techniques you should use in your training. The difference is that the Pros hit so many balls every day and are so "Golf Fit" that they don’t necessarily have to concentrate on what their body is doing in their swing. They concentrate more on the tiny nuances that will make the ball go exactly where they want it to. If we would work more on our bodies and become stronger, we wouldn’t have to think so much about swinging harder only smoother. A firm base and strong core would help us develop a more consistent swing which would result in more consistent ball contact and better shots.

GIH:
My daughters are both lucky enough to play a bit of golf through the Girls Scouts but they are still very young (11 and 9). Can you share any tips for young female golfers?


Ken/GolfGym:
Most women, especially young women lack the strength necessary to generate enough club head speed to hit the ball farther consistently. Women for the most part are very flexible, that’s not the issue. It is the strength in the legs and core to hold a firm stance and control their upper body in the swing. Once again, golf specific resistance training is the answer. We recommend very light resistance with more golf specific repetitions to train the neurotransmitters in the body to fire more consistently.

Ken emailed me back a day after to clarify one thing on fitness:


Ken/GolfGym:
I did say that women are generally more flexible than men, but failed to make the point that both men and women have to make stretching (properly) a part of their regular routine.

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What Would You Shoot?

>> January 13, 2009


Just saw this today and just entered myself. I think I will pass on the video though.

It’s your chance to test your game on one of golf’s greatest stages: The Black Course at Bethpage State Park in New York this June, playing under the same conditions the best golfers in the world will face at the 2009 U.S. Open Championship. We’re talking 7,426 yards of penal rough, fearsome bunkers and some of the fastest, firmest greens you’ll ever see.

You’ll tee it up with three world-famous celebrities, including basketball legend Michael Jordan (with Fred Couples on his bag, no less!), counting every shot, while the NBC cameras are rolling.

Six words are all it takes to enter the U.S. Open Challenge and get the chance to play the round of a lifetime. Something like..."The USGA rules. So will I."

Here’s where you can enter.

So, what would I shoot? I don’t know, but when I signed up here are my 6 words.

“I hope I make a triple.”

Here are some other entries:

  • Tee it up, let it fly!
  • Miracle to play Augusta, Bethpage easy!
  • I have a winning golf smile
  • Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice!
  • To show my son anything is possible (love this one!)

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Who is Blogging About Golf?

I'm on the hunt for some new great Golf blogs to read. Does anyone know any? I'm looking for offbeat and interesting blogs, not the big PGA focused stuff, or pure product blogs.

I stumbled onto a manufacturer/marketing company called GolfGym who has an interesting blog at http://www.golfgymblog.blogspot.com/ - yes, sometimes they are selling stuff, but more often it's good content and ideas on fitness and training. I'm thrilled they are blogging! I wish they would do an online training course or something a bit more active during the offseason to help us duffers get into golf ready shape!

Know any others that you read on a regular basis?


Many of the golf blogs I had been following have either stopped posting or have become too advertising/marketing centric (not that there is anything wrong with trying to turn a buck here or there).

Right now, Life in the Rough is my favorite golf blog to read. It's both personable and helpful, something I have been striving for here on Golf is Hard to achieve.

I've also added a list of golf blogs that I subscribe to on the right (---> look over there). So you can keep up with what I'm reading on a regular basis.

So, what golf blogs are you reading?

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What's This Blog Good For?

>> January 7, 2009

I've been wondering lately, as I've written down some annual and long term goals for myself, what exactly is this blog good for? Hmmm...

It's been really fun to write and to hear from some of you from time to time. It's clear that I'm a pretty bad golfer, but that I really do enjoy it quite a bit. Right now, playing a round of golf is the closest I can get myself to a real "zen" moment - the game simply demands that you be completely present at all times. I think that's what I love most about it.

I think the answer to my question though, is that this blog is good for new golfers and bad golfers alike. I hope that it reflects back the best of why you play golf and occasionally makes you smile, laugh or even learn something.

So for now, I think I'll stick with my random and sporadic approach; posting on things that are interesting to me and complaining about my lack of focus, inability to hit a soft chip shot and my horrible putting game.

For those of you like me who love statistics, here are some traffic numbers to Golf is Hard from 2008:

  • 2,943 visits from 67 countries
  • 3,880 page views
  • 85% of you were new visitors (where's my repeat readers?)
  • Top referring web site was thegolfgirl.blogspot.com - thanks Golf girl!
I hope you'll keep on reading and leaving the occasional comment.

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Playing Golf Bad for Your Hearing

>> January 5, 2009

Saw this interesting piece on BBC News “Playing golf can ‘damage hearing” that is most certainly partially hype.

That said, here is the advice…

Players who use a new generation of thin-faced titanium drivers to propel the ball further should consider wearing ear plugs, experts advise.

The sonic boom created by these clubs apparently can damage your hearing. The worst offender was the Ping G10 at over 130 decibels. If you have one of those bad boys, you might want to dig up some earplugs!

The article isn’t specific about how often you’d need to play with to affect your hearing which is why I’m a tad skeptical of how seriously to take this article.

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Walk, Carry or Push?

I usually walk and use a cart for my clubs, especially after hurting my leg last year. I enjoy walking a lot and sometimes feel like the push cart isn't allowing me to burn as many calories as I'd like by walking. After all, one of the ways I justify playing golf is that it keeps me in shape (but not apparently enough to make any sort of aerobic difference).

Check out this informative article on Golf.com "Hit ball, drag bag and burn some calories, too" ofr all the details.

  • There was virtually no difference in calories burned between carrying (721) and using a push cart (718)
  • Players in the tests scored best when using push carts and playing with a caddie.

I don't have a caddie, so that's out... but it's great news that there is little caloric difference between carrying and pushing. Sweet.

For you riders (the shame!), subjects burned more calories when they walked and carried their clubs (721) than when they rode in a cart (411).

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Anyone?

>> January 3, 2009

Anyone wishing it was spring already?

I am.

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About Marc and Coach Dave

Marc's a hacker and Dave knows what he's doing after teaching for 7 years. We're both passionate golfers and committed to having fun with Golf is Hard TV.

What is Golf is Hard TV?

"The golf show for the rest of us!"

Golf is Hard TV is the golf show for the rest of us, the most passionate golf show on the internet that was created to take a look at the lighter side of the game. At Golf is Hard TV, golfers of all abilities can improve their games and interact about anything related to golf.

We discuss topics realistically including equipment, etiquette, Jr. golf, attire, rules, etc. This interactive golf show is where golfers can ask questions, send in video and get real answers about their games, always FREE. The founders of Golf is Hard TV know what average golfers like us want.

Partnerships

Golf is Hard is passionate about golf... everything about golf! We are interested in your products, your web site, your business ideas. Please contact us right away to talk about how we can partner together. Heck, we're even interested in non-golf related things that golfers like us love!

Contact us via the blog, twitter or via e-mail now!
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