The Dirt Blogs
Welcome to The Dirt Blogs, where staff, members, and guests contribute their wisdom.
"I just shook a hand that felt like five bands of steel" (Ted Williams upon meeting Ben Hogan in 1951)
It’s hard to believe how far Secret In The Dirt has come. I was talking to Elk about this last night and he suggested that it would be a good topic for a blog.
This thing that we have created, as many of you may already know, all started with a backyard golf lesson. A 25 second film that I posted up at YouTube for a hoot on September 15th 2007 turned out to be the start of this whole crazy Internet odyssey. I put the video up for a bit of a laugh and so that a few of my friends might see it and know that I was still around.
25 seconds, no sound and a couple of tentative swings made in street shoes with uncertain footing trying to show what Moe Norman had shown me in the parking lot all those years ago. By spring that video had been viewed 12 thousand times so I thought “Why not film some more stuff and toss it up?". I guess it was naïve to think that invoking Moe and Hogan in a video would not cause any real stir. I didn’t know the golf world was still paying attention. I was wrong. First came the forums (GolfWRX, ISeekGolf and others) and a barrage of questions that I could barely keep up to.
Next came the book written basically because I could not keep up with the questions. Low handicappers, beginners, and pros ranging from old timers to newly minted aspiring teachers all came out of the woodwork to pick up the book. A few Tour pros picked the thing up as well and next thing you know out of the blue comes a call from Terry Okura and Steve Elkington. Who would have imagined that not only would we start working together, but that we would become friends and business partners trying to change the way that golf is learned and the way that golfers interact with each other and the game?
In the past year and a half I’ve traveled all over the place, been on ranges at Tour events, walked inside the ropes during practice rounds and have magically found myself next to the best golfers in the world. My business partners Steve Elkington and Jackie Burke are golf legends and the rest of the guys that I work with here in “The Dirt” are just as much fun to be around.
We now have nearly 16000 registered users here at Secret In The Dirt and we are committed to taking the next steps to see that this whole endeavor achieves its potential. A better, faster website…. New features and simpler navigation. A mobile platform…New marketing partnerships…The works.
We set out to give people a chance to get together and tell the golf world a little bit about themselves. We have created a place where people can demonstrate their love of the game and share what they know. We set out to shed light on great ideas sitting in dim corners. We’ve uncovered buried treasures in old texts by the likes of Abe Mitchell and Henry Cotton and at the same time Secret In The Dirt has led us to Geoff Mangum and to Martin Ayers and is leading us to still others with unique perspectives. Some are pros. Some are amateurs, Some are academics, but they all have a perspective to share. When their motives are pure they will find a welcome home here at Secret In The Dirt.
The first video was called “Ben Hogan Move?” and the caption read “This guy says Moe Norman taught him Hogan's move in a parking lot in 5 minutes in 1997. Crazy.. but you be the judge. He's hitting balls into a lake in street shoes and called the move the vertical drop and horizontal tug. “
I just want to thank everyone who has supported this thing and especially those who have helped spread the word for us. I also want to thank Moe Norman for taking the time to talk to me in parking lots. I wish he were still around.
The 25 seconds that started Secret In The Dirt is below. Not the most rivetting footage we've ever done, but perhaps worth it for the nostalgia buffs out there.
Now in contrast Ben Hogan won 4 US Opens (5 if you're Dan Jenkins and want to count the 1942 Hale America Open) and as such Hogan is remembered in a completely different light than Snead. But you know it is a funny thing. Hogan never did all that well head to head against Snead in playoffs. In fact Snead had a 4-0 record against Hogan in playoffs including a playoff victory over Hogan for the 1954 Masters. But little if any film exists of these matches where Snead was the victor. And so the cruelty against the Snead legacy continues with Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf’s match between Snead and Hogan at the Houston Country Club which aired in February of 1965. You see, as I mentioned above we have little permanent record of Snead’s dominance of Hogan in playoffs on film. Instead we have this match in which Hogan drubs Snead with a flawless (apart from the putting) 69. Hogan hit every fairway and every green in regulation. Gene Sarazen commented that it was the finest round of golf he’d ever seen. Hogan’s only bogey was a three putt. Snead kept it close until the last with an impressive short game display, but it is Hogan’s perfection that is preserved on this film. This video is a must own for anyone who wants to study Hogan in action as he dismantles a long wet difficult golfcourse with careful planning and precision shotmaking. This video is where a lot of the color footage of Hogan on YouTube like this one below originates. I have had it on VHS for years, but you can now get the match on DVD.
Dusted a bunch of things off this weekend. Some old clubs, a bunch of books and some old ideas that I have not thought about in a while. In the last 8 months I've been busy building and improving this website along with my friends and colleagues here at Secret In The Dirt. It hasn't left me much time to interact the way that I would have liked with all of the folks here but now that things have settled in here a bit I am going to be able to spend more time doing what I wanted to do in the first place with Secret In The Dirt....Help more people get better at golf so that they can enjoy it more.
Taking over where Rocco Mediate left off last week Jonathan Byrd just jarred it from 206 yards on the 4th playoff hole of the Timberlake Shriners Clambake. In somewhat of a hurry to get the last hole in before being called on account of darkness Byrd stepped up and let 'er rip into the twilight. Bingo, hole in one!! Let's get out of here fellas!! Martin Laird and Cameron Percy promptly dumped their shots into the water and shook hands with Byrd, the hole (and the tournament) ending with them all still standing on the teeing ground....
Right now as a certain faction of the tour continues to struggle to make the top 125, there is another interesting phenomenon at play. From day 1 of tournament 1 each and every year each and every player who is not exempt beyond the upcoming year knows that coming in the top 125 this year is "Priority 1". It is "Priority "1 and yet the way to get there is to just do your thing and put it so far back in your mind that it becomes a non-concern. At the beginning of the year it is a critical end goal and a fact that can’t be ignored and yet that is what everyone must try to do. But, and this is a very big but, the fact is that "Priority 1" gains in importance throughout the year as more mediocre tournament results pile up and at the same time the number of tournaments yet to be played shrinks. I might add that the number of tournaments shrinks along with a player prospects of achieving the primary goal....