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Found 15 results

  1. Hey gang -- Here's the 9th and final episode of Hack To Jack, Season 2. This covers the final day of competition, including the sudden death shootout between Team Wilson and Team Nike -- still the most fun I've had golfing in 20 years!!! Enjoy -- the producers are hoping to be able to take the show to other cities in the next year or two. If it comes your way, I can't recommend it enough!
  2. Hey gang -- Here's the 9th and final episode of Hack To Jack, Season 2. This covers the final day of competition, including the sudden death shootout between Team Wilson and Team Nike -- still the most fun I've had golfing in 20 years!!! Enjoy -- the producers are hoping to be able to take the show to other cities in the next year or two. If it comes your way, I can't recommend it enough!
  3. Hi Gang -- Here's episode 8 of Hack to Jack - it just hit the World Wide Web this morning...lots of interviews with the contestants about what the program meant to them and what parts of the program have been the most memorable and fun...
  4. And the hits keep coming -- here's Episode 7 of Hack to Jack. Some cool stuff here... "Some people call me Maurice..."
  5. Well gang, Hack To Jack Season 2 closed with a bang yesterday - with a gripping playoff that wend into double sudden death! Here's some background: Hack To Jack is a 12 week Golf Reality Show here in Minneapolis. As a program, it's still getting off the ground and episodes and videos can be found on YouTube. There are 11 2-person teams, all sponsored either by golf OEM's, golf retailers or golf affiliated companies. Myself and partner Josh Wurzberger made up Team Wilson Staff #1 (Wilson sponsored 2 teams). Other sponsors included Callaway, Bridgestone, Nike, TaylorMade, ScottGolf, GolfSmith, 2nd Swing, Chromax (shiny, sparkly golf balls) and Rukket Sports (makers of a really cool, portable net for practice). We spent the first 11 weeks practicing, having mini-events, getting lessons, etc. We also kept track of fitness and golf related activities and earned points for things such as playing golf (10 points), practicing (5 per 1/2 hr), exercise - especially hitting a daily goal of 10,000 steps, and social media interaction. After 11 weeks, my team was in 9th place, seemingly out of the money. The finale was to include a skills competition for points, then a 9 hole scramble. After that, the top 5 teams would take place in an elimination match play event until a winner was crowned. Being in 9th place, Josh and I figured our chances were so-so, so we might as well have as much fun as we could and see what happened. Well, we killed it in the skills competition - scoring the most points on the putting green and the most points on the driving range (20 yard pitches, 85 yards shots into targets. We scored 140 points and leapfrogged into a tie for 2nd! Next came the 9 hole 2-man scramble. We needed to do well here against some really good teams to stay in the top 5. After a par-birdie start we started a string of close-but-no-birdie holes. We two putted from 15 feet on 3, and then 2 putted from 6 feet on the par 5 4th (nasty downhill-sidehill twister!). We nailed an up and down for par on 5 and then started the streak that put us in the final. Josh nailed a birdie putt from 15 feet on the par 3 6th. Josh is a big hitter, but he totally shanked his drive on 7, but I hit my best drive of the day, 275 yards, leaving about 110 to the stick. We both wedged up, with Josh having a better line to the cup. We drained that for a birdie! We used Gamebook to keep track of how all the teams were scoring - and we found that at 3 under, we had a share of the lead with 3 other teams. On the par 5 8th, we were about 250 out after our drive. Josh chili-dipped his 3 wood - well short of the green but still in pretty decent shape about 100 yards out. I pull-duffed my 3 wood, but it bounced off the cart path a few times. I was kinda pissed until I pulled out the laser and found the ball had eventually bounced onto the green, giving us about 30 feet for eagle! What a miss!!!! We two-putted for birdie, putting us in the lead heading in to 9. As we teed off, we checked GameBook and found that ScottGolf had birdied 9 to tie us. We figured we're more than likely in the final, so let's be smart. Josh nailed a 3 wood off the tee. I hit driver, nailed it put push it right into the rough and blocked from the green by trees. We chose Josh's ball - in the fairway, 130 yards out. 4 teams, including ScottGolf (if ever there was a team wearing the black hat throughout Hack To Jack, it was these guys. Both are good friends of mine, but they were the team everyone wanted to see knocked off!). Easy 130 yard Pw to a big green. Do we hit the green? Nope! Josh left his wedge just short of the green. I put way too much draw on mine and hooked it pin high, but off the green to the left. We chose Josh's - best we could do was chip to about 10 feet, and we both missed it left (there was no break, dammit!). We finished at 3 under, but we made the final 5. Now we started the 5 team sudden-death playoff. Every hole one team was going to be eliminated. Gotta say, even though we didn't know what first prize was (rumored to be a $2500 gift package), you had 5 teams ready to battle it out. This is where Hack To Jack through in some gimmicks to make it interesting. On the first playoff hole, we could tee off with whatever club we wanted, but for our second shot we had to use a Fling Stick. Fling stick was a sponsor, and it's a stick that's part golf club, part lacrosse stick - designed for people who don't really golf but would like to go out and play. It's a neat concept, but I never practiced much with one and figured this was the end of the line for us. Both Josh and I split the fairway with our drives, leaving us about 100 yards out. We both "flinged" our 2nd shots short of the green. Mine was a tad closer so we chose to pitch from there. Everyone was either on or near the green in 2 except for Team TaylorMade -- they were well off to the right of the green. I pitched to about 9 inches to save par. Two teams nailed birdies. Team 2nd Swing also saved par. TaylorMade needed to nail a 15 foot putt to save par, but missed. They were first out. 2nd playoff hole was a downhill short par 4. This gimmick here was to tee off with a PSP practice club. This club has a tiny little head, emulating nothing but the sweet spot. All of us his the green and parred, so we went to a chip-off to eliminated one team, whoever was farthest from the cup. Josh and I hit the two closest to the cup, but ScottGolf was eliminated, leaving only 3 teams. Next gimmick was a downhill par 4, and we could use only 1 club from tee to green. Once on the green we could putt. but whatever we teed off with we had to use for the approach shot. Josh picked 7 iron, I picked a 6, hit another cart path and bounced into the middle of the fairway, 100 yards out. We both hit punch shots and landed on the fringe. We picked Josh's shot for the better angle, then chipped up and in for par. The other two teams - Team Nike and Team 2nd Swing - were in some trouble, with difficult pitch shots. Nike pitched up but left themselves a 20 footer for par, while 2nd swing was about 15 feet out. Nike had Mike, a 22 year old scratch - easily the best golfer in the competition and one of the nicest kids you'll ever meet. His regular partner was a beginner named Katy, who was MIA for health reasons. His partner for the day was Mike's buddy's wife Kasey, also a beginner. Damned is Kasey doesn't ram that 20 footer into to save par. 2nd Swing - no go. So it's Nike vs. Wilson for the championship. We go to #17 - a drivable par 4 (we played from the reds - making it a 275 yard hole). Both Josh and I put our drives in a greenside bunker, about 40 feet from the pin. Mike had a difficult pitch shot, about the same length, but terrible angle. Both Josh and I hit the bunker shots of our lives! I was closer (6 feet), but had a sidehill lie. Josh's landed about 10 feet out, but was straight uphill. We took that one. The best Nike could do was about a 15 footer, big left to right break. Mike studied the thing for an hour and then calmly rolled it in! We had to sink to keep the match going - and yours truly calmly rolled it in to tie. (video is on Facebook - click here to check it out). We then went to 18, and I thought we lost it here. Josh and I totally fubarred our drives. Josh pulled his out of bounds left and I push-sliced mine right. Fortunately, mine stayed in bounds by about 3 feet! Mike, on the other hand, lashed out his best drive of the day--he can knock it 320 easy - and it left him about 200 yards or so out on the par 5. We needed to scramble. Josh sliced his 3 wood into the drink. I smacked my well, but it didn't cut - instead heading for the out of bounds on the left. Fortunately, it hit a tree and came straight down, about 80 yards short of the green in the left rough. Exhale... Mike, sitting pretty in the middle of the fairway, smoked a 6-iron, but not quite enough. He landed in a huge bunker in front of the green and to the right of the pin. Josh placed us about 25 feet to the right of the pin, and Mike's bunker shot left him about 30 feet behind the pin. Both Mike and Kasey missed their birdie putts. I hit mine - and I swear it was going in - but it turned left at the last second -- missing the cup by about 2 inches on the left. DAMN! Josh hit an even better putt -- this one was DEFINITELY going in - but again, about 4 inches in front of the cup it turned left, missing by less than an inch! Now it was time for a putt-off to win. The two pros who were with us set up the playoff putt -- a 65 foot triple breaker. I went first, putting the putt about 3 feet short. Josh did me one better, leaving it about 2.5 feet long. Casey wasn't close with hers. Mike rolled his - when he hit it I didn't think it would be close, but it kept rolling, rolling, rolling... When we measured, both Josh and Mike's putts were exactly 2.5 feet from the cup. Are you freaking kidding me??? Another sudden death putt-off. Nike went first - Kasey's putt was pretty solid, about 4 feet away. Mike hit maybe the worst putt of the day, leaving it about 7 feet short. Josh and I were feeling pretty good -- get one closer than 4 feet and we win. Well, your faithful GolfSpy promptly went out and hit his WORST putt of the day -- long enough but about 5 feet to the right (YUCK). Josh, for the win, rolls one perfectly on line....but just a little thin. His came to a stop - no lie - about 4.5 feet from the pin. Casey, the fill in beginner, wins it for Team Nike, by a margin of 6 inches!!! All I can say is that I've never been a part of such a fun competition. We had all the other contestants, friends and family watching the finale - it's so cool having people pulling for you and cheering. It really gets the competitive juices flowing! Disappointing to lose, sure - but what a great experience!! And to go to 3 sudden deaths with Team Nike?? And then to have Mike's fill-in beginner win it for them? What a great story! The wife and I will be moving to New Hampshire over the winter, so I won't be able to be part of Season 3, unless it moves to different markets (which is part of the business plan, so who knows), but for the first two seasons it's been the most fun I've ever had playing golf!
  6. Episode 5 of the Minneapolis-based Golf Reality Show "Hack To Jack" is here. The competitions are heating up!!!
  7. As promised, here are some pictures and details from Tuesday's big fitting event for Hack To Jack's Team Wilson Staff. First, some background: Hack to Jack is a Minneapolis-based Golf Reality Show (YouTube channel here), now in its 2nd season. I've been a contestant both years. It's a hell of a lot of fun and since starting the program my handicap has dropped from 12.5 (April of 2014) to its current 7.5! This season OEM's and other golf companies (including retailers 2nd Swing & GolfSmith) are sponsoring 2-person teams. Sponsors include Callaway, Bridgestone, ScottGolf, TaylorMade (Hack to Jack received $25,000 from TMag's HackGolf.org initiative - yes, they DID give away some money!). Wilson Staff is sponsoring two 2-person teams, and we have a custom club fitting experience Tuesday when Wilson Tour Fitter Nick Geyer drove Wilson's Tour Van up to pay us a visit... First we met Nick at the fitting/demo tent,and then he brought us to the Tour Van. We expected to see a "working" van where clubs are built. We did see that, but we also saw a nice surprise from Wilson: They sure went all out for their team! We also had the chance to poke around the van - this was the traveling Demo Day van. Nick brings it to demo days around the country, does custom fittings (he's REALLY good) and can build the clubs right away. The fittings themselves were done over the course of about 3 hours or so. I had already been fit for my clubs, so teammates Josh Wurzberger, Brin Paulson and Stephanie Lang had their turn. Josh and Stephanie were fit for the FG Tour M3 irons. Josh is a 12 handicapper who hits the ball a loooong way - while Stephanie has been playing golf most of her life but is just now getting back into golf after a back injury. She's about a 26 'capper now but will have that down into the teens before too long. Stephanie was fit into graphite shafts in her irons, as well as 3, 4 and 5 D200 hybrids. All were also fit into the D200 driver and fairway woods, as well as the FG Tour TC wedges - which Nick was able to custom-stamp and paint fill for them! (pix to come). We were also set up with putters. I wanted an 8802 in the worst way, but since I crouch when I putt and need a 32-33 inch putter, the 8802 just wasn't an option. Oh, and they also customized some Duo, Duo Spin and FG Tour balls for us, as well! It was great fun watching Josh, Brin and Stephanie go through a thorough club fitting. Nick was great to work with, explained everything and let the player lead the process. He encouraged them to try all the clubs and all the combinations to see what worked best. He did not have a Trackman with him, instead relying on his eyes and ears. Could a different driver/shaft combo have worked better? Possibly, but Nick watched ball flight, launch angle and listened for the impact sound to do most of the work, which he would have done with or without Trackman. I made some Periscope videos of the sessions - some of you watched them live. If you have the Periscope app, you can go to my account and watch them - pretty fascinating stuff to watch. Brin is also about a 12 and was fit into the FG Tour V4 irons (same as me).
  8. Episode 4, Season 2 of the golf reality show Hack To Jack is up.... "Mine was the one that almost killed you..." Check out the Facebook page -- some prizes for the best suggestions! https://www.facebook.com/HackToJack?fref=ts
  9. Episode 3 of the Hack to Jack Reality Show is up. This one explains the 7 components of the program... Things start getting real for me this week. Finally have a couple of weeks without business travel, so I can take part in a group lesson and a skills competition. We also have a big tourney this Saturday at SpyZinger's favorite course - Troy Burne in Hudson, WI. So far several of the teams have been outfitted with new clubs -- full sets from sponsors such as Callaway, TaylorMade, Bridgestone and Nike. I'm on one of two Wilson Staff teams -- wonder what that means? Also - if you become a Hack To Jack fan - you can win some the stuff they're giving away on the show. They're spreading the love. If you're a Facebooker, could you give my contestant page a like? More likes I get, the more we both have a change to win some stuff! I'm at 248 now, would love to get to 300... My Hack To Jack Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JohnBarbaHackToJack Hack To Jack Main Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/HackToJack
  10. Hack to Jack, Season 2 is in full swing (pardon the pun), and I've been sadly missing in action due to an incessant work travel schedule. I'll finally be able to join in the activities this coming week. Over the last two weeks, the gang has been working with THIS contraption, called RoboGolf... The guys who've tried it are raving about how it helps you feel what your perfect swing feels like. I'm not sure how it works, or if it tries to make you swing a certain way or if it works with your natural tendencies and your own natural biomechanics. Each Hack to Jack Contestant received a 90 minute intro lesson/session with PGA teaching pro Trevor Christianson at the Perfect Swing Golf Academy in Plymouth, MN, as well as 2 follow-up 60 minute lessons. That's in addition to weekly group sessions with PGA pro Bryan Skavnak. My teammate Josh did RoboGolf last night...he posted these pix on Facebook...
  11. Hack To Jack, Season 2 is underway! For those who don't know, Hack to Jack is a Golf Reality show being made here in Minneapolis. I was lucky enough to be a contestant on Season 1, and even luckier to be chosen for Season 2. Here's Episode 2, "Meet The Teams..." "Blood, lots of blood...." Yep, that's how we golf! If you're a Facebooker - can you help a brother out and like my Hack To Jack page? I might win something!!! Thanks!!! https://www.facebook.com/JohnBarbaHackToJack
  12. Does size matter? Hack To Jack Season 2 is underway -- lots of prizes for the contestants, including this little guy... This is called the PSP TLO (Pure Solid Perfect - The Little One). Click here for their website. Anyone ever tried one of these before? It's what it looks like - a teeny, tiny little golf club that represents ONLY the sweet spot of the club. You gotta hit it pure, solid and perfect before it goes anywhere. Hit 5 or 10 shots with this and then switch to a regular club and see what happens. I only have one range session with it and it did help me make solid contact. Will work with it over the next week months to see what it does.
  13. It's that time again - auditions are underway for Hack To Jack, Season 2! Hack to Jack is a golf reality show being produced here in the Twin Cities. I was a contestant on Season 1, which was pretty much a proving ground or pilot season - no real "episodes" so to speak, just a truckload of YouTube vignettes. Gotta say it was the most fun I've had playing golf in the past 20 years - made a ton of really good friends and a blast doing it. Season 2 should be a good bit better... Remember the Hack Golf initiative from TaylorMade? H2J is one of two programs to receive funding this year - $25K to help produce actual episodes. Their plan is to have 8 two-person teams compete over a 12-week season. Prizes are totaling around $10K! I'm auditioning tonight at the local Golfsmith, which is also sponsoring the program. It oughtta be a hoot! Here are a couple of videos... And one of the more creative audition videos so far...
  14. So the Hack Golf initiative kinda went underground for a while, but just yesterday it surfaced for air and announced the first program to receive its support (so yes, this is really kinda sorta happening!). And the first recipient is... Hack To Jack! Yep, the reality show here in Minneapolis will be getting some significant support from TaylorMade and HackGolf for Season 2 this year (I just signed up for a repeat performance!!). Here's the scoop directly from TaylorMade... *Update – We're pleased to share with the Hack Golf community the name and contribution of the first participant we're supporting for experimentation in 2015. The idea, submitted by Kevin Unterreiner, is called “Hack to Jack” - a golf reality show, skills challenge and game improvement program. The Hack to Jack Golf Reality Show was far and away the most engaged contribution on hackgolf.org since the site launched. The concept generated more than 800 likes and nearly 175 comments; a summary of the idea includes the following: "I've created and launched "Hack to Jack", a golf reality show that allows average (or beginner) golfers to audition, do skills challenges, and if selected by the popular vote of their friends & family, advance to a final round where they work with PGA Teaching Professionals, chiropractors and personal trainers to see how much their game & fitness can improve over 12 weeks. Along the way there will also be fun TEAM competitions to create rivalry not only between players but also with the teaching pros. Watch for some fun twists and things people have never seen before on the golf course...basically having a BLAST with the focus being on having fun vs. shooting low scores." Kevin will be responsible for providing updates on our progress with the community and additionally, helping to spearhead the report we're developing to synthesize the progress of Hack Golf, to be delivered in April. Stay tuned for more information as we begin our support for Hack to Jack, and for more news and details on the second idea chosen for experimentation. Hack To Jack is receiving $25,000 in sponsorship money from TaylorMade, so Season 2 promises to be more active and a real show. Season 1 was mostly a proving grounds to see if the idea had merit. So far, so good. Season 1 was unconventional - lots of competitions that ranged from the serious to the silly - but it was a hell of a lot of fun (and my Handicap dropped 3.5 strokes!). Season 2 is going to feature 2-man teams and will focus on improvement, fitness and fun. This is pretty cool news for the Hack To Jack program - we'll see what the future brings for Hack Golf, but it's great for Hack To Jack! http://hacktojack.com
  15. So gang, here's the latest on my quest to be a finalist in the Hack To Jack Golf Reality Show... The final "auditions" start this weekend. They're splitting it up into 4 groups, and my audition will be March 11th. They're going to hold a "skills" competition and a video interview to weed the group down to the final 12. They're then going to pick four more out of the 350 people who didn't make it to the final 100, for a total of 16. From there the final 16 will go through an extended game improvement program, including workouts, a weekly lesson from one of the PGA instructors at the Minnesota Golf Academy, and on the course events. They're already planning at big golf weekend at one of the resorts in Northern Minnesota sometime in May. The whole whoopdeedoo has been a blast so far, and have met some fun, new people, which is why we play this game, isn't it??? And my MGS Vancouver Open hat has sparked some interest!!! They had a big Cleveland Demo Day and fun event this past weekend…some pretty crazy competitions, but it was a good time... And if you haven't gone to the Hack Golf site yet, please do so and vote for the Hack To Jack concept. The organizers have posted the show as a way to help grow the game and make it more fun for everyone, which is a concept I support wholeheartedly. Here's a link to the Hack Golf voting site. And for more info on the Hack To Jack concept, here's a link to their Facebook page. And here's a link to their website. Thanks again for all your support during the voting. Will keep you up to date over the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck!!!!
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