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Hack To Jack Finale - What A Playoff!


GolfSpy Barbajo
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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!

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What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  :titelist-small:TSi3  
FW Wood: PXG Gen4 2-wood
Hybrids:  PXG Gen4 18-degree
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*
Irons:; PXG 0211; :Hogan: Pro Combo; :benhogan-small:FTX Combo;:benhogan-small:'99 Apex Plus; :benhogan-small:'99 Apex blades; :macgregor-small: 2010 VIP irons; :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; 

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: RTZ ZipCore: :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60
Putter: :scotty-small: Newport Special Select;  :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8; :wilson-small: Buckingham; MATI Monto

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X; :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV; :wilson-small: Triad

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
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By the way -- here's the link to the Facebook video on the 17th green...

 

https://www.facebook.com/JohnBarbaHackToJack?ref=hl

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What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  :titelist-small:TSi3  
FW Wood: PXG Gen4 2-wood
Hybrids:  PXG Gen4 18-degree
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*
Irons:; PXG 0211; :Hogan: Pro Combo; :benhogan-small:FTX Combo;:benhogan-small:'99 Apex Plus; :benhogan-small:'99 Apex blades; :macgregor-small: 2010 VIP irons; :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; 

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: RTZ ZipCore: :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60
Putter: :scotty-small: Newport Special Select;  :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8; :wilson-small: Buckingham; MATI Monto

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X; :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV; :wilson-small: Triad

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
Follow @golfspybarbajo

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Awesome!

BIRDIE COACH & MENTOR, FIRST TEE GREATER HOUSTON
HDCP: 12.0 (GHIN: 3143312)
In my bag, March 2021
:titelist-small: TS2 Driver Hzrdous Smoke Shaft (Stiff Flex)
:titelist-small: TS2 Hybrids  Mitsubishi Tensei Shaft (Stiff Flex)
:mizuno-small:  MP-59 5-PW; KBS Tour (Regular Flex)
 :callaway-small: PM Grind Wedges
:bettinardi-1:  Putter

:bridgestone-small: 2020 TOUR B XS
Sun Mountain Cart Bag
:Clicgear: 4.0 Push Cart (I'm walking 9 outta 10 rounds!!)

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What a great experience! Good job representing MGS.

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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This is so great - thanks for the recap - I really did hang on your every word - I also liked the show and voted for you over on facebook?

 

New Hampshire?  Really?  Do you have family there, work or are you matriculating to Dartmouth?

  • Like 1

Taylor Made Stealth 10.5  Aldila Ascent Red R flex

Ping G410 5, 7, 9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 5-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Still on that elusive hunt for a 3 wood that I'm able to hit - I don't know why, I crush the 5 wood and it's really a 4 wood anyway. 

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Congrats Barb! Great play by play. I enjoyed it all. Proud of you for representing MGS well as well as Wilson. I enjoyed the fact that Nike and Wilson were in the final paring duking it out!

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Driver- Tmag 2017 M2 tour issue 8.5* actual loft 7.8* w/ HZRDS Green PVD 70TX"
Fairway Metal- Taylormade SLDR Mini Driver 12* w/ Fujikura Rombax TP95-X"

Utility- Mizuno MPH5 1 iron w/ Aldila RIP 85X (depending on course/ conditions)

Irons- Mizuno MP- FLI HI 2i w/ Aldila Proto ByYou 100X
          Mizuno MP59 4i-6I w/ PX 6.5

          Mizuno MP69 7i-PW w/ PX 6.5

Wedges- Scratch 8620 Driver/Slider set.  50*, 54* bent to 55* and 60*

Putter- Taylormade Spider Tour w/ flow neck
Ball- Bridgestone Tour B X

Bag- Sun Mountain C130 Supercharged

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Congrats Barb! Great play by play. I enjoyed it all. Proud of you for representing MGS well as well as Wilson. I enjoyed the fact that Nike and Wilson were in the final paring duking it out!

 

Gotta tell ya the last 4 holes were nerve-wracking. Neither team gave an inch...well, that is until the 2nd putt-off, when we gave 6 inches, but that's water under the bridge...

 

Can't wait for the video to come out -- it was an awesome day of competition and I honestly can't remember having more fun on the golf course.  

 

And I didn't learn this until last night -- Kasey (Team Nike's last minute replacement) had never played a full round of golf before!  That she was able to jar the 20 footer (or whatever it was - it'll probably get longer in the retelling) that put them into the final and then beat out the 3 other jokers for closest to the hole in sudden/sudden death to win was awesome!!!

  • Like 2
 

What's in the bag:
 
Driver:  :titelist-small:TSi3  
FW Wood: PXG Gen4 2-wood
Hybrids:  PXG Gen4 18-degree
Utility Irons: :wilson_staff_small: Staff Model Utilities 18, 21, 24*
Irons:; PXG 0211; :Hogan: Pro Combo; :benhogan-small:FTX Combo;:benhogan-small:'99 Apex Plus; :benhogan-small:'99 Apex blades; :macgregor-small: 2010 VIP irons; :macgregor-small: VIP 1025 V-Foil MB/CB; 

Wedges:  :cleveland-small: RTZ ZipCore: :benhogan-small:Riviera 52-56-60
Putter: :scotty-small: Newport Special Select;  :edel-golf-1:  Willamette,  :bettinardi-small: BB8; :wilson-small: Buckingham; MATI Monto

Ball: :bridgestone-small: Tour B X; :srixon-small: Z-STAR XV; :wilson-small: Triad

Stat Tracker/GPS Watch: :ShotScope:


 
Follow @golfspybarbajo

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