Episode 12 - Mike Maves

The Secret Golf's Mike Maves visits his childhood golf coach and Canadian golf legend, Bill Kozak and the elusive, Cameraman.


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NARRATOR: On this episode of The Rural Golfer, we head north of the border to the home Mike Maves.

-I'm not going to be on the show this week. I've decided to take a little break. But we're going to take you back to Canada where Maves found his passion. Got to see this one.

-I don't like your driver.

-I'm in trouble and I haven't even taken a swing.

NARRATOR: We remind Maves of getting his first lesson from Canadian golf legend, Bill Kozak.

-That's the best one. Look at that.

NARRATOR: And finally meet the elusive cameraman.

-I don't need to be a professional golfer. I just want to get a little bit better.

-Well, help me do this shot.

NARRATOR: And see how he gets out of one sand trap, but finds another.

-Nice to see you again.

-Now this is the Sandtrap.

-This is the Sandtrap.

-Told ya I'd be here.

-All right. Thanks for stopping by. Can I grab you a cold one?

NARRATOR: The Rural Golfer rolls your way next.

NARRATOR: As we cross the US border into Canada, we come face to face with one of the world's most recognizable wonders. Atop a 180 foot cliff, and over 60 miles per hour, the tourism magnet of Niagara Falls funnels water from Great Lake to Great Lake, attracting millions of visitors each year. While astoundingly impressive, the falls is just the tip of the iceberg in the great white north, which actually is quite green.

-In the Niagara region, we're very proud of the Niagara Falls, the Niagara escarpment, what they do at the Niagara Parks Commission. But we're very proud of our wine industry and our agriculture around here, and conservation.

NARRATOR: Niagara Falls is part of the world's largest permanently protected Greenbelt, stretching across nearly two million acres. Self-reliance is embraced in the province of Ontario. And the Greenbelt represents effort to keep natural areas natural, and to sustain local food production for its citizens.

-The ditches that you see driving around in the countryside here, you'll notice are a lot deeper than you would a normal country setting. One of the reasons being is they can divert water and such from Welland Canal and the Niagara river into these ditches, so that the farmers themselves can use those deep ditches for irrigation.

NARRATOR: The oasis of the Niagara region allows for more outdoor play than just about anywhere else in Canada. And to Mike Maves and his friends, that means golf.

-Nope. I've tot to have another one.

NARRATOR: Having grown up in the Niagara region, Mike Maves had tremendous access to golf, which included exposure to some of the game's greatest players. Bill Kozak gave Mike his first golf lesson.

-But don't forget-- there's more to this game than this club.

-I met Bill Kozak when I was 12. Bill used to practice in an area alone. And so a lot of us would go and watch Bill. And it was the way Bill watched Hogan. In our little world, Bill was like watching a guy like Ben Hogan. And you could go up and ask him questions. And so, you'd get close to someone who was doing it really well.

NARRATOR: As a tournament player, Kozak was a member of six Ontario teams and set seven course records. He also counts the first five Canadian PGA Senior's championships he played in among his many victories.

-I won five championships in a row. Then a guy by the name Moe Norman appeared on the scene. I finished runner-up to him probably-- maybe three, four times. He kept nippin' me buy a couple of shots.

MIKE MAVES: Moe Norman in this area is a legend. He sort of came onto the scene in the 1950s. People would stop and watch Moe Norman. Even Ben Hogan said, the only guy he walk across the street to see hit a golf ball was Moe Norman.

NARRATOR: Bill Kozak watched Ben Hogan. Ben Hogan watched Moe Norman. While Mike Maves watched Kozak and Norman, which speaks volumes to Mike's passion for the game. Of course, no reunion would be complete without a stop by the driving range for some parting words of wisdom. Going out on the range with Bill was awesome.

-I don't like your driver.

-I'm in trouble, I haven't even taken a swing.

I was actually nervous swinging the club for the first time.

That the swing you taught me Bill?

BILL KOZAK: Oh, boy, that's great.

-The thing I noticed about-- about you, I remember how carefully you put your hands on the golf club-- how deliberately and how good your grip looked. And the other part I remembered about what you did was your footwork. And footwork has been the thing that's become the most important thing in my golfing life and my focus.

-More body. Gary Player once said, what's stronger, your legs or your arms? Meaning that you better use your legs.

I 92 years old. And believe it or not, still playing golf. And enjoying it immensely. Golf is a unique game, don't forget. It's a difficult game for perfection. It's not a difficult game to play just to play. My advice is to set yourself a level of recreation golf. It's probably more enjoyable. If you hit bad shots, you don't worry about the bad shots. You think of the good shots that you had.

TONY HANEY: Mike and I played a lot of amateur golf together growing up. So it's probably a 30 year maybe relationship.

-To play with someone from my past, it's always going to be fun.

-Nice to come out, hit a few. Hopefully they go straight.

MIKE MAVES: I was with Bill Kozak yesterday. You know, he gave me my first lesson when I was 12.

TONY HANEY: I think Bill Kozak gave everybody their first lesson.

MIKE MAVES: That's true, that's true. We had a good time. We were talking, and Elk is always saying that he liked the way I've got easy into my left side. That came from watching Bill Kozak because he always moved so firmly forward through the ball. It looks easy, but since this is the first thing I start when I'm going the other way, it's also the first thing that solidifies and finishes.

TONY HANEY: Something I've always sort of watched you do, and never really had an easy job of getting there but--

MIKE MAVES: There you go, buddy.

TONY HANEY: That one felt real good.

He was just able to give me a couple of quick words that I could understand, that it's almost like skating. You know, for hockey guys out there, it's just-- you're moving to the left, and all your weight is shifting that way. I was able to translate that from just hitting some short irons on the range with him, and I was able to really feel that-- yeah, okay, I can feel that I'm moving. I can feel that I'm getting that weight to the left side instead of hanging back. A lot times when you hang back, you kind of hit some bad shots out to the right. And I think I hit it a lot better today.

MIKE MAVES: The thing is, a lot of people think if they start moving forward, if everything's moving forward, that somehow they're going to miss it. But you're never going to miss it because you coming down anyways. It just shallows everything out. You might hit it a little thin.

TONY HANEY: You know, that's a nice thought that you just gave me there, is just making sure that I'm-- you know, even if I hit it fat, I'm still get a pretty good result.

Golf's that one constant that's been in our lives for 30 something years that's always going to keep us together.

NARRATOR: Surrounded by sprawling vineyards and an estate winery of its own, Rockway Vineyard showcases an 18 hole championship course, all within the protected Niagara Greenbelt.

TONY HANEY: What makes us unique is we are the only golf course in North America with a working winery that's attached to it. So that, I think, is one thing that sets us apart from any other golf course around.

DONNY CHURCHILL: Rockway Vineyards-- it's 18 holes, championship course. From the tees, it goes 7000 yards. The greens are bent grass greens. They roll really, really well. If you get off the fairway little bit, the rough is very nasty. Number 8-- it's a par four, from the tips it's almost 500 yards, and it's always into the wind-- definitely the toughest hole of the course. If you're getting a par there, you're doing very well. When you're out there golfing, you're surrounded by the vineyards. So we are in wine country and golf country.

Our signature hole here is definitely number 18. It's actually a par three. Stretches from 200 yards all way down to 100 yards. Not even the ladies get away with-- with going around. Everybody has to carry over the water. So the ladies have to carry it at least 80 yards over the water, and the men, from the tips, about 170 all carry.

Stretch yourself, from the backs at about 195. He's got to be playing closer to 180. There's a good swing.

TONY HANEY: That looks-- a good looking shot, there.

DONNY CHURCHILL: That looks pretty close. Oh, nice shot. Nice shot, Mike.

MIKE MAVES: Yeah. Are you kidding?

TONY HANEY: Oh, good shot Donny. Nicely done.

I'll take that one.

-Are you going to get there?

-Keep goin'.

-That's too bad. It was the right idea.

-Yep.

MIKE MAVES: Turn for him. Ah, good putt.

DONNY CHURCHILL: Good roll, Tony.

-We all had putts at birdie. None of us made it, but we all made par. What a great way to end.

-Thank Mike.

-Thanks Tony.

-Thanks very much Donny.

-Always a pleasure, Tony.

-To the bar?

-To the bar. Let's enjoyed some of our award winning wines, absolutely.

-This is a Vidal. It's a slightly spritzed Vidal. Vidal is a French hybrid grape. So it's a very nice, light, refreshing wine-- lemon-lime characteristics.

-After a round of golf, it's perfect. Or as you said, patio nine, sitting on the patio, it's perfect.

-Look very forward to doing again.

-Absolutely.

-To the fruits of our labor.

-There you go.

-Cheers.

NARRATOR: Thanks to a series of golf instruction videos he began posting in 2008, Mike Maves became a YouTube sensation.

CAMERAMAN: You are just missing that boat out there.

MIKE MAVES: But the voice behind the lens became just as infamous.

CAMERAMAN: That's like my nine iron, not the distance, but the height.

NARRATOR: Cameraman, as he's affectionately nicknamed, never showed his face, becoming quite the mystery man.

CAMERAMAN: That's just something that kind of evolved, and we sort of played it up. And you know, some people loved me, and some people will say, not so much-- at all. A lot of people came to my defense and said, listen, he's saying stuff that I want to know. --you're relationship to when you contact. That's what it was always-- maybe not at the same time Mike's taking a swing, but--

MIKE MAVES: Five years after posting their final video, Maves and Cameraman are reunited.

JIM "CAMERAMAN" KRONLUND: It's like the first time-- wow, even when I interrupt him like that. And we made many videos-- I forget 58 videos or something like that.

-I didn't see that ball, but that went pretty high, didn't it?

-It didn't change, the instructions, the little things we talked about, we never scripted a thing. But there's always something new that I wanted to know about that he could talk about. Mike, your front toe is flared. Are you're doing that on purpose?

There was a reason those videos worked, and some people didn't get it.

-When I go left, my hips automatically come open to the right amount--

They didn't understand that the questions mattered, and that the questions were what were refocusing me. And I wanted people to learn. So if I could get myself in this idea that I wanted him to learn, then that would sort of transcend our conversation and go further.

-Seeing him again here this weekend, and being a part of this, you know-- this whole journey, it just gets me excited all over again. Yeah, maybe I can again get back into golf and do some of these things that I've always wanted to do.

-Well, my friend, it's been wild, eh?

-Yeah, for sure.

NARRATOR: Nestled on the smallest of the Great Lakes in the southeast corner of Canada rests a golf course with North America's largest history.

MIKE MAVES: Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club-- it's the oldest golf course in North America. There's older clubs, but that course is today exactly where it sat when it was built in 1875.

NARRATOR: Created at the turn of the century, this majestic nine hole golf course echoes with pride, tradition, and history. With some of the most spectacular vistas, Niagara lakes guests and golfers alike are privy to over 6,000 pristine yards of 135-year-old fairways and greens draped alongside Lake Ontario's shoreline.

MATT DIETSCH: The course here is very unique in the way that it is actually owned by Parks Canada. I think because of the history here at the course, they want to keep it preserved in its natural state.

NARRATOR: By doing so, it's no wonder why this small charming community considers the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Club it's crown jewel.

BILLY SIMKIN: Having the club right on Lake Ontario-- it's a really unique spot. It's a spot even non-golfers know and make efforts to come here and enjoy the course and the club. It's really a great spot to be.

NARRATOR: Catching up for a day of play, Maves meets up with an old pal.

MIKE MAVES: Okay, Matt, you ready to tip her up, buddy?

MATT DIETSCH: I'm ready.

MIKE MAVES: Let's see it. Show me the way. Hang on, baby.

-So I've known Mike for a about seven or eight years now. We've never had the privilege of golfing together. However, with the conversations that I've had with Mike, sometimes it does feel like we have played.

MIKE MAVES: I love it!

-It's all the mini-putt dates I take my wife on.

NARRATOR: A few holes in, Matt and Mike run into a rival of sorts.

-A long time, no see.

-Yeah, same here. Mark Derbyshire, my nemesis when I play. How do you not know Derby? Won this club championship 30 times in a row. Derby is a legend. He's won 30 consecutive club championships. So there were people that were recruiting ringers. There were people out there that wanted him to lose. He faced a lot of competition.

-OK guys, let her rip? You want a wedge game, I'll give you a wedge game, baby.

-Good to see you.

-Yeah, good to see you too.

-You're going to the Sandtrap later?

-Yeah, we may wander away down there a little bit later.

-It's happened before?

-It's happened before, it may happen again. I'll see you guys later. See you Matt.

-See you Mark, thanks bud.

-10 or 15 yards before the greens.

MATT DIETSCH: I got introduced to the game of golf in my late teens when my father started entering into politics. My dad was a member of provincial parliament. He made a big commitment to this area and-- and advancing the agricultural part of things.

NARRATOR: Having passed three private member bills in his many years, Matt's father's role in the agronomy of the true North proved his commitment to the advancement of agriculture for Canadian wineries, farms, parks, and golf courses.

MIKE MAVES: You've played here before, Matt.

MATT DIETSCH: Once or twice.

It sort of became a bit of a bonding time for my brother, dad, and I. We utilized the golf course as a place to talk about problems, and talk about good things that were going on. We did a lot of that here at Niagara-on-the-Lakes. So to sort of help remember my dad and all the good times we had here, we planted this beautiful maple tree here. And I had a little plaque made up to read, as mighty as the maple itself! In memory of a great golfer, friend, and father. Michael M. Dietsch. And it brings a bit of a tear to my eye.

NARRATOR: With golf rich within the Dietsch family history, opening a business that suited their passion was no surprise to anyone. That's a great hit from there.

MATT DIETSCH: I own a pub here in Niagara-on-the-Lake with my brother called the Sandtrap Pub and Grill. When my brother Paul and I were coming up with the concept of opening up a pub, we really wanted golf to be a part of it, because of the fact that golf had always been such a big part of our lives, especially in our family part.

MIKE MAVES: There you go, buddy.

MATT DIETSCH: Thanks Mike. That was a lot of fun.

-My dad used to tell me, he said, if you got a good swing, you take a limb out of a tree and play.

-This is your family right here, all the b-- all the kids here.

-Right. So who's the oldest?

-I'm the oldest right there in the white.

-That's you. When you were little, you were how old-- how old when you started playing with your dad?

-Twelve.

-Twelve.

-I had asthma bad. So I couldn't run and play like the other kids, so I'd sit on his bag right there and listen to the teaching.

-He'd teach every day?

-He taught every day. Taught from 8:00 in the morning till 8:00 at night.

-Yeah.

-But he was big on-- it's a simple game. He said, teach it simply.

-Yeah.

-Don't try to be an expert.

-We had sort of come up with a few different names and ideas. And Will sort of looked at us quite frankly, and said to us, what about the Sandtrap? That's hard to get out of.

MATT DIETSCH: Hey, Mike.

MIKE MAVES: Hey Matt.

MATT DIETSCH: Nice to see you again.

MIKE MAVES: So this is the Sandtrap?

MATT DIETSCH: This is the Sandtrap.

Golf had always been such a big part of our lives, especially in our family part.

Hey guys, good to see you again.

-Hey, how are ya?

-Long time, no see.

-How was your game this afternoon?

-Good.

-Very good.

MATT DIETSCH: One of the things that always stands out for me is when we were in construction, dad was very sick. So he didn't have a lot of energy. But he was a real do-er. So we gave him a number of small different tasks. And one of his tasks was to build us some coat racks. And that was the highlight of my dad's day. My mom, when we're in construction, came up with a few fun sort of catch-phrases like, easy to get in and hard to get out, or our food is always above par. It was a lot of fun sort of brainstorming within our family for different ideas to do with golf.

-That was so much fun!

-Wasn't that good? Oh, that was just delicious.

-Beautiful.

NARRATOR: On the next episode of The Rural Golfer--

-See, what Sam has going for him is, he's getting that training. He's getting good.

-You can give your daddy two up a side with that's swing.

NARRATOR: We meet Elk's son, Sammy, and discover how he was taught the game of golf from both his father and legendary hall-of-famer, Jackie Burke, Jr.

-Being around Jackie has taught me patience-- let the game come to you--

-That was perfect, wasn't it?

---more, in a sense, than you go get the game.

-Anything else you want to know?

NARRATOR: We take those lessons and years of old fashioned training, and put them to the test with modern day technology.

-TrackMan, for those who don't know, is a device that's going to measure the way you deliver this club.

NARRATOR: And discover how that technology can help any golfer.

-He's learning that the angle is more important than just a pure speed. And this is what I call learning effectively with TrackMan.