A career change usually doesn’t result in a blog post, but Mike Maves wasn’t just any insurance salesman. The golf savant from the Niagara area garnered cult status through his “Sevam1” videos (Maves spelled backwards), where in a folksy manner, with a dog running around in the background, he hit golf balls into Lake Ontario and spoke of the swing theories of Moe Norman and Ben Hogan.
If you haven’t had the chance to see Maves in action, talking to an unnamed man behind a camera, go here. Most of his videos now have more than 100,000 views. Not quite Lady Gaga, but impressive nonetheless.
I was turned on to Maves by Dan Keogh, the mainman behind clothing company Hollas, and a fine golfer. Keogh mentioned him when Maves turned up at the Canadian Open in 2009, alongside Australian curmudgeon Steve Elkington. Elkington didn’t want to talk about his work with Maves at the time — perhaps it was a bit embarrassing to have a swing coach who didn’t play golf and who was an insurance salesman — but since then the pair have created “Secret in the Dirt,” a site that is part social media, part instructional videos, and part Maves, Elkington and Jackie Burke waxing about the golf swing.
Maves and Elkington created the “Secret in the Dirt” website last year. Maves said he wasn’t sure what to anticipate, but now he’s upgraded the site and is quitting his job to take his message to the masses. He might even do some teaching, he says. In the meantime he’s talking to Elkington all the time (“We talk on the phone,” Maves says, “though we’ve been sending texts today.”) who sounds like he’s really involved. Elkington still doesn’t seem to be keen on talking to reporters, but there’s plenty of video of him on the site. I’m personally not a fan of Elkington, who in my experiences with him has come off as rude and abrasive. However, I have a lot of time for Maves — and it is interesting that he’s making the site his full-time focus.
“I don’t know exactly what I’ll do,” Maves says. “I want to build a great golf social media community, but I’m also going to be raising some money and maybe I’ll do some teaching. We’ll see.”
As for Elkington, Maves calls the website “his passion.”
“This is somthing he loves and thinks will be a profitable venture,” Maves explains. “But it if isn’t a success, he thinks we’ve have given a gift to the game of golf.”
If you’re interested in Maves, check out his ebook — Secret in the Dirt — which has sold more than 2,000 copies.