Throw the stone Marucci!

'YES MAROOCH!': Golf's newest Instagram sensation has some feel-good advice for you

March 27, 2024

You can tell when Rob Hogan, better known as Speed Golf Rob, is on the verge of inspiration.

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The volume of his Irish accent increases a few notches. His words flow faster. His inflections more animated. Pretty soon he’s something close to screaming. Not at you, but with you. He draws you in, like a coach firing up his team before a big game. Nodding in agreement dutifully like one of his players on the other end of the phone, at one point I found myself agreeing with him.

“Yes, Marooch!” he screamed. “Exactly!”

Marooch, or Marucci, is Rob’s catch phrase. Not many people are exactly sure why. I’m not sure why, either. Asking Rob elicited his only cryptic response of our interview—”I’ll send you something that can help with that,” he says. Stay tuned on that.

Hogan isn’t new to the golf scene. He’s a coach and multiple time speed golf world champion who can complete a competitive round in under 40 minutes. But his newly-unleashed persona has made him something of a social media sensation in recent months, with his Instagram account Speed Golf Rob growing from under 30,000 followers to more than 200,000 followers in less than a year.

“I love making videos and I love thinking about golf,” he says. “Those two things came together and just got on a bit of a vibe and people started watching and loving it.”

Hogan’s ferociously energetic Instagram videos, which mostly involve screaming golf advice to the viewer on the other end, have fueled his growth on the platform. His latest tips routinely make the rounds among Golf Digest staffers. Top coaches, too, who tend to agree: This guy knows what he’s talking about.

So, we called him to learn more.

This Q&A has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity

Luke Kerr-Dineen: How do your videos come to be? The amount of energy you throw into them, seems like I’d be exhausted after doing them.

Speed Golf Rob: Each video is an extension of my thoughts on golf. I could be on a bike ride and thinking about something, or a swing, or a player, or something I've read or listened to, and the idea just comes to me. I get to the point where I’ve got to stop what I’m doing and feverishly get the camera down so I can share the idea before I lose it. I’m passionate about it, and I hope it’s a positive experience for the great people who watch them.

Your background is in speed golf. How does that influence your outlook on the golf swing?

Speed golf has always resonated with me. I’d read stories about Jack Nicklaus doing it; about Lee Trevino doing it. I first got into it about 2008. The first time I ever payed speed golf was during a charity exhibition. It took me about three holes to get my footing, but I swear to God, I hit the ball better than I ever have in my life those last 15 holes. There was no real speed golf instruction at that time, so I had the privilege of approach it my own way. I realized there was a training method here, and it gave me the freedom to dive really deep into the golf swing.

What do you mean by a training method there? Speed golf probably isn’t something most golfers will do themselves, but it strikes me it could be something they’d be interested in learning from…

I believe that speed golf allowed me to access the golf swing technique that I had built up over the years, that possibly had become fogged by conscious intervention. I could play golf without thinking too much. Elite players often find a way to match up their swing with their body type through a detailed process of analysis. Ninety percent of amateurs don’t have time to do that. The way amateur golfers can do that is to let our own swing find us through the process of emptying our mind and reacting; being athletic. Focusing on a practical task, like the action of throwing, or in my case, speed golf.

You mention the action of throwing there, which is a common theme in your videos. Why?

It aligns with the idea of speed golf. If you’re running along a lake, and you stop to throw a stone, you’re not thinking about different positions. You’re not going to throw a stone straight at the ground. You can take somebody off the street and have them throw a stone, and it feels very natural as they display the same beautiful human movement and mechanics present in the golf swing. But when they get a golf club in their hands, all of that abandons us, because our brains get in the way.

From a technical perspective, why is throwing a good analogy for the golf swing?

When you’re throwing a stone, you’re instinctively going to sequence your body. You’re going to get your arm elbow and arm in a position you need without having to think too much a out it. You’re going to stand in a way that helps you do that. Those will be different for everyone based on their body measurements and the different abilities of our bodies, but the golf swing is a throw. The ball is the water, the clubhead is what you're throwing in the direction you want it to go.

Any parting thoughts for golfers out there, looking to get a little better?

It’s a lot of fun, allowing yourself to think of things in a raw, naked way. Make it simple. Have trust in your own ability to move. It will take you time calibrate your body, and it seems outlandish that you can get there without thinking because the action of hitting a golf ball is so precise. But if we trust ourselves, and have faith in our mind and body, we’ll be making more athletic golf swings with more freedom than if you were overwhelming yourself with swing thoughts.