Silence of the announcers


“If it works, it could be to golf announcers what reality TV was to actors.” Those were the humorous words of our Stephanie Sparks when we first met with our producer, Keith Hirshland, after hearing the words “announcer-less coverage Saturday in Boise.'

”How ‘bout producer-less golf?” one of us shouted.

After some discussion, we all got on board with what promises to be a really fun broadcast for us, and I think will be very entertaining for the viewer in a non-traditional way. It won’t be completely announcer-less, more like announcer-lite. We’ll all be in the broadcast, we just won’t be talking about shots, players, or anything else while you’re watching the actual golf.
Kay Cockerill and Stephanie Sparks will be on the 13th and 15th tees doing player interviews as they pass through; Phil Parkin will be up at the practice green for some living-room lessons (think Golf Fix-lite); and Curt Byrum and I will be at a remote TV set (think table under a tent) doing very little. Actually, we’ll be interactive. We’ll take some viewer e-mails and answer them (but not while you’re watching golf), and we’re also planning on being joined on the phone by some of the more recognizable players to have come through the Nationwide Tour.

But for the most part, the viewer will get to enjoy pure golf with all the audio coming from the players and caddies. Each player in the last four groups will have a dedicated boom mic (big furry thing that can hear a gnat sneeze from a mile away) and no announcers will be able to interrupt while you’re listening to the good stuff. Also, a great deal of preparation is going in to providing the viewer with as much information as possible through the use of graphics – bio information, statistical information, and such.

This isn’t a long-term plan to try and get rid of announcers (at least that what my bosses tell me). Rather, it’s just an opportunity to be creative with our Nationwide Tour coverage and provide the viewer with a memorable experience. Remember, if this works as well as I think it will, then it will be one more innovation brought to golf coverage by Golf Channel and our hard working, dedicated Nationwide Tour team. 

If it doesn’t, it was Keith Hirshland’s idea.