“If it works, it could be to golf announcers what reality TV was to actors.”
Those were the 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 fun broadcast of the Nationwide Tour’s Albertsons Boise OpenKay Cockerill will be on the 13th and 15th tees doing player interviews as they pass through, Phil Parkin will be at the practice green for some living-room lessons, and Curt Byrum and I will be at a remote TV set doing very little. Actually, we’ll be interactive. We’ll take some viewer questions and answer them, 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.
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-microphone (a 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 and statistical information.
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 Hirshland’s idea.
Note: Watch Golf Channel coverage Saturday of the Albertsons Boise Open from 4:30-7 p.m. (ET) or visit GolfChannel.com during the same time to submit questions to Foltz and Byrum.