Golf Channel Matches Highest-Rated Year Ever in 2015

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 5, 2016, 3:00 pm

Millennial Audience Grows 50% Year-over-Year

Golf Channel Digital Scores Best Year Ever Across All Platforms

Golf Channel Encourages More Golfers to Play More Golf through Portfolio of Digital Lifestyle Brands, Highlighted by 15.2 Million Rounds Booked via GolfNow

In 2015, Golf Channel matched its highest-rated year ever (.11 HH Cvg Rtg, 24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM) for the second consecutive year, according to data released by The Nielsen Company. Additionally, viewership growth was driven in part by “Millennials” with impressions for Persons 25-34 increasing +50% in Total Day, +17% in Primetime and +22% for PGA TOUR coverage. Since joining NBC Sports Group in 2011, Golf Channel has scored its five best years ever and has increased ratings +57% and viewership +43% over that span. Also in 2015, Golf Channel continued as the No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network in both total day and primetime for the second consecutive year.

“Golf Channel’s success in 2015 was fueled by the most live coverage ever, which featured a young crop of players making names for themselves as the future stars of the game. In 2016, we will build on this momentum with the addition of an exciting 12-week span that includes The Open, Olympics, FedExCup Playoffs and Ryder Cup,” said Mike McCarley, president of Golf Channel. “Additionally, we are carrying that momentum beyond traditional TV with millions of our loyal viewers engaging with us daily across our portfolio of digital and golf lifestyle brands.”

73 MILLION CONSUME LIVE GOLF VIA NBC SPORTS GROUP: In 2015, NBC Sports Group reached more than 73 million unique viewers via Golf Channel on NBC broadcasts and Golf Channel, which provided more live tournament golf coverage than all other U.S. television networks combined. Golf Channel televised 128 events that reached more than 500k viewers (+133% vs. 2010, +14% vs. 2014) and 13 events that reached more than 1 million viewers (+117% vs. 2010, +225% vs. 2014). This led to Golf Channel posting its second most-watched year (99,000 average viewers, 24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM, 1% vs. 2014), surpassed only by 2013.

105 MILLION VISITS TO GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL: Golf Channel’s success extended across all platforms, including more than 105 million visits to Golf Channel Digital, which again saw best-ever results in key metrics for traffic, live streaming consumption, mobile app usage and social media followers. Golf Channel also helped connect more golfers to the game via its portfolio of digital lifestyle brands, including GolfNow, which utilizes technology to encourage more golfers to play more golf and helped golf course partners book more than 15.2 million rounds of golf in 2015, a 13% increase vs. 2014.

CARRYING MOMENTUM INTO 2016: A transformational year ahead for golf and NBC Sports Group, highlighted by:

  • Golf Channel’s coverage from every round of each PGA TOUR event, featuring an emerging roster of young superstars, including Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson, resuming in primetime this Thursday, Jan. 7 from Hawaii with the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
  • David Feherty calling live tournament action for the first time on NBC, complementing his talk show Feherty on Golf Channel and his contributions to Golf Central and Morning Drive
  • The Open, NBC Sports Group’s inaugural event of their long-term partnership with the R&A (July 14-17, Royal Troon Golf Club, Scotland)
  • Four of five LPGA Tour major championships on Golf Channel and NBC
  • Golf’s return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 (Men’s: Aug. 11-14; Women’s: Aug. 17-20; Rio de Janeiro)
  • PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs (Aug. 25-Sept. 25)
  • The Ryder Cup (Sept.30-Oct. 1, Hazeltine National Golf Club, Minneapolis)



Household Cvg Rating


% vs. ’10





















In 2010, Golf Channel posted a .07 household coverage rating.


  • Strong Finish to 2015 after Young Stars Energize (24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM):
    • First Quarter                 -14% YOY
    • Second Quarter            +3% YOY – Tied Most-Watched Second Quarter Ever
    • Third Quarter               +8% YOY – Most-Watched Third Quarter Ever
    • Fourth Quarter             +13% YOY
    • “Millennial” Growth on Golf Channel (Average Viewers P25-34):
      • +50% in Total Day with Persons 25-34
      • +17% in Primetime with Persons 25-34
      • +22% for PGA TOUR coverage with Persons 25-34
      • Most-Affluent Audience in All of Television:
        • Total Day: No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network for median household income ($77.1k) for the second consecutive year
        • Primetime: No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network for median household income ($83.6k) for the second consecutive year
        • Comprehensive Coverage of Golf’s Biggest Events (Average Viewers P2+):
          • Golf Channel on NBC coverage of PGA TOUR up 5% vs. 2014
          • Golf Channel’s live coverage of the PGA TOUR was up 9% in 2015 (January-September)
          • Golf Channel and Golf Channel on NBC live coverage of the FedExCup Playoffs saw a 22% increase vs. 2014
          • 40% Year-over-Year Growth for Golf Central’s “Live From” across all four men’s major championships and The Players. These weeks saw year-over-year increases:
            • Masters                        +33% – Second Best Masters Week Ever
            • The Players                  +23% – Second Best Players Week Ever
            • U.S. Open                    +17% – Second Best U.S. Open Week Ever
            • The Open                     +30% – Best Open Championship Week Ever
            • PGA Championship      +6% – Best PGA Championship Week Ever
            • Viewership Records Set at LPGA Tour’s Major Championships on Golf Channel and NBC:
              • ANA Inspiration’s second round posted the most-watched early round in 20 years
              • Inaugural KPMG Women’s PGA Championship was 2015’s second most-watched women’s golf event
              • Evian Championship posted most-watched opening and third rounds since becoming a major championship in 2013
              • Golf Channel’s Coverage of College Golf:
                • 2015 NCAA Men’s & Women’s Golf Championships reached more than 2.2 million viewers and averaged 250,000 viewers, which is +50% vs. same time periods in 2014
                • November’s East Lake Cup reached more than 1.1 million viewers, and live coverage lifted time periods +50% vs. 2014’s fourth quarter average
                • Growth for All Programming Genres vs. Same Time Period in 2010:

Rating   (HH Cvg.)

Average   Viewers

Live   Tournament Coverage






Golf   Central



Morning   Drive



Instructional   Programming




RECORD GROWTH FOR GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL (all percentages year-over-year):

  • Golf Channel Digital Posts Best Year Ever For All Key Metrics:
    • average monthly uniques +22%, video starts +18%, page views +12%
    • Golf Channel Mobile App: page views +45%, average monthly uniques +15%, video starts +14%
    • Golf Channel’s Apps expand reach with more than 4.2 million downloads, including Golf Channel Mobile, Golf Live Extra and Golf Channel Academy
    • Live Streaming: Golf Live Extra drew 133.3 million total minutes streamed (+41%).
      • Since launch in 2013, 317 million minutes of golf programming have been streamed
      • Social Media Presence: Golf Channel Social Media platforms are up 35% with more than 5.1 million followers across its platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Golf Channel’s on-air team has nearly 1.8 million collective social media followers, showing a 20% increase.
      • Leading Golf Course Review Resource: Launched in 2014, Golf Advisor is home to more than 450,000 reviews by golfers providing authentic insight on more than 10,000 courses in nearly 150 countries around the globe.


  • “Go Play!” Golf Participation: GolfNow, the world’s leading technology company specializing in golf-related products and services with the most popular online tee time reservation platform, helped golfers book more than 15.2 million rounds of golf in 2015, a 13% increase year-over-year, at nearly 9,000 golf courses worldwide.
  • Golf Course Technology: GolfNow aided nearly 9,000 golf courses to more efficiently run their businesses via a portfolio of specifically designed software and services.
  • High-Quality Instruction: Golf Channel’s instructional content continues to evolve beyond television. The Golf Channel Academy app features more than 2,500 curated instructional videos. And in 2015, Golf Channel launched instruction facilities also branded Golf Channel Academy, which feature a network of the most-recognized coaching names in the industry at premier golf locations across North America. In Golf Channel Academy’s first year, 68 facilities in 28 top markets make up the network, employing more than 200 top-caliber coaches.
  • Largest Amateur Tour in Golf: The 2015 Golf Channel Amateur Tour featured more than 6,700 avid amateur golfers logging 56,700 competitive rounds at more than 700 tournaments held in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, culminating in the 2015 National Championship in Palm Springs, Calif. at PGA West with the maximum 1,235 players competing.


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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and TaylorMade got him his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM ( Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM ( Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM ( Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM ( Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM ( Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.