NCAAs on the Golf Channel in 2014
By Torleif Sorenson on 12/18/12
The NCAA announced on Monday that the Golf Channel will begin televising the NCAA Division I men's golf championship beginning in 2014, and the women's championships beginning in 2015.

In the typical, ho-hum boilerplate press release language that was probably cobbled together by some undergraduate marketing intern, Golf Channel president Mike McCarley is purported to have actually said:
"We are committed to covering all facets of the game of golf and this new partnership with the NCAA will be the centerpiece of our broader commitment to covering the collegiate game. We look forward to introducing our viewers to the future stars of the game and tapping into the tremendous passion collegiate fans have for their schools."
In reality, this is long overdue and a refreshing change from the afternoon sportswriter talking-head shows - to say nothing of the drinking-from-a-firehose torrent of throwaway college basketball at all hours of the day and night on cable sports channels. Over-hyped games such as Northeast Central Polytechnic State University vs. Cranford College, with an 11:15 p.m. start time from a generic 1,700-seat college gymnasium, have about as much appeal as the World Gas-Pumping Championships live on tape delay from Turtle Poop Falls Raceway.

The idea of the NCAA golf championships on television is more than just a heretofore oversight; it will be a refreshing change. And while some of the venues might not generate instant interest among casual viewers, they should:
  • The men's 2014 championships will be held at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas. Prairie Dunes is a very highly-regarded layout designed in two segments by Perry Maxwell and his son Press, with some resemblance to the classic Scottish links courses. But the dunes-flavored terrain, the wind patterns, and the severely-sloped greens are the memorable challenges there. Any golfer who is invited to play Prairie Dunes should never pass up the opportunity.

  • The women's 2015 championships will be televised from Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida, where the men's back tees are rated 77.6 with a 155 slope - the maximum on the USGA's scale. As the USGA likes to say regarding the U.S. Open championship, Concession GC is likely to identify the best college golfers - the ones who can stay out of trouble and heroically recover from mistakes.

    In fact, that course got its name from the conclusion of the 1969 Ryder Cup matches at Royal Birkdale, where Jack Nicklaus conceded a two-foot putt to Tony Jacklin, resulting in a draw. Nicklaus and Jacklin are credited with the architecture at Concession, which has received praise and "best of" mentions from a variety of national and regional golf publications.
Televised college golf might result in a less-than-dramatic response from some people, but a deeper look shows that this can be rather compelling viewing.

Besides, basketball courts are always the same size. And in car racing, the general idea is, "don't turn right."

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[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
I guess the Golf Channel has to fill up their schedule with something. College golf is certainly better than re-running a segment of "Big Three Golf" for the 37th time.
Kurt the Knife says:
Hey man, don't go talking smack about my Gas-pumping champs!
Kurt the Knife says:
Seriously, I would like to see potential up-n-comers before they're on the tour.
Matt McGee says:
Excellent! I've wondered for a long time why the Golf Channel broadcasts so little of the actual game of golf. 25 million people playing the game, and all they can come up with now is another (albeit wildly anticipated) opinion about Tiger Woods.
mjaber says:
That's great. I wonder if it will get better ratings than the tour.
[ post comment ]
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