Imagine Golf Blogs

Miking the PGA

Professional Caddy, Mark Huber on the moves to microphone tour players

Posted Jan 26, 2011 by Mark's Kaddy Korner

Golf Channel wants microphones on tour players. Why? Golf is a quiet, pastoral sport; nothing much goes on inside the ropes, except golf. Why would anyone want to listen to conversation amongst player and caddie or other players in the group, the gallery, their wives, tour officials, volunteers, or anyone they feel like talking with including themselves? It’s the inner sanctum golf viewers know nothing about and think there’s exciting tête-à-tête in the fairway. Believe me, it’s about 75% drudgery, 20% fun, and 5% who knows what the hell is going to happen.

The gallery and television audience see lips moving. They hear a bit if we’re close to the ropes or the boom mikes are encroaching, but, they only get the conversation from the leaders, top players, and Golf Channel favorites. If you’re going to mike someone, throw it on a group back in the pack teeing off early on a weekend morning. Here’s where you’ll the off-color stories, frank conversation, a couple of bawdy jokes, and some lecherous looks into the crowd. Those guys playing late, in contention, worried about their reputation and score aren’t going to discuss much more than politics, sports, weather, and current events, if they talk about anything at all.

TGC doesn’t need to mike players; those long furry things carried by volunteers in the fairway can pick up an ant fart at 100 yards. Attaching a power pack and microphone to a tour player hinders their play and subconsciously deters their free flowing thoughts. If we could hear what a player is thinking, that would enhance a broadcast. When players and caddies don’t realize boom mikes are lurking, those conversations are worth hearing.

TGC should camouflage the mike bearers, run them through a quick spy surveillance school then strategically place them throughout the course. If players realize they’re on air we won’t hear emotional tirades the fans seem to be expecting. We’re watching golf not NASCAR, there won’t be any fights, crashes, or “%@#&-you birds” flying from the fairway if a microphone is consciously near-by. What is The Golf Channel trying to create?

Attach the microphones to players during a practice round. You’ll hear a lot of jokes, casual conversation and get inside a player’s mind as he prepares for a tournament. Mike a player on the practice tee; you’ll learn a lot about swing concepts, practice methods, and what happened last night at the local watering hole. Miking players during a round will only bring out the businesslike aura existing inside the ropes. The shots, putts, and strategy are golf’s excitement, not the conversation.

The man who created golf on TV, Frank Chirkinian, used to bellow from the production truck (expletives deleted), “Just show me golf, err on the side of silence”. All the secondary conversation, interviews, behind-the-scenes looks don’t add much too good golf. Get those cameras in position, show those amazing athletes at work and keep the chatter to a dull roar.

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