High Definition Versus Live Golf

Is golf better on television or live in person? I give my thoughts on the topic.

Thrash TalkI am very blessed to be able to live in the California Bay Area which has a plethora of awesome live sporting events. We have 2 football teams, 2 baseball teams, a basketball team, a hockey team, a number of college football teams, and even a soccer team. The PGA Tour comes to our parts regularly for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and now the Fry’s.com event. Every few years we get a US Open, at Olympic and Pebble.

This past weekend I went out to watch the Fry.com event a few miles from my house. What is nice about the Fry’s tournament versus the US Open is the total number of people who attend is far less and you can get closer to the action. Even when I spent some time following the leaders on Saturday I could easily find a good spot for viewing. While at the US Open there were so many people there that even with the players not in contention it was hard to get a view where you were not having to look over someone. Then if it were the disaster of the Tiger and Phil grouping then you had a mob on your hands.

I felt even with my wonderful view that the golf is better on TV than in person. High Definition certainly makes watching golf much more pleasurable than a few years ago. I have also watched some of the Masters coverage in 3D and I think that adds an even further element of excitement, because you can see hills and bumps even better than with the HD coverage. HD in my opinion is an enormous boost to all sports, especially football and golf. We can now easily watch the flight of the ball, see where it lands on the green, even the worm cam is better in HD.

What I like about the TV coverage is not so much that I am sitting in my couch, while that is nice, it is not the most attractive advantage. There are two things that I like best about golf on TV; one is the DVR, the second is the new trend of having the microphone close to the caddie player discussion. The DVR needs little reasoning on why it is so great. A male golf fan can only watch so many Cialis tablets commercials in his lifetime. The only great mystery there is where they will put the two bathtubs next. The DVR helps to bypass sneaky commercials by CBS where they spend 10 seconds showing you the blimp with Snoopy and his corporate sponsor, I can zip through this and also Jim Nantz interviewing the CEO of the sponsoring company. The DVR bypasses a great deal of junk.

The biggest advantage is the microphone they place near the caddies so we can hear the players discussion. I really like this feature. While at the Fry’s I spent much of my time trying to listen in because it is interesting to hear what good players think about over the shot. I wish that the networks would do more of this because there is so much for us average golfers to learn. How much they think the wind will affect the shot, when they are between clubs do they go for the longer one more often or the shorter one. How do they calculate for their adrenaline?

I would be willing to wager that pros do not like us listening in. I am sure they do not want to be second guessed by the media once the round is over if they make a poor decision. I can sort of respect that argument, but I still think the benefit outweighs this drawback for us average fan.

2012 Fry.com Open winner Jonas Blixt on the 18th hole

I would still encourage golf fans to attend an event if they have never been. I also would strongly recommend taking your child to an event as well. Seeing a golfer in person to a young child may hook them on the game forever, and besides it is a great bonding experience where you get some exercise and a chance to share something with your child that you feel passionate about. But on the whole I will be watching my golf on television in glorious high definition.

You may call me lazy and that part of what makes sports great are to be a part of the action by actually being there. I can remember attending a Premier League Soccer game and thinking the atmosphere was electric, and I have had the same feelings at a number of NFL games, but not yet at a golf tournament. With the action happening on multiple holes the best way to view golf in my opinion is on TV.

Your Thoughts

I am wondering how everyone else feels about this topic. Would you rather go watch the event in person or would you rather watch in the comfort of you own home like me?

Photo credits: © Robert Laberge.

12 thoughts on “High Definition Versus Live Golf”

  1. I agree that it is a great way to view golf. Obviously not many people can go to all the events, so for the ones you can’t get to it’s a great alternative with the hi-tech cameras 3D etc.

    But a tournament wouldn’t be the same without a decent crowd. Imagine if a big tournament only had 10000 people? The game would lose out. I think any tournament you can go to, you should!

  2. I hate dealing with crowds having always lived in big cities, but you can go to the practice or qualifying rounds and get up close and have a look from any angle you want instead of the actual tournament. Another great aspect of live is the driving range, one of my favorite places to go. You can see multiple players in one go and compare ball flights and possibly sit down.

    The weekend rounds, unless you have inside the ropes access or something close to it, watch it on tv.

  3. If you’re willing to forgo HD, another great watching resource is ESPN3. For streaming, the quality isn’t bad, ~480p? It will have the less publicized events on replay so you can watch on your schedule.

    Another advantage of the DVR is that it lets you slow motion swings.

  4. I challenge you to go to any of the 4 Majors on a final round Sunday, follow the final groups, listen to the roars… there’s no way TV is better than that.

    On the other hand, there is no way I’d leave my HDTV for any other circumstances.

  5. I actually like watching the master’s on there website. They let you pick the holes, or certain groups you want to watch.

    For me, its mixed. I like going to watch it in person because i like to watch the swings. I love watching them hit balls at the practice range. Another is the exercise, its fun to walk around the course. Honestly i love the courses as well, courses i would never get to play i can see in person.

    As for watching golf it self and getting excited for the whole tournament, its better to watch from TV, because of the coverage. Unless i was on Sunday and it was Rory versus Tiger in the final group, both tied, going down the 18th, going to a tournament for me is for other reason’s than the tournament itself.

  6. That’s the problem. What the heck can you see, there’s too many people following the final group. The cost, the parking, the traffic, the jockeying for position. Not worth it.

    I wonder. Do friends and family of players get better viewing vantages from the people who work the course?

  7. My wife and I went to the John Deere Classic in July. Good crowds, but you could still get a hotel room in the Quad Cities area for about normal price. Going to golf tournaments without ruining the budget is the most fun.

    In 2004 I went the USGA Senior Open at Bellerive CC in St. Louis. The final two rounds were great to watch on the course.

    What I enjoyed most, however, were two unheralded rounds. One was a practice round with an amateur player and a couple of tour veterans (one was Bruce Summerhays). I got to see everything up close, and hear the pros talk to their caddies about particular shots, how to approach the hole, etc. The other was with a Sunday group who had made the cut, but were way back from the lead with an 8:30 AM tee time. One player was a resort pro from down in Texas, and we had a conversation going throughout the round. I was worried I was bothering him, but he said it was nice to talk to someone besides his caddie. He asked me about my game, and gave me a useful tip on partial wedge shots: follow through, but don’t kill the ball.

    And, I still had time to walk the full final round with Jay Haas (much more crowded), who finished third behind winner Peter Jacobsen. Back in 1978, my wife and I had followed Haas at Torrey Pines the day he won his first pro tournament, the San Diego Open.

  8. I like watching golf no matter where it is. But I’m still trying to become a better player, and for that purpose I personally don’t think watching the PGA Tour in person helps in any way… The tour pros are just different animals and you can’t see a thing in their swing that you can maybe learn. I’ve been to a couple of LPGA events and they seem to be a lot more helpful.

  9. Agree totally with “markuscism”. Went to my first LPGA event this year and I noticed how smooth and slow their swings were but they were still hitting their drives as long as I could. The only difference is that their drives ended up in the middle of the fairways 95% of the time and mine ends up in the fairways 5% of the time.

    Right after attending the tournament I tried to slow my swing down and what do you know I was actually hitting the ball farther and more precise.

    To me the main reason I like to attend tournament in person is to walk the course and see the layout of those great courses that I would never be able to play in person ie. Masters.

  10. Having been to a few tournaments, I would have to say that I enjoy it better on TV. Although, I would always rather attend the Masters than watch it on TV.

  11. I do agree that HD for golf is like no other. However, I’ll never forget watching Tiger Woods tee off in person. There is nothing like that either.

  12. I loved my experience at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick (which was on my birthday!!) Beautiful course, got to see a lot of my favorite players in person, very exciting.

    That being said… I’d probably not go again. Soooooooo many people. I couldn’t see hardly anything! Following a player is nearly impossible. I like being up close and seeing the action so that I can actually know what’s going on. I like seeing the scores. I like seeing where a shot ends up, and occasionally watching someone hit a slow motion shot from the bunker. Loved it live, but just too many people.

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