Golf is a game that anyone can play, which makes is extremely popular in the 18-35 year-old group that advertisers covet. Because of this golf commercials flood our TVs, airing on all channels and coming from a multitude of companies. It sometimes seems that you are just as likely to see a FedEx golf commercial on HGTV as you are to see a This is SportsCenter commercial with Tiger Woods on ESPN.
Golf commercials are all different. Like most humorous commercials, the funny ones all draw from some sort of irony. For example, this FedEx Commercial is funny because at first you expect the employee riding the golf cart to be Jim, the guy who is “really into golf.” But no, he isn’t Jim. There is actually someone more into golf than the guy who drives a golf cart around the office all day.
Alright, that sounds kind of lame now that I explain it, but how about this one? Throughout the years, Tiger Woods has made tons of commercials for EA Sports and his own Tiger Woods PGA Tour video games. This one wasn’t a commercial per se (more of a promotional video), but when a user of the video game told EA that the game had a glitch (where Tiger can play golf on water), they responded. In this video, Tiger hits a golf ball onto a lily pad, and decides to go in after it. He takes off his socks, tests the water for stability, and strolls over to his golf ball where he proceeds to wedge one in from what appears to be between 50 and 100 yards. The next year, for Tiger ’10, Rocco Mediate tried the same feat. After removing his shoes and socks, he takes a step or two into the water and then sinks, failing mightily. Though different from the much simpler FedEx commercial, these two both get a few laughs because of the contrast between Tiger and Rocco. Without any further ado, here are my five funniest golf commercials.
Number Five: Tiger on This is Sports Center
While Tiger Woods is known worldwide for his love of solitude (he famously has a yacht named “Privacy”), he has sure made a lot of commercials. EA Sports makes a bunch every year when they release the newest video game, and Tiger has also taken part in commercials for Nike. These include the much publicized commercial chronicling his return to golf after knee surgery (where he is shown breaking up the party of other Nike staffers), and the commercial that reflects on his time off following the revelations of his many affairs (in which his late father lectures him as Tiger stares aimlessly at the camera). Tiger has also made commercials where he talks with his headcover, Frank, where he tackles a man trying to steal his golf clubs, and where he channels his inner Carl Spackler. While those are all great, my personal favorites are the above videos, which I have decided to combine as one because of their similar nature.
Because there are so many funny Tiger commercials, it was hard to pick just one. The one, well two, that I decided to go with are from ESPN, or specifically, SportsCenter. "This Is SportsCenter" commercials are known for packing funny sports humor into a short commercial, and these are no exception. In line with the Jorge Posada/ David Ortiz commercial, the Ben Roethlisberger commercial, and the Arnold Palmer commercial, Tiger’s "This is SportsCenter" commercial features an ESPN personality inside the Bristol, CT, offices with a famous athlete.
In the first one, Stuart Scott walks past some cubicles and runs into Tiger. Scott asks Woods if their lunch plans are still on, which Tiger confirms. As Tiger walks past, a huge crowd of golf fans consumes the office, and they yell out things like “You the man Tiger!” and “Woo! Tiger!”
In the second commercial, which appears to have been filmed from the same exact camera angle, Scott asks Woods if he will sponsor him in the Bristol Roadrace. Tiger pauses a second, and simply says “No,” while Stu walks buy. A few things make this one funny. The first is obviously the direct difference from the first commercial, and how Scott (and the audience) is a little bit surprised at Tiger response, especially given Tiger’s financial situation. The second is the fact that Tiger almost shows a hint of a smile right before he says no. But what really makes this the funniest for me is Stuart Scott’s facial expression at the end, while Tiger is walking away. It’s dilapidation with a hint of surprise, and the look is totally priceless.
Number Four: Take it From Bubba Watson, and This Guy
Ping has taken an active approach to marketing in recent years. A few years ago, they came out with commercials for their G10 irons and drivers, featuring an amateur player hitting a solidly struck shot. The player then decides that he should either go pro or challenge for the club championship. They released a similar commercial for their iSeries putters, in which a 15 handicapper is convinced that his new Ping putter will allow him to take on the club champ.
The newest Ping commercials feature a struggling golfer, who then stumbles upon a PGA Tour pro. Angel Cabrera appears in the iN-Series putter commercial and, in his recognizable accent, uses a megaphone to tell the golfer that his putt “wasn’t even close” and he needs a new putter from Ping. Cabrera hands him the putter and, when he sinks it, Cabrera repeats his ’09 Masters fist pump.
In the commercial for the i15 and G15 irons, Hunter Mahan mans the hotdog stand. When the golfer in this commercial knocks one stiff after trying out the new irons, Mahan compliments him with a “Nice shot!” through a mouthful of franks.
Though I haven’t seen it on T.V., Ping does have a commercial for their i15 and G15 hybrids. It features Heath Slocum fishing in a lateral hazard. When the golfer realizes his ball is ball is miles from the green and stuck in the rough, Slocum hands him a G15 to get the ball up, out, and on. It’s unfortunate that this commercial isn’t more popular (likely because Slocum isn’t a big name like Cabrera, Watson, or Mahan), because Heath fishing in a hazard is some really funny stuff.
The last one, and my personal favorite, features Bubba Watson as a driving range attendant. When he spots a golfer hitting range balls, Watson drives his ball-picking range cart over a stack of balls, saying, “Son, I’ve hit flop shots farther than that.” Watson gives him a G15 driver and, after admiring a much nicer ballflight, says “You’re welcome,” and drives off. I think this commercial is a great one because of the humor of Bubba’s flop shot comment, his obvious misuse of the range cart, and the ending, in which an announcer says “Take it from Bubba Watson, and this guy.” All of the commercials say this (with the name changed obviously), but in this one the golfers appears from behind Bubba, and has an oddly funny look on his face. This is the most popular of the Ping commercials this year, and for good reason.
Number Three: My Phone Has Crime Deterrent
I know that this commercial has nothing to do with golf other than the fact that they are in a locker room, but it really never gets old. When I first watched it, I wondered, “Crime deterrent? This isn’t another iPhone ‘There’s an app for that’ commercial, is it?” Alas it was not, and I doubt anyone would throw their iPhone like that anyways. While I sure don’t want to play golf with that guy (or either guy really, the one who got hit should have known better than to get himself hit again), and it doesn’t really add anything to the Sprint brand, it’s a commercial that I actually enjoy watching. As someone who changes channels when the show goes to commercial, that’s saying a lot.
Number Two: Shankopotamus
Proving that at least one good thing did come out of Super Bowl XLII between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, E-Trade launched their talking baby commercials. The baby, voiced by comedian Pete Holmes, is shown sitting at a webcam, talking in an adult’s voice. Since the original commercial, the baby has given us the term “milkoholic,” a rendition of the 80’s Mr. Mister song, “Broken Wings,” a view into the gadgets that babies sneak in during time outs, and of course the term “shankapotomus.” The latter, the only golf related commercial, shows the baby in a locker room wearing a Taylor Made visor. He criticizes his playing partner, Frank, for not paying his losses despite the fact that Frank’s his 401K is tanking. When the baby suggests that Frank get E-Trade so he doesn’t have to subsidize Frank’s lack of golfing skills, Frank accuses the baby of cheating, telling him that “On the ninth hole, you moved your ball!” The baby, showing off his advanced knowledge of the Rules of Golf, assures Frank that he was on the cart path, and closes with “Why don’t you try reading the rules, shankapotomus?”
Number One: Yeah, You’re Right, I Guess I Shoulda Chipped Out
While the site that this commercial is for doesn’t even exist anymore, it is very funny nonetheless. My favorite part is obviously when the guy gets hit in groin, but this commercial is the best when you watch it in frame by frame, and pause it when he is about to fall. After he gets hit he lets out a little yelp, his hands flare out, and his face contorts into a hilarious expression. Not only is this commercial funny, but it can be educational too.
First of all, you shouldn't stand anywhere near as close to your playing partner as that guy did. Not only was he just asking for a shank to nail him in the face, it’s poor etiquette to stand right in front of someone when you have the option to stand anywhere else. If they had been on a tee box it might have been acceptable, but not on an approach shot.
Secondly, if you have anywhere near the bad luck that I have, stay far out of the danger zone for ricochet shots. The chances of being hit are next to zero, but why take the risk? If you don’t get hit, great. If you do, some short-lived company that sells custom golf clubs will make a commercial about you. And Charlie Rymer will laugh at you on Golf’s Amazing Videos.
Lastly, just chip out. Unless you are Phil Mickelson, you can’t get through there.
Closing and Your Thoughts
There are a lot of golf commercials out there. Some lame (nothing against Furyk, it just doesn’t work), some controversial, and some just simply funny. The best tend to include either big names (because of their stardom), or total hackers (because, well, it’s funny), but they always evoke a few laughs.
These are my five favorite. The Tiger ones because of their simplicity, the Bubba Watson commercial because it’s hilariously awkward, the Sprint advertisement because it still leaves me in stitches, the E-Trade commercial because I can’t get enough of the baby, and the Chipshot.com one because we’ve all met “that guy” (or really, “those guys”). Share some of your favorites, whether they are some of the ones I listed, one of the various commercials I linked to, or any of the thousands of videos on the internet.