If you’re tired of golf instruction magazines, check out the Golf Channel (TGC) cable station and its popular Web site (www.thegolfchannel.com). Available through cable, satellite, and wireless companies, the TGC offers enough instructional material to more than satisfy both the beginner and the scratch player.
The Golf Channel
The Golf Channel is the brainchild of Joseph Gibbs and Arnold Palmer, who co-founded it in 1991. It offers a unique blend of golf information, news, features, and instruction.
The Golf Channel offers TV specials, documentaries, celebrity interviews, movies, video tours, lifestyle segments, and original programming, including Golf Central, a nightly golf news show and What’s in My Bag. They also have a series focusing on golf equipment, accessories, and manufacturers.
It also offers live tour coverage. Its first live televised tournament was the Dubai Dessert Classic in 1991. Back then, it offered limited tournament coverage. Today, it features extensive coverage of the Nationwide, European, Canadian, and Champions tours, as well as the PGA Tour, LPGA tour, PGA of America, and USGA.
In addition, the Golf Channel offers golf instruction and golf tips designed to lower golf handicaps. Academy Live is a weekly call-in show that gives viewers an opportunity to improve their game by consulting with top teaching pros. Playing Lessons from the Pros provides golf lessons and golf tips from professional players on their off-day practice rounds. Golf Channel Academy offers golf instruction designed to help improve every aspect of your game.
The Golf Channel Web Site
More interactive than the cable channel, the TGC Web site offers its own share of golf instruction including In Their Bag, which looks at what clubs the winner of the latest tour event carried during the win. One such look included a review of what Phil Mickelson carried when he won the Master’s a couple of weeks ago.
The Web site also provides online instruction in the form of articles written by teaching pros throughout the country. The articles cover a wide variety of topics, from the set-up and sand game to the mental game and the basics of golf fitness. They even cover swing theory.
But the Web Site’s most unique feature is Game Tracker Pro. An innovative online instruction tool, it provides in-depth game analysis and pinpoints major playing problems. In addition, it provides a USGA Handicap Index based on your state golf association’s regulations, a calendar, and an e-mail center, called My Inbox, where you can send and receive e-mails.
The analysis tool is user-friendly. It’s based on details you provide each time you play a round of golf. First, you select the course you played at. If the site’s databank has information on the course, a score card with all pertinent information, like the course’s rating, slope, and type of tee, appears on screen. If the course is not in the databank, you can provide the information yourself.
Next you input the round’s key details, such as the score on a hole, number of fairways hit, and distance of your drives, onto the scorecard. There’s room for information on the total number of putts you made, any penalty strokes you received and the number of up and downs you completed.
After the information is saved, Game Tracker Pro analyzes your rounds to see where your problems lie, providing you with a sense of which instructional articles you should read and what you need to work on to improve.
Game Tracker Pro basic is free of charge. You just sign up to take advantage of its features. The site also offers a chance to become a premium member for about $30 annually. The benefits of a premium membership include all the tools of TGC Basic, plus access to other instructional content, such as the site’s Video Vault, which contains more than 2500 golf videos.
Improving your game just got a little easier thanks to the Golf Channel’s help. Offering features like Game Tracker Pro, a practical tool to help pinpoint and correct weaknesses, the cable channel and Web site provide enough top notch golf instruction, golf tips, and/or golf lessons to satisfy all levels of play, from beginners to experienced players.