“Live show. No script. What could possibly go wrong?”
As it turns out, the answer to Callaway Live’s tagline is, "Not much in Season One."
The Carlsbad, Calif., club and ball manufacturer’s foray into original content closes with Episode 22 Tuesday (9 pm ET) featuring music industry mogul Irving Azoff, before resurfacing a few times over the winter depending on who stops by the company headquarters.
The question remains: Why is Callaway doing this, and are we seeing the future of golf content?
The answers are pretty straightforward: Callaway sees this as an extension of their developing brand, a blend of serious design focus for serious golfers, all mixed with an attitude that golf should be fun.
And about the future of golf content?
If rumors that TaylorMade is looking at doing a similar show pan out while Titleist, Cobra and Ping keep producing their own video content, we may see a corporate content battle that benefits fans of the game.
"We had high expectations for the show, of course, but we were also a little anxious about how well we could produce a weekly, live show and whether people would watch and engage with the content, week in and week out," said host Harry Arnett—who moonlights as Callaway’s Chief Marketing Officer the rest of the week. “It’s been really cool to be a part of a team blazing this trail and I think the fact that we were sailing in unchartered territory added a lot of energy to the audience, the guests, and the resulting content.”
The key has been a broad range of guests who, gasp, have talked about more than just golf, golf, golf. (All episodes can be viewed at Callaway Live’s homepage, including stop-ins from broadcasting legend Dick Enberg, former Ford and Boeing CEO Alan Mulally, the band Iration, Golf Channel’s Gary Williams, skateboarding icon Ryan Sheckler, golf clothiers John Ashworth and John O’Donnell, and more.)
The show’s fun vibe mixed with occasionally serious discussions about the state of the sport runs live online before a live audience. The show has filled a void left by Golf Channel’s long extinct Golf Talk Live which was taped in a quiet, sometimes somber studio. That was long before Golf Channel had nearly wall-to-wall tournament coverage and the network lured fans in with Peter Kessler’s weekly show. Besides attracting top quality guests, Kessler’s interview style nearly always led to serious, must-see TV moments. But the show lacked the energy and vibe delivered by a studio audience and a host of Arnett’s comedic sensibilities.
Produced and directed by Emmy-award winning Morning Drive producer Jeff Neubarth, Callaway Live was born internally in May and is an in-house operation. Creative Director Johnny Rodriguez designed the warm set and handles graphics for the show. The technical crew includes a Callaway product marketing manager and, on one camera, a staff member from the internal audit department.
Neubarth credits the audience, usually a mix of guests and Callaway staffers, for making the show work.
“The energy they bring amazes me and definitely changes the vibe of the show.”
Jordan Spieth’s Historic Year In Review
Golf Channel will be airing a thirty-minute tribute to Jordan Spieth’s epic 2015 season this week. First appearing Wednesday at 10 pm ET with multiple repeats scheduled.
The PGA Tour’s opening day is here! With just a week off between Web.com Tour finals and the start of the new season, the fall’s Frys.com Open at Silverado Resort & Spa’s North Course (on Golf Channel Thursday from 5 to 8 pm ET) is headlined by Rory McIlroy fulfilling an obligation to the PGA Tour after having played in a competing event in Turkey a few years ago. Appearances by Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama and Brooks Koepka add life to a field vacated by Tiger Woods following back surgery.
Defending champion Sang-Moon Bae will be reporting for military duty after representing the International team at last week’s Presidents Cup.
Here’s a mildly-awkward Silverado promo video featuring some fun Johnny Miller footage early on, including wearing a white belt before they went out of style, before they became cool again and before they went out of style again.
Cheech Marin Royalty Time, October Edition!
Tin Cup will be on Golf Channel 8 pm ET Tuesday. Something tells me Kevin Costner still goes for the green in two and misses. And something tells me if you miss it this month, the Ron Shelton film will air again very, very soon.