Having attended a number of PGA TOUR, LPGA and USGA events, I can tell you that in golf—perhaps more than any other sport—there is a massive gulf between what you see on television, and what you experience in person.
Television compresses both time and space. And yet golf is all about time and space. Television coverage jumps from hole to hole, shot to shot, leaving an impression of immediacy. On the ground, spectators following a foursome—or waiting for groups to pass their vantage point—know that the sport follows a more measured pace, and that a course on the ground is far bigger than it appears on television.
There is also a great deal more to a golf tournament than is shown in four days of television coverage. Tournaments are an immense sprawl, enlisting a thousand or more volunteers, with hospitality pavilions, eateries, souvenir tents, corporate exhibits and entertainment. The competition is preceded by social events, charity galas, pro-ams, player meet-and-greets, and often things like club-fittings, lessons and demonstrations from the pros.
With this perhaps in mind, AT&T has enlisted four golf fans to experience the 30th year of their Pebble Beach National Pro-Am sponsorship from start to finish. This Foursome will use social media via their HTC devices on the AT&T network to bring the experience of being at the tournament right to your LCD screen.
During their week at the #ATTProAm, they’ll participate in the full range of events, including attending a charity gala for the Veteran’s Transition Center of Monterey County, playing in the Boys and Girls Club Pro-Am, taking part in golf instruction- , including Video Swing Analysis with Laird Small, Director of the Pebble Beach Golf Academy, Robotic Swing Trainers with Scot Nei, the Science and Motion Puttlab with Kevin Hanssen and Full Swing Instruction with Dan Pasquariello. They’ll also get a chance to walk the course with the Pebble Beach Historian, meet Jordan Spieth and watch the tournament from inside the ropes.
And of course, they’ll get the opportunity to play Pebble Beach. I’m jealous. Playing Pebble Beach is on my bucket list.
The Foursome offers a variety of perspectives:
Tim Lang is a Marine Corps veteran who lost a leg as a result of injuries in Iraq. Golf has been a major portion of his rehabilitation.
“Golf pretty much finished what doctors were able to start,” Lang said. “It made a world of difference mentally, emotionally physically. It became my satisfaction. I was able to feel like a human being again. It gave me the self confidence that I missed for so long.”
Tiffany Fitzgerald is the founder of Black Girls Golf, an organization dedicated to teaching the sport to African American women. Fitzgerald took up golf when she noticed that her co-workers in corporate America played, and benefitted from the relationships they built on the course.
As her passion for the game grew, Fitzgerald decided to leave the corporate world to found Black Girls Golf. Through a love of the game, Fitzgerald now helps other African American women gain confidence and become insiders in corporate America.
Dan McLaughlin’s dream to master the game of golf and play professionally. The catch: when he began the project at age thirty, he had yet to play a round of golf. Still, inspired by the idea that with 10,000 hours of practice you can achieve mastery, McLaughlin started “The Dan Plan” to prove that hard work, not talent, is what leads to success in life.
Now more than 5,000 hours into his project, McLaughlin has chronicled his work through photos, blogs and video.
Katie Horsford is a talented golfer who dreams of playing professionally. She made her high school varsity team as a freshman and enjoyed a Top Five and four Top Tens in six tournaments in 2014.
Golf has given Horsford the confidence and purpose she says she once lacked. To her playing and practice schedule, she has added the role of mentor to younger girls in the First Tee Program.
You can keep up with the Foursome of Lang, Fitzgerald, McLaughlin and Horsford via their Twitter handles and by following the #ATTProAm hashtag:
This post is brought to you by AT&T, celebrating 30 years of the #ATTPROAM. All opinions are my own.