Different perspective: Inside 16th hole tower with NBC’s Gary Koch

Golf Channel TowerAn excerpt from my story for Awful Announcing:


I have been to virtually every place on a golf course, including some unfortunate areas only accessible to an erratic 15-handicapper. However, I never had made the trek up to a broadcast TV tower during a tournament.

So I gladly accepted the invitation to spend some time with NBC’s Gary Koch at his 16th hole perch during Friday’s telecast of the BMW Championship on the Golf Channel.

GaryKoch_8x10I walked up the two flights of stairs and past the cameraman located on the right side of the tower. When we pulled aside the curtain, Koch said, “Welcome to our office.”

Koch’s office is about the size of a really small elevator that holds only two people. So when Golf Channel PR man Jeff Skzlinski and I squeezed in, the feeling was a bit claustrophobic.

Koch and his scoring assistant, Harrison Root, sit in front of three TV monitors, with one of the monitors split into 9 small screens. That monitor allows Koch and Root to follow the action on their hole assignments.

“Today, I’m responsible for 3, 8, 12 and 16,” Koch said. “I keep producer (Tommy Roy) appraised of what’s happening on those holes.”

A few seconds later, Koch tells Roy, “(Billy) Horschel for birdie on 8.”

Horschel’s successful birdie putt doesn’t air live. About a minute later, Roy goes, “Horschel on 8.”

That’s Koch cue, and he sets up the putt as if it was occurring live and then describes it falling into the hole. Obviously, with so much occurring on the course, especially during the second round of a tournament, many of the shots are on tape. In fact, there was one instance where they showed a great shot by JB Holmes nearly three minutes after it occurred because of a commercial break.

“Oh what a shot,” Koch said on-air, as if witnessing the shot for the first time.


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