Sad demise of Golf Channel UK

Channel ceased broadcasting on December 31 after four years on UK digital screens

Bob Warters
Wed, 2 Jan 2008

Sad demise of Golf Channel UK

The golf channel

I was saddened to learn that The Golf Channel UK ceased broadcasting on January 1 - after four years.

For many thousands of golfers its Golf Central news programme, recorded on a 30-minute loop from its US headquarters in Orlando, Florida has been a key source of valuable information, particularly about the PGA and LPGA women's Tours.

Unfortunately while the US version of the channel continues to thrive, the UK programme, owned by Wigan-based golf TV Group, failed to attract the advertising revenue needed to sustain the channel for a European digital audience.

A spokesman for Wigan-based The Golf Channel UK explained in a statement: "After four very happy years we had to take the commercial decision based upon a number of factors.

"* The Cost of good quality programming. We could have got cheaper programming but not without denigrating the viewer experience

"* The lack of availability of good programming and rights to broadcast key events.

"*The commercial revenues that were projected over the coming years."

The golf channel
Golf Central anchor Megan West

The spokesman added: "Since 2003 we believe we created a great channel with programmes that golfers wanted to watch. We also managed to cater for a wide range of golf tastes so if a particular show wasn't for you another would be just right."

As well as the news updates and stats, anchored by the delicious Megan West and Kelly Tilghman, I'll also miss the cheesy, microphone-fondling reports of Rich Lerner and Steve Sands which make me smile and squirm at the same time.

I'll particularly miss the instruction items with key coaches including Butch Harmon and David Leadbetter and lessons with top players including Chris Di Marco, Mark O'Meara and Paul Casey during a practice round.

I'm sure, too, the innovative Big Break series - giving emerging pros and good class amateurs the chance to win starts on the US Nationwide Tour - will be a sad loss to UK viewers.

I'll even miss the occasional Celebrity matches in monochrome from the 1950s in which the Sam Snead took on Hollywood legends including Jerry Lewis and Perry Como.

In recent months The Golf Channel UK had improved its Tour coverage and analysis, thanks to the introduction of former Bagshot resident Frank Nobilo. It's a great shame that his observations will only be available to a US audience.

Tell us on the forum if you will miss The Golf Channel UK - and if so, what programmes in particular.