Golf Channel will take the wraps off a new studio look with the initial Golf Central telecast on Jan. 4.
The changes, its first studio makeover since 2003, are accompanied by the bow of full high-definition production capabilities for all of the Comcast-owned service's studio fare.
A departure from the understated look viewers have grown accustomed to, the modernized Golf Channel studios in Orlando will sport a number of high-tech elements and contemporary stylings. Although occupying the same 4,700-square-foot space, the new sets will showcase four separate environments, from which different studio shows will originate. Golf counts 82 million homes in the U.S. and another 40 million around the world.
The studio makeover began last March, when Golf's operations team began upgrading its entire studio operations and backstage technical areas to accommodate HD production. Other updates include new lighting -- which has been designed to reduce the studio's overall energy consumption by more than 30% -- and other infrastructure amelioration. The studio design was completed by Jack Morton/PDG, which also has completed work for NBC, CBS and ESPN, among others.
"This spectacular new studio -- as well as new graphics and music for Golf Central -- show our continued commitment to updating and improving our channel," said Golf president president Page Thompson in a statement. ""Golf Central is the leading news program for the sport, and now we have a new studio that truly reflects the passion and dedication we have to this great game."
Anchoring the studio will be the set of Golf Central, which is center-positioned to provide greater depth of field for the viewer and a desk that pivots 180 degrees to showcase different backgrounds. The base of the desk is fronted by two, scrolling tickers of tournament leaderboard information and other golf news.
A dedicated analyst area will feature a desk with integrated telestrators. Adjacent, there is a large, multi-touch screen enabling them to interact with video and graphics for demonstrations.
Additionally, the studio will feature a myriad of monitors of all sizes that will be used for graphic treatments, as well as stand-up stations for the network talent. Demonstration areas -- including a putting green, a sand trap and a tee box with an added two cuts of rough -- will be used for a variety of purposes.
"In addition to providing a contemporary and visually stunning set for our studio programming, this design utilizes technology to provide Golf Channel anchors, analysts and instructors with an advanced state-of-the-art tool set," said Golf vice president of operations Dan Overleese "From swing breakdowns and statistical analysis to simulated reenactments and instruction, our studio shows will be visually more compelling and entertaining."
At the back studio wall, facing the tee box area, is a 23-foot by 13-foot video screen, that will not only present logos and graphics, but function as the display for a high-tech golf simulator. The network has partnered with Ohio-based aboutGolf on the PGA Tour Simulator that will be utilized by Golf analysts for real-to-life demonstrations and for instructional shows like The Golf Fix..
Powered by aboutGolf's proprietary 3Trak technology, the simulator precisely measures and displays club performance and true ball flight including spin, velocity and trajectory. aboutGolf also will showcase high-definition, 3-D renderings of the 18th hole at each of the 2010 PGA Tour scheduled courses.
"The Golf Channel strives to deliver relevant news, analysis and instruction, so reliable and definitive data is critical," said Chuck Faust, president of aboutGolf. "Not only does the PGA Tour Simulator apply stereoscopic, high-speed photography technology, it's used with a proprietary methodology that allows it to achieve an even higher level of accuracy and produce a realistic golf experience."