Video coverage of disc golf: A realists take

If you’re reading this, you most likely are already sold on the awesomeness of disc golf.

Likewise, you probably greatly appreciate and enjoy any live video coverage of the seminal professional events of our sport. But if you look at it with a critical eye, you gotta admit that even the best the sport has to offer is pretty amateurish. The Players Cup coverage last weekend wasn’t much better – in terms of video AND commentary (no offense to my pal Billy Crump) than what the average Joe with a single HandyCam can produce. Coverage of the USDGC was a little better, but still failed to convey how disc golf has become a near carbon-copy of the Grand Old Game, with all its nuances and intricate mental challenge.

I make this point not to denigrate the efforts of those on the bleeding edge of disc golf promotion, but to stress how tough it is to accurately portray golf of any kind on screen. If you think about it, ball golf events use DOZENS of different cameras in order to create the finished product they broadcast. One camera shows the golfer addressing his lie and striking the ball, another captures the wide-angle shot that shows the ball in flight, and a third is able to show the result of the shot. That’s three cameras required to capture EACH SHOT. Think about the resources needed to cover par 3’s, 4’s and 5’s on an 18 hole course!

My point is this: Most of the people that dedicate their time and in some cases financial resources to broadcasting disc golf must be doing so in hopes that it will help to take disc golf ‘mainstream’ as a professional sport. While their intentions are to be commended, the nature of golf – disc, ball, or otherwise – does not lend itself to simple and accurate video representation- without nearly unlimited resources. The projectile (ball, disc), on most shots, travels a good distance away from whoever hits or throws it. And in disc golf, video tends to lose the twists, turns, and other nuances that shows the uninitiated how disc golf is more complex than simply ‘throwing a Frisbee’.

If your goal is to take disc golf mainstream, doesn’t it make more sense to always have the uninitiated in mind? Don’t cater to the person who already knows what a great sport disc golf is . . . cater and market to the other 99.9 percent of the population! Until we reach critical mass (and, hint, we ain’t close yet) we should focus on growing the market of players before we even thing about the market of viewers.

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