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Covering a golf tournament.. help!

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jay Sherman, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

    OK, so my paper's got me covering a golf tournament in a few hours. Technically I'll be the golf beat writer this season, and have already spoken to all of the coaches (three schools participating in our coverage area) for the season preview.

    But my question is, how do I cover a tournament like this where I have to report on three local teams as well as whoever ends up winning the thing? Do I wander around aimlessly? Do I follow one of the teams? Do they give me a golf cart? Do I wait at a certain hole for all three teams to pass through?

    I'm sure I could go and figure it out as I'm going, but I'd like to have some idea of what to expect before showing up. Any, and I mean any, advice is appreciated.

  2. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    Do any of the teams have a standout player who's head and shoulders above anyone else in the tournament? If so, you might follow that player for a couple of holes, but unless you've got a Tiger Woods in a field of 20 handicappers, you probably won't get much out of that. But since it appears you're not an experienced golf writer, I'd probably park myself at the ninth and 18th holes. If there's any kind of scoring that might help you find out who's leading, you can watch a lot of players go through and then finish. Then you can get players and coaches for quotes and other details on their rounds.
  3. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    You can do it a couple ways. Some reporters in my area like to show up about an hour before the tourney ends, then get all the information and do interviews.
    Find out what time everyone tees off. If its a shotgun, you're pretty screwed. If its tee times, then try to watch the top players for a few holes, just to fight boredom.
    Basically what you're doing is gathering all your info at the end. Try to get hole-by-hole scores and ask the player about anything that stands out to you. Golf is great because you have more than enough time to talk to a ton of people.
    I have a tournament to cover today. It started at 7:30 and tee times run through 9 p.m. with players alternating from the 1st tee to the 10th tee, then at noon they send out the afternoon tee times. I'm leaving in 20 minutes. I'll shoot some of our local stars of the morning group, come back in and figure out how I need to play the rest of the afternoon.

    Golf is easy. Just don't get bored with it. And yes, if you ask, you can get a cart. If the clubhouse people give you shit, tell them if they don't give you one, then you'll need someone to ride out with you so you can follow the players.
  4. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    1-under-par is a birdie
  5. amoney

    amoney New Member

    If its a one-day tournament, I would spent 4 holes with each team so you can find out what kind of stories there and see how the players are doing on that day. Then you have 6 holes to figure out which group/school/player you want to focus on and follow a bit more for the bulk of your story.
  6. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Active Member

    You don't really need to go out onto the course to cover a golf tournament since you might be following one group while somebody in another is red hot. You really have to rely on the top players to tell you about their rounds, what club they might have hit into a green and how long the putt was they made for a pivotal birdie or eagle. If it's high school, you could also ask the coaches who the top players are and then go out and watch them for a while. With high schoolers, I tend to stick close to the scoreboard because that's where everybody gathers after their rounds. (Actually, amateur tournaments as well.) Also, having some background on which teams/players have done well over the years is good. When I cover a top amateur event, I usually go out in a cart and follow the leaders. Just remember to keep your cart out of the way and don't interfere with play. It's a piece of cake. Players are usually pretty good at remember key parts of their rounds.
  7. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I'll assume this is high school, which is pretty informal.
    Introduce yourself to the club pro and ask for a cart, he should give you one. If you've talked to the coaches, you should have an idea who their best players are. Try to find them somewhere on the back nine and follow them through their last four or five holes.
    If you want to follow some of the other golfers, ride around on the front nine. Most of them will be pretty chatty while they're playing, and you can pick up some good stuff. Talk to the coaches again, too, to get an idea of who played well or exceeded expectations.
    Basically, just ask them how their round went. Most can tell you straight off where they ran into trouble or the birdies that got them out of it. Just remember, you can't be everywhere at once.
  8. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Member

    Approach the players that finished near the top of the leaderboard and ask them if they'd mind filling out a scorecard. Usually, they are happy to do it. I find that it's helpful to take a look at their hole-by-hole at the end. Obviously, you should ask them about their round and get their commentary on some of the highlights, but this is a great way to have it all in front of you when you head back to the office.
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Sit on the veranda, sip sweet tea and wait for the golfers to come to you.
  10. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    But first make sure they have a good transcriptionist in the interview tent. Have you gotten your swag yet?
  11. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    If you know the course at all, find out which holes are known for good shots and watch a few groups at least.

    Any par 5s where a kid has a chance at an eagle?

    Or holes where even the good golfers can get in trouble easily?
  12. JR

    JR Active Member

    Pay Hondo to cover it for you.
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