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Boyne's Bay Harbor to host Wonderful World of Golf
by Jim Neff

Shell's Wonderful World of Golf was originally broadcast between 1961 and 1970. Shell used the show to introduce the game of golf to the masses and to entice people to travel. In 1994, Shell Oil and Jack Nicklaus Productions teamed up to re-launch the series. Players like Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Ken Venturi, Tom Kite, Fred Couples, Tom Watson, and Nicklaus himself have participated in the filming of 112 matches from 60 different countries. Limited ticket sales for the Bay Harbor event are $50 for adults and $25 for children 14 and under. Lodging/event packages are available. (1-800-GO-BOYNE).

On September 1 at 10 A.M., Boyne USA's Bay Harbor Golf Club near Petoskey will play host to Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, the first course in northern Michigan history to be so honored. Playing in the match play format will be Tom Lehman, 10 time winner of national and international tour events, and Phil Mickelson, the fourth youngest PGA player to win 10 titles, with $150,000 in prize money up for grabs. Michigan Golfer's Jim Neff spoke with Phil Bough of Jack Nicklaus Productions about the planning and work that goes into a Wonderful World of Golf show.

Michigan Golfer: What is the concept behind Shell's Wonderful World of Golf?

Phil Bough: The real crux of the show is that it allows us, unlike a regular PGA tour event where the networks are dictated to by the leader board and are constrained to follow the last two or three groups, to focus on just two guys. We're able to see every single shot they play all around the course. Plus, we get to spend some time with them and do some up close and personal insights so viewers can see who these players really are. It's the regional, travel, and personal aspects all in one show. If we've done our homework right and selected a good course and set up a competitive match, it will be a compelling program for the golf fan to watch.

Michigan Golfer: What do you look for when you select a course for the show?

Phil Bough: We want to show the world's best players playing on the world's most challenging and exotic courses, so we're looking for golf courses that are of a certain caliber. They have to be designed by the best designers, maintained in first class condition, and have a certain aesthetic quality that will look good on television. Actually, we select courses a year in advance, so we first visited Bay Harbor in September of 1997.

Michigan Golfer: What about Bay Harbor made it a good selection for your show?

Phil Bough: What interested us was that the two nines were completely different. The Quarry holes were among the most intriguing nine holes we had ever seen and the Links holes were very reminiscent of links courses not seen very often in the U.S. With that, we thought it would be fascinating to see two of the world's best players try to work the ball around there, especially if the wind is blowing.

Michigan Golfer: What sort of a production crew will you bring to Bay Harbor and what's the time schedule for doing the show?

Phil Bough: There will be a crew of 25 with 5 cameras. They'll be at Bay Harbor for about a week. The actual match itself will be shot in just 4+ hours. Our goal is to be an unintrusive as possible so that the pace of play is normal and does not disrupt the players' rhythm. We try not to interfere with the gallery or the match. Around that, the program is about golf but not just about the match. It's about the local regional flavor, places of interest, and telling the story of the resort. After we shoot the match and our background material, the show will be edited down to 90 minutes.

Michigan Golfer: How long does it take from the time the course is selected until the show airs?

Phil Bough: About one year, typically. As I said, we first visited Bay Harbor last September, we'll do the show this September, and it will air this fall. It's a tremendous course and we have two interesting and skillful players, so it should be great show.

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