May 9 2012, Katie Ann Robinson
After Stacy Lewis flawlessly clenched her second LGPA victory at the Mobile Bay Classic, she was thrilled to travel to Orlando to be the guest on several of Golf Channel’s most-esteemed segments. Like many previous LPGA Tour champions, Lewis joined Erik Kuselias and Gary Williams for a chat on the Morning Drive, assisted Martin Hall with a lesson on School of Golf and Michael Breed on The Golf Fix and was the guest on Golf Central and several on-line interviews, all of which will be aired throughout the month of May.
Lewis arrived for her first interview around 7:30 a.m. and the rest of the day was filled with even more. Although the day was long, she enjoyed the time she spent with the Golf Channel crew.
“It’s a lot of fun to come here and just hang out for the day and see how things work and to be on all the shows,” Lewis said. “It’s a lot of fun just for the fans to see us off the golf course and see us doing other things. And it’s a fun, relaxing day for me. Everybody sees us just straight faced and hitting shots all the time and being on Golf Channel they get to see us have fun and talking.”
Lewis got a firsthand look at what it takes to produce a Golf Channel show. Before even entering a studio, she was greeted by a stylist and then taken to the studio.
“What’s crazy to me is you come in here and all these studios are just kind of crammed into corners and there are multiple studios in one room,” Lewis said. “It’s fun to see how things all work and how things are run here. It’s pretty amazing. And it’s a lot of fun hanging out with the hosts. You see their personalities on TV and they’re actually like that all the time.”
Although each segment may last a grand total of 6 to 10 minutes, the shows require extensive hours of research and preparation beforehand and even more people involved than one would assume. One of the most common misconceptions of the responsibilities of a TV personality is the amount of time it takes to prepare for a show. For Kuselias and Williams, the Morning Drive groundwork begins well before the sun comes up.
“People think the show starts at seven, so we have to be in at 6:30. Well that’s not the case,” says Kuselias. “Our call time is 4 a.m., so my alarm rings at like three. At 4 o’clock we have a show rundown meeting. And we will go through every single minute of the show. When it comes to the LPGA player we’ll talk about what we want to ask her and why we want to ask her that.
“I’m a big believer in that there’s only so many questions you can ask like ‘why’d you use a five iron on that shot,’ after a while those questions just get kind of dull. So I really want to know about the person. I always ask my researcher to pull a bio or anything that is personality based about that player so I know who she is and what she likes to do.”
Approximately 15 to 20 people are behind the scenes during the taping of a show. Before they begin, a director will have a meeting to discuss the rundown of the show with the camera operators and talent. The typical Golf Channel segment will have five cameras and up to 10 people assisting in the control room along with a producer or two.
School of Golf’s Martin Hall admits it’s tough to run a show. The camera operators, talent and teleprompter must all be in sync in order to have a successful show. And sometimes that doesn’t always work out. Both Hall and Lewis wear ear pieces during the show to receive direction from the producers.
“It is much harder than it looks,” Hall says. “There is so much more going on than you would think. Stacy will be talking and I’ll be talking and I’ll have two producers in my ear while I’m talking to Stacy. It’s tricky. I’ll have the producer saying in my ear, ‘One minute…45 eon…30…’ and so on and they are counting you down to finish the segment on zero. And it does mean zero. It doesn’t mean one or plus-one.”
Although it takes much planning prior to the show and multitasking while taping, the end result is a well-crafted piece featuring one of golf’s top competitors.
One of the main topics discussed on the both of the teaching segments was Lewis’ golf swing. Both Hall and Breed were able to pick her brain about her practice techniques as well as break down her swing to give the viewers a chance to learn from the best.
“You can’t teach golf in one six-minute segment, that’s for sure” says Hall. “But you can definitely give people some ideas that will help. This show happens to be driving straight which fits very well with how Stacy did in Mobile. She has a very ‘on plane’ swing. I think her swing stays on a very good plane and she times it very well. It’s my chance to get a snap shot of what it takes to drive it straight.”
For Breed, having a guest on The Golf Fix is a rare occurrence but Lewis was able to provide professional advice when it comes to practice.
“It’s fun to get some good insight into the mind of somebody that’s now won twice, one being a major championship,” Breed says. “It is certainly going to help people at home get better, which is what the whole thing is all about – what can we do to provide access to people who don’t have the access to talk to Stacy about what’s going on now so we can provide that avenue for them.”
Check out some of Lewis’ interviews on GolfChannel.com and tune in next Monday for her advice on The Golf Fix.