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By Rick Woelfel
The Golf Channel telecast of the ShopRite PGA Classic Presented by Acer next month will feature an all-female announce team. It is believed to be the first time in the history of American television that the producer and on-air talent will all be women.
The tournament will be played at the Seaview Resort in Galloway Township New Jersey, just outside Atlantic City, from October 1-3. Producer Beth Hutter will oversee a telecast that will feature host/play-by-play announcer Cara Banks, analysts Judy Rankin and Paige Mackenzie, and on-course reporters Karen Stupples and Kay Cockerill.
Molly Solomon is the executive producer for NBC Olympics and Golf Channel.
“We’re thrilled to assemble this incredibly accomplished group of women for our broadcast of the ShopRite LPGA Classic on GOLF Channel,” she said “Our NBC Sports team features talented women at all levels, both on camera and behind the scenes, who are essential to making our coverage a success on every platform, and we’re honored to celebrate their work as part of this broadcast.”
The announce team features experienced golf broadcasters. Rankin, Mackenzie, Stupples, and Cockerill all played on the LPGA Tour before going into broadcasting. Banks has worked for Golf Channel in a number of capacities since 2015 and also hosts studio segments for NBC Sports. Prior to joining Golf Channel, she worked for Sky Sports in her native England. The ShopRite LPGA Classic will be her first play by play assignment.
“I personally can’t wait,” she said. “I feel so ready. I can’t wait to step in the booth and try a different part of the golf production world.”
Banks got a close-up look at the structure of a live golf telecast at this year’s U.S. Open where she was on assignment for Golf Channel’s Live From programming.
“I spent a lot of time that week in the booth,” she said, “watching Grant (Boone) and Judy and Rich (Lerner) and Morgan (Pressel), and Tom Abbott and how they all worked. And getting to know Beth a bit better.”
In addition to calling much of the action at the ShopRite event, Banks will be responsible for incorporating her colleagues into the flow of the telecast, a task that is more challenging than experienced broadcasters, notably Dan Hicks, NBC’s lead golf broadcaster, make it look.
“It’s so easy to overcomplicate,” Banks said, “and you can’t forget there’s obviously a big difference between radio and TV. You can’t forget that on TV, everyone is seeing what you’re seeing. You don’t need to spell out the obvious.
“A lot of it is being a traffic cop, and keeping the ball going. And listening to your producer and knowing which hole we’re going to, which players are on the hole, and who’s calling that hole.”