They say it’s not the dress that makes the outfit, it’s the accessories… Or something along those lines. Don’t worry, this isn’t a sports-article-turned-fashion-advice-column, this quote is actually a metaphor that just so happens to be crafted around something that’s the complete opposite of golf.
Watching golf, or any professional sport for that matter, is completely different on TV than it is live. Golf on TV is just that- golf. The players shoot the ball, try to get it into the hole, and repeat for 18 holes. Golf in person is only about 10% actual golf and 90% “accessory”.
What they don’t show on TV is the cameras following players around, fans swarming their heroes after every hole, and reporters trying to get the quote they need from whoever can provide it, no matter the cost.
For those who have never been to any live sporting event, especially golf, it isn’t just a game- it’s a production. The amount of work that goes into making sure those clubs can be swung as many times as it takes to get the ball in the hole 18 times a day for four days straight is mind-blowing. There are more people working on something as simple as making sure everybody is being fed than there are actually playing the sport.
One of the biggest parts about a sporting production is the media. They not only let people know what is going on with the game, but they also have the power to manipulate the players to be whoever it is that helps support their most current point of view on the sport.
If it weren’t for the media, most people wouldn’t even know what sports were all about, let alone follow them as intently as they do now. Being familiar with the big names to the point of feeling as if they know them is part of what makes the average person so enthralled with a certain sport, and that is part of what the media is there for.
Being behind the scenes at an athletic event is even more of an eye-opener. Seeing the people who are kept behind restrictive ropes is breathtaking, even if one has no idea who exactly they are. The simple fact that they have become successful enough to be followed by reporters, and watching them do something as normal as eat a banana is kind of humbling.
The JELD-WEN Tradition was especially mind-blowing. For days leading up to the actual golfing there were events promoting it, which not only let people know what was going on but it also made those who attended feel special and personally in on what goes on behind the scenes.
One thing that everyone in the world has in common is that they all want to feel like they are a part of something, and events such as the JELD-WEN work hard to achieve this with all who attend. It’s not the actual sport that pulls people in- it’s the free stuff, the chance to meet famous people, to collect proof that they met famous people, to be on TV, to be surrounded by something that feels important. This is all part of the 90% of a golf tournament that isn’t actually about golf.
Working behind the scenes at the JELD-WEN Tradition was more than just an opportunity to report; it was an opportunity to learn what it is that makes something like golf so successful. The real lesson was, to quote a seemingly anonymous inspirational speaker; it’s not what you do, but how you do it.