The other day I was talking to a gentleman that likes golf and he said “I like that woman on the golf channel. You know, she’s attractive and has a deep voice.” I said, “The one that does the tournament coverage?” He said “Yes.” I replied “That’s Kelly Tilghman.”
There is great female on-air talent at the Golf Channel and I thought it would be fun to give my view on the women of the golf channel.
(1) Kelly Tilghman is the “grande dame” of the Golf Channel. She has been with the golf channel since the very beginning and according to her bio, “in 2007, she became the first full-time female play-by-play commentator in the history of the PGA Tour.”
I have watched Tilghman for years and like her commentary and she does have a great voice. She also has great golf credentials — she was on the golf team at Duke and played professionally from 1992 to 1996. She is also very funny. She recently was on Morning Drive and was great. I hope they have her guest host again.
Unfortunately, her humor has gotten her into trouble. Many will remember Tilghman because she made a remark during a PGA tournament broadcast in 2008 that Rev. Al Sharpton claimed was a racial insult to Tiger Woods. Tilghman did apologize but that was not enough for Rev. Al Sharpton — he wanted her fired. On the other hand, Tiger said he did not take offense. In fact Tiger appears to trust Tilghman (which was evident in 2010 when Tiger selected Tilghman to do his first interview after his personal life scandal.) And, Tilghman has been an announcer on Tiger’s very popular Video games.
(2) Holly Sonders is on the Morning Drive show. Her role is basically to do news headlines and setup segments for the main two hosts (Erik Kuselias and Gary Williams.) She played college golf for Michigan State University. You can tell from the few segments she has done on golf exercises and the swing that she really is a great golfer. The golf channel executives must have noticed too because it was just announced she will be on The School of Golf every Wednesday. She is also quite funny. I wish she had more air time on the morning show.
(3) Winn McMurray — McMurray is the fashion consultant and writes articles for “Fashion Focus” (a golf channel blog.) She used to also host “The 19th Hole” but that has a new host (see below). Her big claim to fame is that she won the 2011 Fantasy Golf Challenge. I’m always happy to see a woman win!
(4) Lauren Thompson — Thompson hosts Golf Now, a travel show. And, the morning drive cast have given her the nickname of T3 (because she hosts the Top Ten series and her last name is Thompson — get it, Top Ten Thompson).
(5) Stephanie Sparks — Most will know Sparks from the Big Break which is a reality show on the Golf Channel. She also does on-course commentary for the LPGA and Nationwide tour. Like Tilghman, she played golf at Duke University. I like Stephanie Sparks on Big Break but you don’t see her on any other shows.
(6) Lara Baldesarra — The newest member of Golf Channel’s elite women broadcasters. She just started this year as the host of The 19th Hole. She will also fill in as a co-host on the Golf Central show. My first impressions of her on-air style is that she is very animated and I can tell she is Canadian by the way she says words like “about.” I’m not crazy about the tone of her voice — it is a bit grating to me; but I’m willing to see how she does over time.
Overall I think all of the Golf Channel Women are entertaining and do a great job. My favorites are based on their on-air personality and how they display their knowledge of the game. Kelly Tilghman is my favorite and Holly Sonders is fast becoming a close second. I think Sonders has a very promising future with the Golf Channel.