The Golf Channel is not automatically a channel one would think of to tune into when Black History Month rolls around. However, the golf-centric network is currently working away to present a unique documentary, Uneven Fairways.
Slated to air in February 2009, the film is a collaboration between the Golf Channel and Moxie Pictures. Based on the books Uneven Lies by Pete McDaniel, and Forbidden Fairways by Calvin H. Sinnette, the doc will bring to light those African-American golfers that have gone unnoticed, and celebrate those who have fought their way to the spotlight. The network, which has a history of presenting in-house docs that are often biographies of big-name golfers like Arnold Palmer, is now breaking out of the mold by partnering up to work on a big topic film.
Keith Allo, VP of programming development, says that although the channel had always dedicated small feature programming to Black History Month, a better strategy was to make a bigger splash to celebrate African-American golfers. ‘We needed a seminal program you can point to as standing for something and tackling a big subject,’ he says.
The film began when New York-based Moxie Pictures’ Dan Levinson got in touch with the Golf Channel to do a film together, and they just happened to own the film rights to Uneven Lies. Allo says that the network was no stranger to that books’ author, Pete McDaniel, who also covers Tiger Woods for Golf Digest, and the three just came together.
The film is being shot and researched presently, and Allo says they’re busy gathering stock footage that people haven’t seen before. To take a peek at some of the interviews they’ve already shot, see their website: http://www.thegolfchannel.com/core.aspx?page=26000&select2=10772
That’s not the only thing on the slate, with an upcoming Jack Nicholas film also in the works. You know you’re working with a totally dedicated network, when the projected airdate is cited as ‘during the week of the Memorial.’ For the non-golfer, that’s the June 2009 Memorial Tournament.
And starting after the Masters (April 2009), will be Golf in America, a show similar to HBO’s Real Sports. The 10 x 30-minute episodes will have two to three stories per half hour, focusing on real people and real stories. Allo gives this example of the kind of stories covered: ‘We found four guys who, every single Friday night, go to Torrey Pines and park in the parking lot and stay all night so they can be the first ones out Saturday morning because it’s a public course. They’ve done this for the past 10 years. They’ve blasted through relationships, they will not go to wedding receptions, all to do this every single week.’ Now that’s dedication.