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The Best Show Not on TV: We Need a Fourth

8/27/2007
As I mentioned at the tail end of one of my recent posts, I submitted an idea for a golf reality show to the Golf Channel. Here's a summary of the show:

IDEA SUBMISSION FOR THE GOLF CHANNEL
“WE NEED A FOURTH”

I have a great idea for a new reality show for the Golf Channel. It's called 'We Need a Fourth'. For years, I've been playing golf with the same two guys: Jeff (aka Jefe) and his brother Jim (aka Jimbo). Every year we go on one of those break neck, 36-54 hole per day golf binges. However, we've never been able to find anyone who's both a) crazy/stupid enough to join us and b) meets our very stringent and specific criteria in finding a golf partner.

Finding a decent golf partner can be harder than finding a spouse, and is very similar in its ups and downs to the courtship process. We need your help, and I think it would make for great television. Jeff is a British-accent away from being the next Simon Cowell. He's been called the George Costanza of his generation. He's extremely prickly when it comes to playing partners -- I'm his best friend and have been disowned multiple times for even the slightest transgressions. Jeff once took a 3-month road-trip sabbatical to play all the best courses in the country.

Jimbo is a little more laid back, but he cherishes the purity and traditional values of the game. He's a school teacher who has worked in the golf industry and has seen it all. He knows what works and doesn't work.

Besides being the brains of the operation, I have a grip-it and rip-it mentality on the golf course and for life in general. (For more insight into my maniacal mind (as well as details on some our recent golf trips), I urge you to check out my blog at: http://wegoblogger31.blogspot.com/search/label/Golf

We have different personalities but are driven by a common goal to experience as much of the quality golf that this world has to offer before we die. To that end, Jeff has played over 320 different courses (fueled by his road-trip) in his 34 years. I'm 33 and have played over 280 courses. Jimbo is 35 and has played 170 courses. Our course lists (yes, we keep them in our wallets) are skewed towards the best public and resort courses in the country (and some in the world), but also include courses we played at local muni's while picking up the game as juniors.

So that's the background. Here's the format: Every week you have 12-15 wannabes. We track the guys as they are coming to the course (do they use the bag drop, do they change shoes in the locker room, how are they dressed, how do they look on the range, etc). From first impressions, we 'draft' nine guys (three guys each) who make the first cut. However, the contestants aren’t initially aware that we are the ones deciding their fate. We’d play the part of the average contestant in the first round and will be selected as part of the 12 that make the first cut. We each take a group of three ‘real’ contestants out for first nine holes, with the intent of finding one guy each to move on to the back nine. The decisions can be made at any point throughout the round (guys could be cut after the first swing, after failing to tip the cart girl or even the first wrong glance at Jefe, whatever). Imagine a contestant’s surprise when the guy he thought he was competing against is the guy telling him to hit the road. On the back nine, the three finalists play together with us in one big group, and we collectively decide the winner at the end of 18 holes. Again, contestants can be eliminated for any reason along the way. The winner gets to go immediately on a 3-day golf weekend with us to some golf destination. You can stop the episode there or track the weekend as well, which would end in a decision by us whether they make the cut to the finale (and also allows the show to highlight a different golf destination every week). After 9+ episodes of these first round events, you bring back all the winners for the finale, which follows the same format until we have the grand champion, who gets to go with us on a two-week trip to some ultimate destination like Scotland, Ireland, Bandon, etc.

Like I said, I think this would make for some great television. Please let me know if you'd like to explore this idea further.

Thanks for your time,

Jim Colton


This idea is gold, Jerry, gold! Seriously, this would make for some very compelling television. Everybody who plays golf knows how hard it is to find a good golf partner. And once you find them, you don't give them up. Essentially the show would be a cross between the Bachelor and the Apprentice. Not a bad combination as far as reality shows go, right? Well, apparently the programming department at Golf Channel doesn't agree. Here's the form letter I received last week:

"Dear Mr. Colton,

Thank you for your idea submission to the Golf Channel. We appreciate the effort you have made to suggest a concept to enhance our channel.

We have considered [Note: Insert Show Name Here] We Need a Fourth and feel it would not currently be of sufficient interest to enough viewers. Therefore, we are not interested in any further development in this area at this time.

We will keep your informatio in file and be in touch with you should an opportunity with your submission arise.

We greatly appreciate your interest in the Golf Channel.

Sincerely,
Programming Acquisition and Development
Golf Channel"

Ouch! The first 'bong' letter I've received since trying to find a job out of school 11 years ago. I guess the Golf Channel couldn't find a home for a show like this amongst all those infomercials and fantastic episodes of 'Fore Inventors Only' (is anybody watching this?). Even their bread-and-butter Big Break is growing a little long in the tooth. The truth about the Big Break is you either have it or you don't. Some hottie who can't make the cut on the Futures Tour ain't going to make the cut with some sponsor exemptions just because she beat out 10 other girls who can't make the cut on the Futures Tour. And unlike musicians were you need to get a few breaks and meet the right people in order to get discovered, for golfers if you have the talent, you can make it. You don't need a 'big break', you just need mad game. Plunk down the $10,000 or whatever and go to Q-school or enter your USGA Local Qualifying.

Oh well, I may be a lot of things - husband, father, banker, golfer, blogger, fantasy basketball guru, college basketball ranking guy / quasi-bracketologist, but I guess reality TV star isn't one of them. Maybe the Golf Channel could see right through the idea for what it truly was: a thinly veiled attempt to get some free golf at some of the best courses in the world. It was worth a shot. In any case, I fully expect them to tweak my idea and come out with their own version of this show in the near future.

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