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The Golf Channel: Startup to 3 Million Dollar Prizes
Sunday afternoons used to be a sacred time for golf fans.  While the sun blazed outside, too hot to comfortably play 18 holes, a golf fan could find his or her fix by turning on the television to watch the pro golf broadcast.  That all changed on January 17, 1995.

On that fateful day, golf fans across the USA were treated to the ultimate television channel.  The Golf Channel was introduced: a 24-hour American television cable network devoted entirely to broadcasting golf events and programs from around the world.  The Golf Channel was the first of its kind, and was closely associated with globally recognized golf associations like the Professional Golf Association, the Ladies Professional Golf Association, United States Golf Association, Royal Canadian Golf Association, First Tee and others.

Joseph Gibbs, an Alabama-based media entrepreneur, first devised the concept of this type of network in 1991.  In order to prove his notion that a rising public interest in an all-golf network would be supported, Mr. Gibbs held a public survey called a Gallup Poll, and proved that his instincts were right.  Working with legendary golfer and golf course designer Arnold Palmer, Joseph Gibbs was able to secure the $80 million required to finance the network that would become known as the Golf Channel.  The first live tournament to be televised by the new network was the Dubai Desert Classic in January 1995.

Today, the Golf Channel is available to viewers in the United States, Asia and Canada through wireless transmissions, cable and satellite transmissions. There is also a European version of the network, however most programs are the same as those televised in the United States.  

From the Golf Channel studios in Orlando, Florida, all sorts of feature programs are broadcast.  Live telecasts, however, remain the norm.  The network features coverage of the most important pro golf matches including the PGA Tournament, LPGA Tour, PGA European Tour, Champions Tour, Canadian and Australasian Tours and others.  There is also a nightly news show called "Golf Central", and another devoted entire to college golf.

In 2004, NetJets linked a unique partnership with the Golf Channel.  This company gained exclusive rights for the airing of costumed programs, while integrating and featuring NetJets advertisements. Throughout the term of the partnership, NetJets remained the Golf Channel's exclusive aviation company, and no other company of this type was featured or able to advertise within any of the network's programs.  In accordance with this partnership, the network televised an hour-long program called "Golf Talk Taking Flight", presented by NetJets.  This program featured golf stars Bob Murphy, Davis Love III, Dana Quigley and Dave Stockton.  Another specialty program, "NetJets Traveling on Tour", was a series of four-minute Golf Channel segments that followed golfers as they traveled in cities for tours, showcasing these pros in or beside NetJets Aircrafts.

Golf Channel's hit golf reality show, "The Big Break II", first aired in the fall of 2004.  This program aimed to assist aspiring golf professionals to gain exemptions in the PGA and LPGA tournaments and events.   In 2005, the Golf Channel sponsored a golf tournament called "Big Stakes Golf", a special match that was won by mini-tour professionals David Ping and Garth Mulroy.  The entry fee to play in this special event was $100,000, and the grand prize was a whopping $3,000,000.  This prize pot, the largest in golf history, was split between the two winning players.

To learn more about the golf channel, visit their website golfchannel.com.  You'll find complete program listings, schedules and airtimes, PGA Tournament information and Golf Channel Tournaments.  You can keep up to date on the reality program "The Big Break", play interactive Golf Channel contests, visit the TGC Pro Shop and learn more about TGC talents and hosts.  There are also listings of golf schools, golf vacation packages, event tickets and tee times.

When the weather just isn't cooperating and you need your golf fix, you can now get it # 24 hours a day # simply by turning on your television and tuning in to the Golf Channel.
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