Crossing the bridge

We don’t remember the last time there was a golf tourism show in the Philippines. We’ve seen some travel shows touch on golf courses and some golf shows talk about where the tournament is happening, but the two elements have not really meshed—at least in recent memory.

“A Round of Golf” (AROG) is truly a show blessed with good timing and a team for the ages. Donna May Lina-Flavier (before the hyphenation) had the idea of putting this together since way back. But somehow the idea stayed on the table for a considerable time before early this year she decided it was the right time. She brought in Mark Zambrano; a former employee of her father at Airfreight 2100 and a recurring face in many sports broadcasts. Mark, in turn, brought in Noel Zarate; another veteran sportscaster but an experienced executive producer for sports news and live sporting events. Noel, in turn, put together a production team consisting of several former stalwarts at ABC-5, Solar Sports and other networks, uniting with Donna’s production squad, including her youngest sister Bertha, the rookie co-host with a passion for adventure and Jun Cedo, the reluctant TV star. “Fairway Fairy” Geleen Handog and Dr. Chris Borja cast on and have been part of the family since.

The team, in turn, churned out episode after episode of golf tourism with a slanted slant. In true “Mythbusters” and “Good Eats” fashion, a new era has arrived in sports entertainment.

It’s actually been an uphill climb for the AROG contingent and the learning curve is starting to straighten. Initially, we entered each sortie making everything from scratch at the venue itself; trusting our God-given skills of being ridiculous and finding solace in the fact that editing will make this a story. Then the courses started calling, then some detractors stopped whining, then the central purpose became clear: entertain, educate, highlight and make them envious of the amount of food consumed during the shoot. PBA commentator Richard del Rosario was once quoted as saying (in the vernacular) “…It doesn’t suit a guy as thin as Mark to be eating all that food!” That’s why we’re there to help him, Richard. This is all a team effort. Mark didn’t eat all that, we did.

As AROG’s first season has now breached the halfway marker, we are enthralled by the harrowing re-shoots at Valley Golf, the challenge of having to cover a tournament while filming the show at Malarayat, the wide-open adventure at Southwoods (where we all first saw Geleen in all her beauty and jitters), the rich history at Club Intramuros, the fun environment at Sherwood Hills, the over-stuffing at Eastridge, the “available light” sorite at Sun Valley and of course this week’s roller coaster experience at Canlubang. We have grown in golf so much in such a short amount of time. We invite you to grow with us every week. See you at fringes!