Originally created 10/26/02

'Golfing Augusta' gives glimpse of area courses



For more than seven years now, Augustans have come to know Chris Kane as the affable and talented sports director for WAGT-Channel 26.

The 31-year-old Kane is also a self-proclaimed hacker on the golf course, a hobby he has parlayed into a successful new golf series on local cable.

Kane is the host of Golfing Augusta, a monthly series that made its debut on Comcast Channel 4 in May. The 30-minute program airs three times a week, showcasing a different area course each month and segments on rules, practice tips and equipment reviews.

The show is the brainchild of retired Atlanta media executive Will Hodges and is produced by his daughter, Shannon Hodges of MediaMonkey Productions.

"There are more than 60 public and semiprivate courses within a 50-mile radius of Augusta that you and me and anyone can play," Kane said. "It's basically a great way to promote these courses and give golfers in the area a look at courses they maybe didn't know existed. The show's really caught on and seems to have a good following."

This month highlights Mount Vintage Plantation Golf Club, home of the LPGA's Asahi Ryokuken International Championship, and includes a segment with head pro Brian Thelan working with Kane to demonstrate tips on proper grip and alignment. The monthly rules segment features Augusta Municipal Golf Course head pro Guy Reid.

A recent episode also featured low handicapper and former Detroit Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman. The segment was taped last summer at The Club at Jones Creek while the NHL coaching legend was in town visiting his daughter.

Eventually, Hodges hopes to expand Golfing Augusta to one hour with a new show every two weeks. He also plans to tap into several additional markets around the Southeast, with Golfing Savannah, Golfing Charleston and others in the works. Hodges also said the show plans to launch its Web site, GolfingAugusta.us, sometime in November.

"The show's been a lot of fun for me," said Kane, a Pittsburgh native who came to WAGT in July 1995 after working at a TV station in Toledo, Ohio. "I love golf, but I'm terrible at it. I remember watching the Masters as a kid, and if someone told me I'd be covering Augusta one day, I would have said you were nuts."

AROUND THE DIAL: Problems with a satellite feed at WJBF-Channel 6 resulted in viewers missing about 15 minutes of the Clemson-Wake Forest game Oct. 19. WJBF programming director Mary Jones said the station unknowingly had the wrong feed and aired a portion of the Ohio State-Wisconsin game before the problem was fixed. ... On Wednesday, CBS' The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn will be everything Gamecocks, as South Carolina becomes the latest school to be featured by Kilborn each Wednesday to hype the network's feature game that week. The Gamecocks play Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 2. ...National pastime or past its time? In Augusta, apparently, it's the latter, because the World Series is nowhere on local radio. ... The Clemson-Duke game Nov. 2 was changed to a noon kickoff and will be televised by Jefferson Pilot. The game was originally slated for 3:30 p.m. with no TV. After the Tigers' dismal effort against N.C. State on ESPN on Thursday night, maybe JP will reconsider. ... Citing a drop in the ratings, ESPN cut back the number of NHL games it will televise for fear of overexposing hockey. In an effort to underexpose bad hockey, Turner South might want to consider taking a similar route with the Thrashers.

Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425.