01/14/2016

One of the advantages golf has over other sports is that is played both recreationally and professionally. Therefore a wide variety of people, from amateurs to celebrities, could be described as enthusiasts.

Golf Channel has long capitalized on this fact and it will continue to do so. Earlier this week, Wilson Golf announced the panel of judges and host for its upcoming reality show “Driver vs. Driver,” which will debut on the Golf Channel in the Fall of 2016. The name that jumps out is former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

According to a press release from Wilson, Urlacher plays to a single-digit handicap and is “an avid golfer.” Since he retired from the NFL in 2013 following a 13-season career, he has had plenty of time to work on the details of his game. Urlacher has also worked with Fox Sports as a football analyst.

The likely future hall-of-famer will fit right into the ethos of “Driver vs. Driver.” The show will feature prospective golf equipment companies that present designs and concepts for new drivers. The participants will be evaluated and a winner will be selected to receive the $500,000 prize. Additionally, they’ll have the opportunity to sell their driver design at retail.

We can’t know much about the specifics of Urlacher’s game, but it’s a safe bet that he can pound the ball off the tee. In that regard, he offers a relevant opinion on drivers in addition to his obvious star power. Also, Urlacher’s amateur status will offset some of the more, for lack of a better word, professional insights on the panel.

After all, the other members include Kevin Streelman, former USGA Technical Director Frank Thomas and Wilson Golf President Time Clarke. Even host Melanie Collins, a CBS sideline reporter and formerly of Big Break, has experience in golf.

“When choosing the panel of judges, we knew we had to have a good mix of professionals that brought a relevant, yet different perspective to the process – from the everyday golfer, to the tour player to an industry expert,” Clarke said in the release. “I also wanted to play a role on the panel because it will be up to our team at Wilson to bring the club to consumers. We’re excited to work with these judges to bring an exciting infusion of innovation to the market.”

“I really love to play this game, and personally enjoy learning about new equipment. When Wilson offered me a position as a judge, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Urlacher also in the press release. “This is a side of golf I would have never been able to see, and it’s fascinating to see how equipment is developed first-hand. I’m thrilled to be part of the process of selecting an inventor to realize their dream of designing a club that will be sold across the country.”

It’s a unique approach to both golf and golf entertainment that we haven’t seen before. Check out “Morning Drive” on January 28th for a first-look preview.