With Schultz leading the charge, hole-in-one TV show set for a comeback
FARGO — A hole-in-one television golf show that was popular on Sunday nights from the 1960s to the late '80s is about to be resurrected. Lights. Camera. Action. And in this case, the lights literally will come on.
It's the brainchild of Maple River Golf Club general manager Dave Schultz, who is bringing back a show made popular by former KXJB sportscaster Jim Adelson. Only this time, Schultz wants to take it to another level, including installing lights on the par-3 ninth hole at Maple River.
"It's something that is going to be a lot of fun for the local golf community and something I think about every day," Schultz said. "It's going to be an absolute blast."
The show will be produced by WDAY-TV. It will be recorded in September and will air beginning next April on Sunday nights after the WDAY 10 p.m. newscast.
The project may turn Maple River's No. 9 into a showcase hole. A new tee box will be built 150 yards from the green, where golfers on the show will get two cracks at winning an automobile. Plans call for 10 poles with lights to be installed by Aug. 15.
Technically, it will be several steps up from Adelson's pioneer days of one camera behind the tee box and one behind the green. WDAY operations manager Stacey Anderson said the station plans on using multiple cameras, including drone footage, replays and Trackman technology that will show the flight path of the ball from tee to green.
"It will be the entire gamut," Anderson said.
Schultz will be the regular host with a variety of guest analysts along the way, including former Moorhead Country Club head pro Larry Murphy, who was Adelson's sidekick for many years. The format will be simple: Eight golf courses in the Fargo-Moorhead area will hold qualifiers that will send six golfers to each contest.
"Nothing but local flavor," Anderson said. "These are going to be the best of the best taking cracks at a free car. There's a lot of drama to that."
The drama will conclude with the winner in each of the first eight episodes squaring off in a championship bracket format.
"A big show under the lights," Schultz said.
Schultz is resigning his position as general manager at Maple River to give pro golf another shot, but will stay on as the head professional. The fact he's the energy behind the hole-in-one show carries a lineage of sorts in sports broadcasting.
His father, Ed Schultz, got into the business under the guidance of Adelson.
Ed Schultz passed away a year ago. Adelson died in 2016 at the age of 91. Two golfers won a car, the prize for a hole-in-one, during the time Adelson hosted the show.
"It was a dumb show, but everyone watched it," Adelson said in a 2014 Forum story. "People loved to see themselves on TV. It was a joy for me to host. We did a survey one time and found about half the viewing audience watched it on a weekly basis. That's crazy."
The popularity reached such a crazy pinnacle that Murphy — when he was refereeing high school hockey — would hear from players about it on the ice.
"I was dropping the puck and one of the players said, 'My grandma watches you on that hole-in-one show and she wouldn't miss it for the world,'" Murphy said Wednesday. "That told me right there that the viewing audience was huge."
Murphy said the crew would tape all of the shows over the course of two days. He said Adelson's personality made time fly by fast.
"First of all, there is nothing comparable than working with Jim Adelson," Murphy said. "It was fun, it was unpredictable, it was just a great time with Jim because he was passionate about that show. That was his baby."
Dave Schultz's baby will have a benevolent element to it with the leading point getter after the two tee shots getting a bonus putt on the green to raise money for the charity of the golfer's choice.
"The community is getting something out of this," Anderson said. "David put a lot of thought into how this can affect the community and how it can help the community. That's pretty forward thinking for somebody that is starting their own golf show."