Suzy Whaley, a PGA Master Professional who served as the first female president of the PGA of America, received the Walter Hagen Ambassador of the Game Award during last week’s PGA Championship.
The award celebrates a person who promotes the sport and its values to younger generations through teaching and guidance, which Whaley has executed for decades.
As part of her achievements, don’t forget she’s only a handful of women to play in a PGA TOUR event.
What’s Whaley up to nowadays?
She’s a go-to figure for appearances at corporate outings, delivering golf-oriented speeches and commentating on ESPN and Sirius XM Radio coverage of PGA TOUR events.
Notwithstanding, Whaley primary activity has her displaying business chops in a venture headed to become one of golf’s biggest breakthrough businesses.
In early 2022, she became President of the new Golf Nation that’s poised to be her greatest accomplishment yet. To set the stage, the new on-demand, streaming channel that sneak-peeked in December 2022 is best described as “Netflix Meets Home Shopping Network” for golf.
Golf Nation is the first and only producer of original golf-lifestyle shows with the ability for viewers to instantly purchase items via “buy bars” popping up while never leaving the screen. Blending premium entertainment, technology and shoppable video commerce is the ticket.
Whaley oversees the channel’s industry relations, brand involvement and show ideation.
“Watching golf tournaments on TV is exhilarating,” she says. “However, there are more than 37 million on- and on-course golfers across America, and a host of ‘golf curious’ people who are clamoring to watch shows about the golf lifestyle. This is the gap Golf Nation fills.”
Each commercial-free episode on Golf Nation is five to 30 minutes, and specials may be longer. Shows are free on www.golfnation.com and will soon be available via mobile app, Apple TV, Android, Fire TV, Roku and tens of millions of connected / smart TVs.
Sneak-peek original series’ episodes include “Ambush with David Feherty” and his hidden-camera hijinks; “Golf Unseen” that, in Season 1, goes on a journey to South Africa; “Tee Shots” where golfers drink, chat and take swings with famous mixologist Bill Binder; and “Watch Buy Play” highlighting the planet’s hottest golf products.
Whaley is on camera, too, hosting “Don’t I Know You?” based on the 1980s-1990s TV hit “The Newlywed Game.” The first episode features 2023 U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Zach and Kim Johnson.
More than 100 shows, with multiple seasons and episodes a la Netflix, are planned for Golf Nation to air through 2024.
Pointing to Golf Nation’s parent company, NBTV Channels and its NBTV Studios production arm, Whaley notes its success with the video-commerce format on Spirits Network. Countless products are sold inside “Cocktail History,” “Tales from the Cask,” “Sipping Point” and “Science of Spirits” and other show series.
In dissecting Spirits Networks’ audience, more than 60% of its viewers are enthusiastic about golf. Logically, Golf Nation, with an all-star investor, advisory board and leadership team, was born.
Whaley notes non-golf brands and endemics in the golf equipment, travel, fashion, technology, instruction, club lifestyle and fitness categories are coveting sponsorship of Golf Nation shows and its “buy bars” as a direct-sales mechanism.
“Golfers love their golf, the social aspects of the game and how it helps shape their lifestyles. That’s what Golf Nation is all about.”
It’s a safe bet Whaley will build Golf Nation to golf-lifestyle entertainment ubiquity.