ALL OF THE BRAWL
The Fire Pit goes all-in on immersive coverage of the 2021 Wishbone Brawl
What happens when one of the coolest golf gatherings of the year takes place in your backyard? Here at the Fire Pit Collective, we felt an obligation to blow it out. With the fourth annual Wishbone Brawl being played at Goat Hill Park, just five minutes from the FPC offices in Oceanside, Cal., a low-key exhibition became a chance for high-tech experimentation. Could a scrappy upstart media company livestream 18 holes across a hilly golf course teeming with fans? With all four competitors and their caddies mic’d up? It was a big ask but we gave it our best shot, aided immensely by the talented folks at KuenyPearson Content Firm, who have the office space next door to the FPC on the second floor of the Linksoul Lab. “Sharing stories live and bringing people together is the future of sports programming,” says Blake Kueny, an accomplished commercial director. “The point is not to try to compete with ESPN or Golf Channel—this is about bringing access to events and spaces that never before could go live. It’s important for building these tight-knit communities.”
Ten days of planning went into the broadcast, including a jittery dry-run the day before. When the Brawl began, Fire Pit staffers Alex Upegui, Colt Knedler, Aaron Adkins, Patrick Koenig and Jake Muldowney swarmed the Goat, along with two additional cameramen and a sound technician we contracted. We employed five full-frame cinema cameras to capture all the action, plus a hovering drone for scenics. We built a “Mobile Goatcast Delivery Unit,” which was a golf cart packed with technical gear (and much-needed snacks). Our Matt Ginella presided as master of ceremonies, offering play-by-play and timely interviews. The result is a multi-media feast for golf fans. If you want to see every shot and hear every quip, click below for the nearly three-hour broadcast, which was painstakingly produced by Knedler:
When the golf ended we just kept going, putting together a Fire Pit Podcast that features reactions and reflections from all four competitors, their caddies, Goat Hill patriarch John Ashworth and several other voices of those who were on hand for the Brawl:
There is even more fun to be had for the Wishbone completist, as each of the screencaps below takes you inside different aspects of the Brawl, including an epic ace and the story behind all of those lovely aerial shots on the broadcast. Alan Shipnuck also wrote a game story shortly after the match ended which you can read here, capturing the feeling on the ground and the wonderment of watching modern golfers wield persimmon. Thanks for being part of this experiment along with us. There is lots more to come.
If three hours is a little too much Wishbone Brawl for you, we have condensed all the best moments into this 5-minute highlight reel.
Xander Schauffele is the most down-to-earth of stars but he couldn’t resist breaking out his Olympic medal on the Goat Hill driving range, leading to a golden moment for this humble muni.
From the purity of the strike to the tantalizing trickle toward the hole to the madcap celebration on the tee box, relive the energy and excitement of Dean Wilson’s hole-in-one.