William K. WolfrumThis Week at TravelGolf.com: January 17, 2006

National Golf League looking
to turn up the volume ala the NFL

After watching the Pittsburgh Steelers hold off the Indianapolis Colts, 21-18, this past weekend in a mesmerizing AFC playoff game, it was again plainly clear that team sports will always trump their individual brethren.

In the United States, the NFL will always draw far more viewers than a golf tournament, and the rest of the world flocks much more quickly to soccer matches. Even in golf, the Ryder Cup Matches and President's Cup create excitement rarely seen during the vast majority of PGA Tour events.

It seems California businessman Bob Aube has seen this trend as well, and he's done something about it. By creating the National Golf League, Aube is attempting to put together a golf tour where individual excellence will match up with the excitement of team sports.

Billing his creation "a new kind of golf," Aube kicked off the NGL last fall with a launch in Northern California. "Many talented golfers dream to play competitively, but only a handful make it each year on the tours," he told the Scripps Howard News Service. "This league would be good for the game, for professional golfers and, especially, for the ever-growing fan base.

It took Aube just seven weeks to sell the original six franchises (at $18,000 a pop). The teams, consisting of up to six players drawn from the ranks of Northern California pros, gifted amateurs and a few veterans of smaller tours, compete in 36-hole matches, with every nine holes dedicated to alternate shot, best ball and scramble.

Aube aims to give fans a memorable and decidedly nontraditional experience.

"At normal golf tournaments there are people standing around with signs that say Quiet. We'll have people holding signs that say Cheer," Aube said. "This league is geared toward fans coming out and having a good time."

Aube is looking to expand the NGL, with new divisions in Southern California and Arizona. New franchises are selling for $30,000, which includes stock in the league.

Like Mack Daddy Caddy, Aube is looking to generate excitement among a new breed of golf fans. While this tour will likely never aspire to go head-to-head with the PGA Tour, the excitement that team competition creates just can't be overlooked. So, hats off to Bob Aube for an idea that's time has come.

As always, TravelGolf.com welcomes your comments.



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