In the contemporary golf world where Tiger Woods receives the lion's share of attention, cable television channels abound, and made-for-television golf events are presented on a regular basis, most people do not recall the television show that was the forefather of the modern golf small screen presentation. In the summer of 1960, Monroe Spaght, the president of Shell U.S.A, watched a television production of All-Star Golf, the first made-for-television golf program. The show featured 18-hole matches between some of the top American players of the era. Initially, the matches were filmed in the Chicago area, but soon other courses around the country became involved. While Spaght found promise in the idea of golf on television, he saw the potential for something far beyond a match between two participants. Capitalizing on the worldwide presence of Shell's parent company, Royal Dutch Shell, he envisioned matches that would be played on the great courses of the world by the greatest golfers in the world. Thus was born Shell's Wonderful World of Golf.
GENE SARAZEN AND SHELL'S WONDERFUL WORLD OF GOLF, by Al Barkow with Mary Ann Sarazen, is the story of the beginnings of a television event that continues to be presented today. For over 40 years, the greatest golfers in the world have traveled the globe for individual matches that are a combination of golf, travelogue and history. Perhaps more than any program, Shell's Wonderful World of Golf has impacted and shaped the golf that most of us watch on television today.
Shell officials were not well versed in the nuances and history of golf. They hired Herbert Warren Wind as the show's golf writer and consultant. Wind had already achieved recognition as a golf writer and historian. He had written for The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated and had coauthored with Ben Hogan the classic golf instruction book, FIVE LESSONS: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf. Wind was the man who would select golf courses around the world for match sites and could also suggest foreign golfers, many of whom were unknown in A