After last week’s opinion piece on what it was like to watch my friend win the British Open, I decided a unique local tale about watching golf on TV.
Way back when in 1987, Dennis Kunce (someone who’s now a good friend of mine) started a company called Sure Shot Transmissions. Fast forward just 25 years later and there’s a good chance that the next time you watch a PGA Tour event, Sure Shot has something to do with it.
Denny started his company in 1987 as a satellite transmission company (picture the trucks lined up at live events with the big antennas and satellites on the roof). As his business grew, Denny bought more trucks, and eventually, by the mid ’90s, had grown his company to include both transmission and production capabilities (picture the big trucks with all the TVs and controls in them where the important guys with headphones sit). It was around this time that Sure Shot started doing work with the PGA of America and PGA Tour productions.
Continue moving forward and today you’ll find Sure Shot has more than 20 employees, 11 trucks (with a 12th on the way) and contracts with the Tour to work over 25 PGA events a year. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg really.
Over the years, Sure Shot has worked with some of the biggest companies in sports — ESPN, Sports Time Ohio (STO), Major League Baseball (World Series), NFL (Super Bowl), Olympics, Fox Sports and the Big Ten Network. And just recently, Denny expanded his business to the West Coast and will start working with the new Pac-12 this fall.
Not bad for a company from New Middletown.
This weekend, I was lucky enough to get to experience the Sure Shot experience.
The Lake Club held its annual Member-Guest Tournament. In addition to being one of the most well-run events anywhere, Ed Muransky (owner), Mike Ferranti (head professional) and their teams continue to amaze us participants with the “additional experiences” they come up with each year. And this year was no exception.
All of the participants in the tournament were treated to a real PGA Tour television experience. Sure Shot provided the truck, six cameras. They helped erect a “set” complete with guest hosts Jerry McGee, Dana Balash and Dennis Miller. They brought in the help of Sports Time Ohio’s Steve Warren to run the truck and provided all of the equipment and staff needed to broadcast each of the more than 100 players playing the 9th hole for two full days.
Players were interviewed. Cameras followed us. The guest hosts were critiquing us. It was awesome. And whether we hit the green or dunked it in the water, we all had the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” and check out the Natalie Michelle before it heads to Akron for The Bridgestone tournament next weekend.
Denny named his three largest trucks after his three daughters; in ascending ages, Natalie Michelle, Abbey Elizabeth and Kelsey Marie. The newest truck, Cynthia Lee, is named for his wife.
From a golfer’s standpoint, it was a little nerve-racking. But from a fan’s perspective, it was truly an awesome experience.
To conclude, and I’m sure I speak for all of the participants from the tournament this weekend, I just want to say thank you to Dennis and Sure Shot for providing an experience we’ll always remember.
Also, this article just wouldn’t be complete without thanking all of the guys who made this weekend’s experience possible; Ed Muransky, Chris Samartino, Joe LaRocca, Michael Ferranti, Chris Bellino, Don Confoey, Chris Brown, Jerry McGee, Dana Balash, Dennis Miller and all of the staff members behind the scenes at The Lake Club … Thank you so much for another amazing member-guest weekend. You guys never fail to impress.
As always, thanks for reading.
Until next week, “Hit ’em Straight.”
Jonah Karzmer is a former player at YSU and a member at The Lake Club. He works in insurance when not writing a golf column every Sunday in The Vindicator. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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