#28: Full Swing
aka How The BBC and Jimmy Tarbuck Killed Golf

BBC: (May 1997-July 1997)

I enjoy the sport of golf.  Whether it's just hanging around with some friends on a 9 hole course, just shooting the breeze and the balls into the water, the trees or the course managers 1998 Ford Taurus.  Or sometimes it's just to the driving range, trying to hit the long ball or the person that's picking up all the loose balls.  Or maybe it's just watching Tiger Woods missing the cut at Quail Hollow, laughing all the while.  It's a great sport.  Sure it can get boring at times, but that's all part of the game.  But the BBC decided, "Hey, let's take this popular sport, confine it to a TV studio and get an annoying prat to host the show."  Thus, the viewing public were treated to the triple bogey of game shows that was Full Swing.

Before I do anything, I gotta talk about the host.  Seeing the gap in the teeth that Phil Mickelson can chip through means that it's the one and thankfully only, Jimmy Tarbuck.  Here is the supposed funnyman on the buggy making jokes about his buggy going up to 45 where he lives at 74.  Lame joke telling.  He then continued to make jokes about the BBC and a supposed game show involved MP's called "Prats Win Prizes."  Then he makes cheap jokes about two superior hosts in Bruce Forsyth and Michael Parkinson.  If you have to sink that low to get laughs, then that's just sad.  It doesn't get much better when his main hosting style is chiding the contestants that don't do well.  I mean, the insults that he comes up with are really pathetic too, but more on that later. 

He then chats with the contestants and then the celebrity golfers that help out the contestants as well.  More Tarbuckisms apply here as he tries desperately to be funny and ends up in the sand trap instead.  This wouldn't be so bad, but it just drags on and on.  It took Tarbuck 6 or so minutes to introduce the contestants and 4 of those 6 was telling horrific jokes.  Stuff so bad that it would get the QI Siren if Stephen Fry had any say in the matter.  But then he announces it's time to actually play Full Swing and the first round entitled "Three For the Tee"

Yes, with really cheap graphic and Tee-esque effect.  Already it seems cheesy and a bore to watch, and we haven't even gotten to the actual game yet.

The first round has the celebrity Golfers playing the hole on one of those virtual reality golf simulators that people see at most Golf Pro Shops or at the mall when they are trying to sell people some new clubs.  So, already we're not getting Golf, we're getting Virtual Reality Golf.  It's kinda cheap, but then again, I doubt a full golf course would be able to stand Jimmy Tarbuck's jokes or mannerisms or anything like that.  So, they're stuck with this.  The object is to try to get as close to the pin as you can get.  The two closest teams move on to the next round.  In order to do this, the celebrities take one shot and hopefully avoid any bunkers or water hazards or hitting it out of bounds in certain cases. 

After that one shot, Tarbuck asks the mild mannered contestants to pick an envelope.  In the envelopes contain 2 general knowledge questions.  Each correct answer moves the ball up about 45-55 yards.  However, if the celebrity knocked it in the water or out of bounds, the first correct answer gets them out of said hazard.  So, it's not too terribly bad, it's just boring.  Plus, it doesn't help that Tarby decides to crack wise every now and then, especially when one of the contestants admitted that he was a Manchester United fan.  Afterwards, the celebs take one last shot to try to get close to the pin and they get the final distance from their ball to the pin.  The team that wound up in third was eliminated and then played Crazy Consolation.

Yay, more crappy title screens.  Oh, and want to know why it's crazy, just look at how crazy the word Crazy looks.  If I want to see crazy, I'll watch an episode of Fun House.

Man did Pat Sharp have some great hair back in the day.

But back to Mr. Gap Tooth and his Friends.  The Crazy Consolation is the contestant putting a ball from a range that a 4 year old could make and if he makes it, he gets 150 pounds.  I'm not stewing over this, but it's cool that 3rd place gets something worthwhile.  I mean, it could be worse.  He could have been given a golf bag that had Full Swing on it and a set of Full Swing balls, which is what some other shows would have done.  Anyways, next up is Fairway or Foul...

....still with a crappy title screen & cheesy pun.

In this round the contestant actually gets to play golf.  Well, putt-putt golf, but golf nevertheless.  This round starts off with a contestant being asked a true false question.  If the contestant is right, then the celebrity can chip to what they called the Hazard Green, which is filled with stuff that you might see in a golf course, like ponds, bunkers & Bunny holes...bunny holes?

"If we poured boiling water down there, we'd have Hot Cross Bunnies!"

Thank you High.

Oh, I forgot one other thing.  The hole only counts if it's lit up.  If it's not lit, the ball will come flying out with a humorous noise as well.  Well, humorous is a stretch.  Another thing is that if the celebrity chips it into a hazard, the contestant must answer a visual question, which usually is which one out of these 3 isn't a brother or which one had a single in the 80s or something like that.  They had to do all of this in 90 seconds.  The team that completed the game with the most amount of time remaining won.  The other team got to take part in another form of Crazy Consolation entitled Celebrity Consolation...and if you're expecting something different...

Nope.  Except they replaced Crazy for a fancy Celebrity. 

In this segment, the celebrity putts the ball from the top of the stage in the hopes of getting a hole in one.  If they do, it's 500 pounds, which  is a good consolation prize.  The further away the ball is to the hole, the less consolation the contestant gets.  While this might seem ok, it really is not.  At least the first consolation game was done by the contestant.  In this case, the celebrity can get the contestant less than what the person in third place got, or the same amount, depending on the putt.  The third place contestant could get 150 quid, whereas a bad putt by the celebrity can only net the second place contestant 100 quid.  I mean, where is the logic in that?  In normal golf, 2nd place always gets paid more than third place, no matter how bad they screw up the 18th hole.  After all that, it's time for one more crappy graphic and the Final Green.

There's the crappy graphic.  And thankfully it's the last one.

The Final Green is made up of 2 parts.  The first part has Tarbuck asking the contestant 4 general knowledge questions.  Each correct answer gives her celebrity 10 seconds to complete their end of the bonus round.  So, it's harmless.  Then the contestant pulls a golf ball out of a hopper named Archie.  Don't do it Tarby, don't do it.

"It's got a load of balls, that's why it's called Archie."

You'll get paid extra, High.  Thank you.

The balls are numbered 10-60.  That equates to how many additional seconds will be added to the celebrities time.  And what does the celebrity have to do?

The celebrity has to try to putt 10 balls into the hole, each one longer than the last, in the amount of time earned.  Each hole is worth 100 quid.  If the celebrity gets all 10 in the hole, the celebrity wins 1.000 pounds for his charity & the contestant wins a dream vacation, or so I'm told.  So, it's a pretty interesting concept for an end game in theory.  Unfortunately though, you could get stuck with a celebrity who can't putt for crap, and still you could end up with less than what the 2nd place can earn.  The payouts on this show aren't really that cohesive.  The payouts need to be more streamlined, or better yet, give 2nd place something like a half-set of Golf Clubs, like some woods or something to that effect.  Third Place can get something golf related such as golfing lessons or maybe a golfing wardrobe.  First place can go for the cash & the trip.  Thankfully, that's the end of the show.

The concept isn't that bad.  That I will grant them, however the execution here is really lackluster.  I mean, when I want to see golf, I will turn on CBS or ESPN to see golf.  However, it doesn't translate well to a game show format.  What makes this even more disheartening is that the same production company that did this show, also created the hugely popular UK billiards game show, Big Break.  But when it comes to Full Swing, they did almost everything wrong in the first 18 or so minutes.  It's also not helped when Jimmy Tarbuck would rather crack horrific jokes than host the show the way it should be hosted.  Plus, he's too loud for a golf show.  You need someone with a mellow voice to do this sort of show, who actually would rather try to get the show over than his own lame brand of comedy..  Unfortunately, no UK name comes to me at this point.  Either way, it didn't become that big of a hit with viewers and only lasted 1 series.  I guess they were bored with Tarbuck's humor and the show as I was.

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