Scottsdale, AZ – April 2014… With a history dating back to the 1930s, the Phoenix Open is one of pro golf’s most celebrated events. Now known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the tournament has hosted some of the biggest names in the game, from Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Ben Crenshaw to Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, and Tiger Woods.
In 1987, the Open moved to its current home at the world-renowned TPC Scottsdale golf course. The course was custom designed for the tournament and is best known for the 16th hole of its Stadium Course. It has often been referred to as “the loudest hole in golf”; during the tournament, its amphitheater-style seats are packed with crowds of exuberant fans and spectators who cheer and jeer loudly as the pros play through.
David Eriksson, CEO of Phoenix-based Church Technologies, is a volunteer with the Phoenix Thunderbirds, a prominent civic organization that has supported the Open throughout its storied history, raising millions of dollars for Phoenix-area charities. Eriksson, who has lent his audio skills to the event for close to a decade, explains the challenges behind the 16th hole.
“It’s always been a bit of a crazy event, and by the time the players get through to hole 16, they’re nearing the end of their game, and things are loosening up,” he observes. “But it’s still a regulation game, and the PGA has some pretty stringent regulations regarding noise. The challenge is to find just the right balance of being heard over the crowd without overpowering the game.”
Eriksson found the solution a few months before this year’s Open. “We did an event last December as part of the Shane and Shane tour, and I got to hear the new PreSonus® StudioLive™ AI loudspeakers,” he recalls. “I just loved the way they sounded, and I thought it would be great to try them out at the Open.”
Four systems were brought in to cover the 16th hole, each comprising three StudioLive 328AI Active Integration™ loudspeakers and a StudioLive 18sAI subwoofer. “We had one system in the Chairman’s Club, another in the bar area, and two more on the crowd,” says Eriksson. “The sound was just wonderful — the system had such amazing clarity.”
For next year’s Open, Eriksson plans on bringing in a StudioLive AI-series digital console, too, to take full advantage of Active Integration. “I’m really excited about being able to control the mix from an iPad,” he enthuses. “I can be down in the tee box and hear what the players are hearing. That’s an amazing advantage.”
“This is one of the biggest events in professional golf, and getting the sound right is a big part of it,” Eriksson concludes. “PreSonus has pretty much everything we need, from the console to the speakers, and it’s all fully integrated to work together. It’s a great fit.”