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NBC Sports teams up with McIlroy for new golf venture

The NBC Sports division of US media company NBCUniversal has joined forces with golf star Rory McIlroy to launch what it claims is a first-of-its-kind, direct-to-consumer subscription program.

GolfPass launches today (Tuesday) in the US and is the product of two years of development and collaboration between Rory McIlroy Inc., the entity which owns and manages the Northern Irishman’s global commercial and image rights, and NBC Sports.

McIlroy, a four-time major winner, will serve as founder of GolfPass, with the platform spanning the five core pillars of Play, Learn, Watch, Travel and Shop. A GolfPass membership will cost $9.99 (€8.74) per month or $99 per year. NBC Sports said memberships tailored for the UK, Ireland and Australia will launch in the coming months.

McIlroy will start sporting the GolfPass logo on his golf bag at next week’s Genesis Open. Additionally, the current world number nine’s contributions include co-hosting an exclusive GolfPass podcast with television host, radio personality and producer Carson Daly, as well as kicking off four GolfPass Originals and continually providing exclusive content.

He said: “Arnold Palmer showed tremendous vision when founding Golf Channel in 1995 and it now stands as a significant part of his legacy. I have the utmost respect for the impact he made on the game and I will carry that spirit forward by helping to lead our sport into its digital future with GolfPass.”

GolfPass will showcase a video library totalling more than 1,000 hours this year, including original programming and Golf Channel’s video archive. At launch, GolfPass members will have access to more than 4,000 on-demand instruction videos featuring many of the world’s elite coaches, including Sean Foley (Justin Rose) and Cameron McCormick (Jordan Spieth), as well as McIlroy’s coach, Michael Bannon, with their GolfPass Original series, Lessons with a Champion Golfer.

Under the ‘Play’ banner, GolfPass members will receive a free round of golf each month, good at a choice of 7,000 GolfNow partner golf courses in 26 countries around the world, including Royal Portrush Golf Club, site of The Open this year in Northern Ireland, and top resorts like Harbour Town at Sea Pines Resort, TPC Deere Run, home of the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic, or Pasatiempo Golf Club.

GolfPass members will receive unlimited $100 travel credits at a selection of top resorts, including Sea Island in Georgia, The Biltmore in Miami and Bali Hai Golf Club in Las Vegas. Under the ‘Shop’ banner, annual members will receive a free dozen TaylorMade golf balls, with the equipment manufacturer signing on as an Official Partner of the service.

GolfPass members can also shop more than 45 brands and take advantage of exclusive member pricing on clubs, apparel, accessories, digital instructional tools and training aids – including free shipping.

Mike McCarley, president of golf at NBC Sports, said: “GolfPass is designed to make golf more accessible and fun using NBC Sports’ portfolio of golf tech and services that help better connect golfers to the sport.

“Whether it’s video instruction from the best coaches in the world or enhancing the golf experience on and off the course, GolfPass adds tremendous value for golfers.”