With a history dating back to the 1930s, the Phoenix Open is one of pro golf’s most celebrated events and has hosted some of the biggest names in the game, including Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods.
Now known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the tournament is held at the renowned TPC Scottsdale (Arizona) golf course, custom designed for the tournament and best known for the 16th hole of its Stadium Course, often referred to as “the loudest hole in golf.” It’s 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 and a volunteer with the Phoenix Thunderbirds, a civic organization that has supported the Open throughout its history, has lent his audio skills to the event for close to a decade.
“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,” Eriksson explains. “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 sets of loudspeakers were utilized 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 further 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.”