As she looks out over Chambers Bay, Shon Crewe, '97, imagines how this scenic golf course in University Place will come alive during the U.S. Open Championship in June.
Each day of this first-ever event-June 15-21-in the Pacific Northwest will bring a sold-out crowd of 40,000 spectators eager to watch world-class pro golfers. Crewe, co-host on ESPN's Northwest Golf Show, will be in the thick of the action, interviewing players, covering the ever-changing standings and possibly even getting in a round with a pro.
"This environment makes me happy," she says with a smile and a deep breath to take in the brisk breeze off Puget Sound. She revels in the drama that will unfold as trains chug past this rolling links-only course with a firm fescue turf-variables never encountered before at a U.S. Open.
For Crewe, the opportunity to cover this event has been a long time in the making. She spent many years focused on how to best advance the notion of golf commentary where experts would share golf news, talk with and about professional golfers, tournaments, courses, collegiate golf as well as recreational players.
"I also felt it was important to be intentional about coverage of female golfers and young players," she says.
Crewe auditioned for work in entertainment, joined a talent agency, modeled, acted in videos and commercials in addition to random odds and ends to put herself out there in the public eye. That tug of a dream to be a golf commentator stuck with her.
Chambers Bay: Quick Facts
#1 municipal course in the U.S (Links Magazine)
#1 public course in Washington state (Golf Digest)
Site of the 2010 U.S. Amateur Championship and now the Pacific Northwest’s first-ever U.S. Open
Par 72 walking-only public course
From 5,100 to 7,585 yards on fescue turf from tee to green
20 minutes west of downtown Tacoma, 60 minutes south of Seattle on the Puget Sound waterfront
Earned an Audubon Society award for managing and protecting water quality and wildlife habitat
Site selection involved many factors– quality of the course, transportation routes, a strong volunteer base, parking facilities and rave reviews from players and fans at the 2010 U.S. Amateur
A journalism and communications major, Crewe played varsity soccer at SU. No women's golf team existed at the time. Still, Crewe developed such a tenacious dedication to golf that she happily describes everything from the sport's etiquette to the fact that every time golf is played, circumstances change.
"Weather, course, swing-nothing is ever consistent," she says.
She imagined herself doing a TV golf show and began to create one.
"It was hard trying to host, write and produce it all," says Crewe. "Pulling it altogether was crazy, plus I still had to sell a pilot to a network.
"Right about then, the economy tanked and I said to myself, 'how can you talk about playing golf when people are losing their homes?' So I had to take a step back."
Then one day a golf friend suggested she might want to team up with Jim Moore, a veteran sports writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer now at Seattle's ESPN Radio for sports talk as part of the "Danny, Dave and Moore" program with former Seattle Times sports reporter Danny O'Neil and former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman.
Moore, an avid golfer himself, liked Crewe's ideas for golf talk radio. The two of them began with podcasts the first year. In the past couple of years, they've moved to live radio on 710 ESPN Seattle most Sunday mornings during golf season, March to September. Listen to Shon Crewe on the Northwest Golf Show.
"Shon's been great to work with," says Moore. "We both come to the radio business from different backgrounds so it's been fun to learn on the fly with her."
Crewe is a very good interviewer, according to her co-anchor, and has a good sense of humor, too.
Now in their fourth year, Moore and Crewe have cultivated quite a following not only locally, but also nationally and internationally.
"She has turned this whole golf thing into a Twitter following of more than 50,000 and she has come up with so many contacts that have led to all kinds of guests we've had on the show," says Moore.
Today, Crewe is one of only a few female golf show hosts in the country.
"If ever there was a time to devote myself 100 percent to golf, this would be that time."
Unequivocally, Crewe says, "Golf is no longer just Tiger Woods."
Janeen Driscoll, director of public relations for the U.S. Golf Association, says that's the mindset Crewe brings to golf, particularly for women.
"Shon is a rare find in the game of golf. Beyond her professional commitment to tell the game's great stories, she personally invests her time to draw others to the sport we love.
"Her ambassadorship for recreational golf has inspired a new generation of women to use the game for camaraderie, exercise, life balance and fun," says Driscoll. "…We need more like her."