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Golf Channel Completes HD Transition, Jan. 4

Golfers en masse may be a bit down over the sudden and rapid (albeit temporary) departure of megastar Tiger Woods from the pro tour, but they'll still have something to cheer about in the first week of the New Year. And it happens on a Monday, no less.

When "Golf Central" airs for the first time in 2010 on Jan. 4, the Golf Channel show will premiere a new HD-centric set. At the same time, the channel will launch its complete HD production capabilities for all its studio programming.

The Golf Channel said its "new-look" studios in Orlando, Fla., will signify a complete overhaul of the channel's previously more conservative approach—to feature "high-tech elements and contemporary stylings" in the HD era. The new sets will reside in an overall 4,700-square-foot facility that now will include four separate show "environments."

Typically, the sports venue will throw in new HD-friendly graphics and music to accompany the new sets and 16:9 aspect ratio. The Golf Channel says it currently passes more than 80 million American dwellings via cable and DBS.

Live golf coverage is served well by HD's high-quality images, as anyone who has ever tried to follow that tiny white ball on a tee shot to the green in the analog world can attest.