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2017 U.S. Open Preview

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Photos: www.erinhills.com

Like Chambers Bay in 2015, Erin Hills is a first-time U.S. Open venue and a relative unknown to the pros as it has little tournament history. It hosted a U.S. Amateur in 2011 as a preparation for the Open.

The heavily bunkered, tree-less course, which opened in 2006, by description sounds comparable to Oakmont, last year’s U.S. Open venue, where Dustin Johnson’s length and short-game prowess powered him to a break through major championship.

That win catapulted Johnson to the most dominant stretch of his career and the world No. 1 ranking. That momentum was stalled at the Masters after a freak fall caused him to withdraw with a back injury. Can he return to form on a course that will play to his strengths – namely length? Or will another big bomber raise the trophy?

On Thurs., we start to find out. Here’s a look at the leading storylines heading into the first U.S. Open ever in the state of Wisconsin.

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The Unknown – The knowns are these: the rough is thick and the course in long, because that’s what a traditional U.S. Open set up is. But practically everything else about the longest course in U.S. Open history (7,741 yards) remains a mystery.

The pros will be using their practice rounds to get used to the new layout and particularly its treacherous bunkers, of which there are three types, the nuances of its rolling terrain and the sight lines for a number of blind semi-blind approaches.

The course is such an unknown that ESPN golf analyst Andy North, a Wisconsin native, gave a 30-shot range for predicting the winning score.

“We really don’t know if it’s going to be closer to 15-over or 15-under,” he said.

Of note: the last major played in Wisconsin, the 2015 PGA at Whistling Straits, saw Jason Day post a major championship scoring record of 20-under.

Will someone solve Erin Hills and go on a similar birdie binge or will it be a week that sees a barrage of bogeys? We seem to have a true wildcard course on our hands, but there’s no such mystery about the favorite: It’s Dustin Johnson.

A Double For D.J.? – There hasn’t been repeat champion at the U.S Open since Curtis Strange defended in 1989. Will the 117th Open see Johnson snap that streak?

The fairways are reportedly twice as wide as the ones Johnson dominated at Oakmont a year, so the set-up is friendly to his prodigious length, but it’s his improved wedge and short game that has really been the game changer for his 2017 dominance.

Johnson, however, hasn’t seemed to have quite the same sharpness since returning to competition after the Masters. He missed the cut at his last event (the Memorial), but some analysts viewed that as a blessing in disguise because it allowed him to get a head start on his Open preparation.

We’ll soon see if that extra preparation pays off and Johnson can reclaim the dominating form he had going into the Masters, before which he had reeled off three straight victories.

If D.J. is right, are you betting against him? His putting has improved as well this year and he’s part of a Tour trend.

Rory TM putter

Photo: Golf Digest

How They Roll – Rory McIlroy is the latest to add a mallet putter to his bag in a last-minute equipment change this week. The mallet is becoming the preferred style on Tour. Putting is always key, but a hot putter could really get on a roll this week due to the impeccable course conditions.

Erin Hills has been closed since October to ensure premium conditions for the Open, especially on the greens, which, unlike Chambers Bay, are yielding compliments from the pros. The pros who figures out the greens the fastest could gain an early edge. Martin Kaymer solved Pinehurst once by putting from off the greens.

Who will wield the magic wand this week that will lead to victory this week? Will it be a past major winner or a championship newcomer like it has been in the previous six majors?

Break On Through, Take 7? – Sergio Garcia’s win at the Masters pushed the streak of first-time major winners to six. Can another first-timer get hot and continue the streak? Rickie Fowler? John Rahm? Justin Thomas?

Understandably, the Tour’s top bombers dominate the list of favorites. Will one of them prevail if D.J. can’t recapture his A game? If bogeys abound, it could turn into a real scramble (think British Open) and the bounces could favor another first-timer. But if U.S. Open experience prevails …

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Can recent history repeat? – Before D.J., the previous three U.S. Open winners were Jordan Spieth, Martin Kaymer, Justin Rose. Rory McIlroy is also a past champion and the holder of the Open scoring record, 16-under in 2011.

Rose is on something akin to a major hot streak of his own. He finished runner-up to Garcia at Augusta and previously won the gold medal in the Rio Olympics playing under course conditions that sound a bit similar to what he’ll be facing this week at Erin Hills. GolfWeek actually has Rose listed as its No. 2 pick behind D.J. and ahead of Jason Day to raise the trophy this week (that’s a TaylorMade trio, by the way) and then rounds out its top five with Spieth and McIlroy.

Will one of the favorites prevail or will we major-victory rookies resume their rise at the majors? We’ll start to get some clues when the major fun begins on Thurs.

US Open trophy

19th Hole Media: Why You Need Facebook AND Instagram To Promote Your Golf Course On Social Media

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With Facebook knocking on the door of 2 BILLION users, most golf courses have figured out they need to have presence there. Meanwhile, Instagram, which is growing faster than Facebook and is now twice the size of Twitter, remains the most neglected social network for reasons that frankly confound and frustrate me.

You need to incorporate BOTH into your social media strategy or you risk missing out on as much as half of your golf audience if not more depending your golf course’s demographics.

In this post, we’ll delve into why a multi-channel strategy is a necessity in today’s social media marketing environment and breakdown the differences between the two and how they can complement each other to give you more complete coverage and reach with your golf audience.

When I pivoted my career toward social media marketing in golf four years ago, the refrain I heard from courses about Facebook was, “Our audience isn’t on there,” largely meaning older golfers don’t use social media. Can you possibly imagine someone saying that today? Well, they are, but now they’re talking about Instagram. Déjà vu, anyone?

There are several differences between the two channels, but the one you need to recognize first and foremost is audience. Most people seem aware Facebook is by far the dominant social channel in a Wal-Mart/NFL/Starbucks sort of way, but what few realize is its fastest growing demographic: Baby boomers. You know them. They’re the generation that largely is still paying the bills for the golf industry.

The generation that is lagging in taking up the game and causing consternation in the industry is millennials. Guess what their preferred network is? Instagram. But when you tell course GMs/marketers, they need to be on Instagram, they’ll give the same audience answer they were giving about Facebook four years ago. Anyone else detect a chicken and egg scenario here?

I largely caution against audience generalizations, but that’s the simple audience assessment of the two channels though Gen X (my generation) is equally prevalent on Instagram as are some boomers, some of whom I know to be quite active and effective on the network.

I have a hunch some Boomer GM’s confuse Instagram with Snapchat, which is mostly for teens and those in their early 20s and has yet to establish itself as a truly business factor. (In fact, a recent study found it to have the worst ROI of all the social media channels.) Such is not the case with Facebook and Instagram, both of whom are quite effective in a business environment when managed and leveraged properly.

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Two things dictate which channel to use. We’ve talked about audience. The other is content. Some content is simply much more effective on one channel than the other and it’s important to know why.

Facebook is better for longer-format videos, especially since it changed its algorithm to favor video, and written pieces, such as blog posts, whereas Instagram is almost strictly for photos and short-form video (a minute or less). The goal of all social media content is for it to be shareable amongst your friends and following and knowing where to send certain contain will improve your chances.

You can get engagement on Instagram, but that’s more the domain of Facebook, where you’re far more likely to get a discussion going about, say, how to play a certain hole at your course. On Instagram, you’d be more likely to show video for someone playing the hole or a panoramic and hoping it accrues likes and shares.

The apps for both are fairly easy to use, but the filters and other features on Instagram make it especially easy to upload quality photos and videos and thus make it my preferred app. for golf. Rather than encouraging dialogue, you more want to encourage your golfers to share photos and videos from their round that you can like or comment on, or, through an app. called Repost, you can repost on your account, which is the ultimate social media complement. And the more content you repost, the more you’ll encourage your golfers and followers to participate. You can also pull in content from other sources, such as golf instructors, to build your gallery and following.

Where Facebook can help is that you can encourage your followers there to follow you on Instagram and encourage the sharing of photos and videos. This is cross-channel promotion that can help grow your audience on BOTH channels. And when you’ve got golfers following you on multiple social media channels, that’s online loyalty, my friends. That means you’ve got an interested and engaged golfer who WILL come practice and play at your course, unless rate, distance, etc. is a factor.

You can also use Instagram to bolster your Facebook following, and I’ll use a project I did with Arroyo Trabuco this year as an example. I interviewed Arroyo Head Pro Michael Block about playing in the Tour stop at Riviera CC in LA last Feb. ahead of the event. I hosted the three videos, which were 90 seconds or more, on Facebook and then used photo of Michael and the course to cross promote the Facebook videos on Instagram. All three videos performed great and generated a steady stream of supportive comments, exactly the type of engagement I was looking for.

By using this cross-promotion strategy, the course Instagram accounts I’ve overseen can now be run almost entirely on user-generated content, but obviously I still incorporate organic content as it suits the course’s social media marketing needs.

If you aren’t on Instagram, you’re not only missing this engagement opportunity, much worse, millennials might not be even be aware you exist. They have become notorious for looking up businesses online before making purchasing decisions. When they look you up, what will they find? Will they feel welcome? Are you prepared to engage them and even entertain them?

By the way, another word for millennials is young professionals, who are showing a renewed interest in country clubs for entertaining clients and hosting business events. If your club isn’t present on Instagram, you risk missing out on this audience and opportunity. How’s that for a social media reality check?

So if your course is still saying no Instagram (and why would you?), you are now fully aware of what you’re missing out on and you’re likely leaving a social media door open for your competition.

But if you’re ready to club up on your social media and get your game to better than par, contact 19th Hole Media. This is what we do and the strategy that we believe serves our clients best now and going forward. Who’s ready to have a conversation?

No. 1

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Memorial Day Preview: California Classic Home Coming To Market Soon In Point Loma. See It Here First!

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The blog is turning over a bit of a new leaf and dabbling in real estate this Memorial Day weekend to offer this preview of a California classic home coming to market soon as a FSBO.

This spacious four-bed, 3.5-bath home with a pool offers spectacular views of downtown and the Coronado Bridge from its unique hilltop location. The curb appeal of this home extends far into the San Diego horizon. We promise the first look will wow you.

Once you get inside, you’ll find an inviting home that provides two stories of generous and versatile living spaces. It is complemented by two side yards, including an exquisite main backyard with a pool and impeccable landscaping that creates a lush, secluded sanctuary to enjoy our sensational San Diego weather.

Built in 1938, this 3,621-foot structure has recently been updated with solar panels and includes a garage and a pool house.

To view this property, please contact Christi at 858.270.0860. If you’re home shopping this holiday week, this is one to put on your list. The views will amaze and the home will delight. Could this home be the right fit for you?

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May Southland

Southland: Drought-Busting Winter Rains A Boon For SoCal Golf

May Southland

You can find the digital version of the story at Southland’s site here.

The winter rains may have been a wet blanket for tee sheets to start 2017 in Southern California, but the weather windfall since is the end of the drought and summer-quality course conditions months early.

The lush landscapes golfers are enjoying are helping courses recover from the drought, and the wet winter, in more ways than just through increased rounds.

Torrey Pines Golf Operations Director Mark Marney said the course scored a fiscal birdie in Feb. via a water savings of $75,000.

“It’s definitely going to help us from a budget standpoint,” Marney said. “But overall the rains have been really beneficial. The course is looking much crisper than it normally would at this time of year.”

Other course general managers across Southern California are echoing similar sentiments, saying spring course conditions are the best they’ve seen in years if not unprecedented.

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Arroyo Trabuco

At Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo not only the course but the surrounding hillsides are so green one could almost confuse Orange County with Ireland. Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club Director of Golf Geoff Cram said the verdant coincidence is uncommon but very welcome.

“It never got cool this winter so our turf never really went dormant,” Cram said. “And then you had fresh water on top of it, so it’s incredibly green. Usually our turf ramps up slowly, but here it is the middle of March and it looks like the end of May.”

Colin Radchenko, General Manager at Steele Canyon Golf Club in Jamul, is witnessing similar surrounds at his course and is amazed by what he sees at courses throughout the county.

“It’s amazing what the water has done not just for us but for every golf course throughout San Diego,” he said. “It’s incredible, and our golfers are loving it.”

Radchenko reports strong play this spring after a winter that was solid as well despite the heavy rain events.

But the best news of all, of course, is that what’s largely regarded as the wettest winter in Southern California since 1983-84 busted the drought. Mike Huck, a water management in San Juan Capistrano who monitors usage by the state’s course, said he never expected a seven-year deficit to be caught up in one wet winter wallop, but it’s blessing that it did, especially for golf courses.

It’s assumed the state will lift some water restrictions of previous years, and if so, courses are indeed looking at a big boost to their budget for one of their largest expenses, Huck said. Various common sense restrictions will remain in place and become permanent such as bans on hosing off sidewalks, washing cars without a positive shutoff hose nozzle and irrigating narrow street medians with pop-up sprinklers.

“There’s probably a 10 percent savings or so that they can look forward to,” he said. “Courses may be able to prolong their savings when they begin heavily irrigating this spring due to the deeply wetted soils.”

There could be an additional savings through continued smart management practices that were born of the drought. While the drought was a painful maintenance circumstance, Huck said Southern California superintendents might now be better resource managers because of it.

“They learned they can live on a little less water than they had in the past and still have acceptable course conditions,” he said. “It forced them into using less, but it might not be a bad thing that it changed their approach a little bit.”

Some practices born of the drought, such as painting fairways and driving ranges, Huck expects to now be common practice regardless of future rains.

“I don’t think you’ll see people over seeding like you did in the past,” he said, “and that’s definitely a good thing.

“During the drought, they made great use of paints and dyes that helped them save on water. And it gives the course just enough color to keep it looking good. There’s no reason that shouldn’t continue.”

The upsides to the end of the drought are obvious for courses, but for some it came at a price. The sometimes severe storms of 2017 took down trees at some courses and caused other on-course damage through localized events, such as flooding.

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Torrey North

Marney said course officials at Torrey in particular were holding their breath during storms after a re-designed North Course was still taking hold. It re-opened in Nov. and hosted the Farmers Insurance Open in Jan. Marney said Torrey’s courses mostly weathered the storms, but on occasion grounds crews were sent racing.

“We had some drains on the North that still need to be touched up and fixed, but it was a good test, and it passed,” he said.

Marney in particular noted the bunker maintenance disparity between the North and South Courses in preparation for the Farmers during the rains.

“It would take us two or three days to get the bunkers on the South back in play and on the North, we had no issues at all,” he said. “So in that respect, re-doing the North course really paid off in terms of reduction of time it took to get the course playable again.”

While Torrey was working feverishly last summer to get the project completed, it was also battling an infestation of bark beetles that were threatening its precious Torrey Pines. The lack of rains had sapped of the trees of their natural defense – sap – and the beetles were at one point killing four or five trees a month before Torrey’s maintenance crew introduced better methods to help the trees cope.

The beetles are always around, but Marney said the drought gave them the edge they needed to do great damage.

“You’d see a few trees in severe decline and then they’d quickly move onto another tree,” he said. “It was just moving much faster than it had in the past.”

Thanks to maintenance assist and the return of the rains, however, Marney said the remaining Torreys are recovering and the beetles are at bay for now.

“We’ve learned more and we’re in a different climate condition,” he said. “Both things are helping us out on this one.”

Huck said a handful of other courses faced beetles issues but for most the common fight is the toll years of continuous drought have taken on their trees, many of which Huck says won’t recover.

“Even with the rains, some of them are so far gone that they probably won’t come back,” he said. “It just depends how far into the cycle of death they are at this point.

“When you go through a dry spell like that, it puts real pressure on the trees.”

California’s groundwater reserves have been similarly stressed, which Huck said will be a decade-long recovery process because gains accrue so slowly. But he notes that, for some courses, the droughts did bring previously dry wells back into use.

One of other maintenance practices several courses in SoCal turned to during the drought was turf reduction. They removed turf to make the course more sustainable and replaced the turf with drought-tolerant plants.

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Steele Canyon

Steele Canyon was one course that made a unique use of the reduced area by planting grapevines and establishing vineyards. This spring marks year two of the project and Radchenko is pleased to report buds forming on the still nearly virgin vines.

“It hasn’t really been warm yet, but when it heats up, we expect them to really take off,” he said. “But the water started things popping in the spring and definitely gave them a boost.”

The vines won’t produce a wine-grade grape until next year, but they did produce sporadic fruit a year ago that Radchenko hopes will be followed by lots of rain-fueled bunches and clusters this year.

“We won’t have our first real harvest until 2018, but it’s still great to see,” he said.

The drought ending is a happy ending for courses and hopefully the dawn of a new fruitful year after being hampered by a lack of water, and high water costs, for much of the decade.

The return of business as usual is certainly welcome by staffs at all California courses and Radchenko said golfers are celebrating it as well.

“Our rounds up and people are excited to get out and play,” he said. “But mostly it’s just nice to look at all the surrounding areas and see everything green after years of brown, brown, brown.”

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Southland: New-Found Status For The New North At Torrey

Torrey

You can find the digital link to this story in the print issue here – it’s at the bottom.

The North Course at Torrey Pines has long lived in the shadow of the more prestigious South Course, but fresh off its renovation the new North is finally enjoying a bit of its own celebrity status.

Torrey Pines Golf Operations Director Mark Marney said requests to play the North have risen dramatically.

“The demand for the North Course is off the charts right now,” he said.

Rounds have not risen in kind partly because the course is still rationing them on the North while the course grows in and a bit of remaining maintenance from the renovation is completed.

When it re-opened in November, the course only hosted play for four hours a day. That was later bumped to eight hours, but twilight rounds were withheld. The course will finally be open for play all day in the middle of May, Marney said, after Torrey completes its spring maintenance.

Restricting play has been done to protect the course, Marney said: “We’re trying not to love it to death.”
But Marney said the renovations and updates made by course architect Tom Weiskopf have been received positives reviews from locals and visitors alike.

“Players at all level have been pretty happy with their now being five sets of tee options so there’s a little better variety there for folks,” he said. “The greens are also 20 percent bigger on average, and are there are still approach where you can run the ball up to the green. All in all, it’s worked out pretty well.”

And the difficulty of the course didn’t increase, which was a primary concern of residents. The South Course, host to the U.S. Open and the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open, remains by far the tougher test and a destination course for tourists.

However, after the renovation, it’s now the North’s time to shine and Marney said he hopes see an increase in the appeal of playing 36 at Torrey.

Historically, Marney said there’s been about a 20 percent disparity favoring the South for non-resident rounds.

“We’d like to get more people playing both courses,” he said, “and right now, the interest in the North is certainly there.”

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Photo Post: America’s Most Scenic Ballpark – Point Loma Nazarene

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By pure happenstance, on Thursday I discovered America’s Most Scenic Ballpark, which resides at Point Loma Nazarene University in Point Loma. See and judge for yourself.

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Strangely, I didn’t even notice the sign at first. I must’ve been distracted by something – something blue, maybe? Just maybe?

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Anybody else ready to catch a game here?

I swear there was a sailboat playing deep left.

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… home of the Sea Lions!

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Field view, blissfully above sea level.

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And deep right ain’t bad either.

And we close with a video view of the Most Scenic Ballpark. Anyone disagree? Go Sea Lions!

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Charity Golf Opportunity: Support Managed Solution On April 21st At Arrowood

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Please join me at Arrowood Golf Course in Oceanside on April 21st for the Third Annual Managed Solution Charity Golf Tournament to support the American Cancer Society. There’s as 12:30 p.m. shotgun start and a helicopter ball drop after that provides you a chance to win up to $2,500 without having to attend! You can purchase $10 tickets here in advance!

For $150 per player, golfers receive 18 holes of golf (including cart), lunch, raffles, exciting awards and a cocktail reception, including dinner. They can also participate in a silent auction.

Follow the link to learn more about the tournament and to register. I hope to see you on the 21st!

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Photo: www.visitoceanside.com

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2017 Masters Preview

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Photo: www.techagesite.com

The golf world entered last year’s Masters buzzing about the looming rise of a youthful Big Four. A year later, there’s mostly only talk of an emerging Big One – and it isn’t that guy.

DJ, not TW, is turning into the Tour Goliath that his tremendous talent suggested possible but hadn’t been realized. His breakthrough win at the 2016 U.S. Open appears to have changed all that.

After being named Player of the Year in 2016, DJ has only built on that momentum by rising to world No. 1 and flattening the field on the way to three straight victories coming into Augusta.

Will DJ continue his Tour dominance with a win at Augusta National, a place where he doesn’t have a great track record? Or will players with a better history and feel for the place (Spieth, Mickelson, etc.) stem the tide and deny him the green jacket?

The question: Can DJ’s greatly improved short game and putting stand up to the staunch test at Augusta?

We ponder that and four other storylines coming into what many regard as the best week in golf. Here’s a look at our top five.

Will DJ continue to dominate? – His nearly unrivaled length has always made him a fearsome force on the Tour, but it’s his newfound touch on and around the greens that has changed his game and has him lifting more trophies.

DJ finished a very quiet T-4 last year, which is best finish at Augusta and followed a T-6 in 2016. If he’s stealthily been stalking the jacket, then the new DJ might be ready.

The Golf Channel shared a story about all the work Johnson has put in honing his game inside the scoring zone (125 yards and in) in the past year, and his second major and a fourth straight victory will likely be riding on it. But most critical, will his recently steady putting touch stand up to the test of the slick Augusta greens?

Will Jordan rebound? – We would likely be talking about a two-time defending champion going for a third straight green jacket had Jordan Spieth not gotten two consecutive tee shots wet on the par-3 12th a year ago. That turned what looked to be a runaway into an open door for underdog Danny Willett to sneak in and claim the championship.

Spieth claims not to be haunted by No. 12, having returned to Augusta last Dec. and played the hole without issue. Still, you can be sure the replays of his meltdown will roll when Jordan steps to the 12 tee on Thursday.

Spieth seemed to burn out a bit a year ago after playing a hectic schedule. He’s dialed that back this year and seems to have rediscovered much of the form that had him chasing the Grand Slam two years ago.

We know Spieth can putt the notorious greens of Augusta, but will his ball striking hold up under what are expected to be challenging conditions on Thurs. and Fri.? But if Spieth gets into the weekend around the lead, it’ll be hard not like his chances. With a T2, 1, T2 history at Augusta, would you bet against him?

He’ll certainly be seeking redemption on No. 12 and savoring another chance to win back the green jacket.

Is Rory ready to go Grand? – The Masters is the only gap in Rory’s major resume. Is this the year he completes the career Grand Slam? He seems to have found his form again after being briefly sidelined with a rib injury.

As one of the few on Tour who can challenge DJ off the tee, that’d be a power pairing if it happened on the weekend. Is Rory ready to end his major drought? It’d certainly put some juice into the Augusta gallery if he’s contending going into Sunday.

Can Lefty be right one more time? – Though he’s played some of the most consistent golf of his career and been around the lead often (see the British last year), Phil hasn’t won since he won the British in 2013. Can he pull out one more major surprise with that famous Augusta-friendly short game?

If he’s steady off the tee, the decider for Phil will likely be that claw putting grip he remains committed to. Can he roll it for four rounds again like he did at the British last year? If so, look out for Lefty.

Will it be a favorite or will it be someone like Willett? – More than the course, the weather may be the wildcard to answering this question.

With windy and possible wet weather on tap for the first two days, it could open the door for some underdogs to secure some previous landscape near the top of the weekend leaderboard.

The forecasted cool conditions are being likened to 2007, when Zach Johnson used some clutch and calculated wedge play to surgically conquer Augusta National and the field. Will a similar approach prevail this year?

The Tour saw four first-timers last year claim all the majors a year ago. Will that trend continue or will a favorite emerge victorious? We’ll soon find out during one of the best weeks in golf.

Masters coozy

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19th Hole Media: A Q & A About Yoga And Golf And Riverwalk’s Upcoming Yoga Event

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Riverwalk will be hosting its first-ever yoga class on April 12th when we hold Yogis & Bogeys at 5:30 p.m. Erin Hanson of Live + Breathe will conduct the class, which will introduce golfers to the benefits of yoga. In this Q & A, Erin talks about the benefits of yoga to golfers and how it can improve your health and game.
 
Q: For those who do not currently do yoga, which is widely practiced in San Diego and SoCal, how do you explain it?

A: Yoga is a multi-faceted practice that works to integrate both the mind and body. The form of yoga that is most familiar is the physical version with poses that are put together in a special “sequence” designed for a particular style. Each style is developed to emphasize what the participant wants to gain from class (i.e., restorative yoga, hot power yoga). Yoga is a skill set that can translate to many activities and can simultaneously provide energizing and calming effects.  
 
Follow the link to read the rest of my Q & A with Erin and register for the event. We hope to see you!

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Photo: www.collegeofgolf.keiseruniversity.edu.

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19th Hole Media: Five Reasons Why Spring Of 2017 Is Prime Time For Your Golf Course’s Social Media

Arroyo Adjusted

The start to the 2017 golf season in California has been – pardon the pun – a water hazard.

A deluge unlike any seen in decades has washed away the drought but also plenty of tee times along with it. The windfall of a wet winter, however, will be paid forward in the spring when courses can boast impeccable course conditions and can look forward to significant savings on water costs.

Are you ready to capitalize and make a quick recovery from your lost rounds? Then look toward your social media.
Here are five reasons why spring of 2017 is prime time to leverage your social media and reap the benefits.

Green Equals Green –
A tour of courses in February showed course conditions the likes of which haven’t been seen in years in California due to the drought. It’s a perfect time to be updating your course photos and videos and let them work for you on social media.

Don’t tell golfers you have great course conditions – show them! Between Facebook, Instagram and your web site, you’ve got the tools to impress golfers and lure them to your course. You might even want to consider a drone shoot. Drone video footage is gold and plays very nicely with the changes to Facebook’s algorithm to help golfers discover your course.

If you rarely or infrequently post photos of your course, you’ll want to up your game this spring and help golfers visualize playing at your course under the best of conditions.

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Tourism Traffic – We’re not out of the winter tourism window, especially when an otherwise mild winter is just starting to play the back nine in most of the country. And usually a winter reprieve means a prolonged ending that drags into spring.

If that pattern repeats, there’s still a chance for you to coax golfers to the coast … but they have to be able to find you! Your web site will do some of that work for you, but social media is the BEST way to reach to the golf world and show them what you have to offer.

Much of the rest of country’s courses don’t become truly playable until around May, thus giving you March and April to still re-capture some of that lost tourism traffic from the winter.

If you get active on social there’s still time to catch the eye of that buddy’s trip or other groups that might be looking to escape the winter doldrums for a few rounds under the California sun. There’s still time, partly because …

The Time’s A Changin’ – The time change kicks in on March 12, giving courses back those lost precious hours. If you want sure to keep your course stays busy til sundown, social is your ticket, especially if you plan to lean on discounted rounds, specials, etc. You’ll want to be aggressively communicating those to your golf audience, and social is the ideal way to do it.

Pent-up demand – After a few months of California cabin fever, your golfers are itching to get back to golf as usual, which means making up for lost rounds. You want to make sure that’s happening at your course.

Again, put your course out there to coax them – and it’s also a perfect time to dangle membership specials, lessons offers, etc. to help them get back in the swing of things. Help your golfers get back in the game by convincing them your course is the place to do it – and then engage them with online interactions that make it more likely to happen.

Every time you create a post, you create an opportunity for a conversation and an increased awareness of your course and the potential to book a tee time. But you’ve got be willing to invest the time and resources. That’s where 19th Hole Media is here to help. We specialize in engaging golfers and driving interest in your course.

If you don’t have time for your social media, guess what? We do! Because that’s all we do! Let us do it for you!

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The Masters – The first major will be here before you know it, and in a way it already is. The TV commercial blitz has been going for some time now, stirring the hibernating hearts of golfers who live for April and Augusta, which ushers in the new golf season for much of the country.

Interest, enthusiasm and exposure for golf piques up to and during The Masters. You can play off that sentiment by talking about the Tour on your social channels, promoting The Masters countdown and maybe even by planning a Masters contest or promotion for your course.

Social media is the perfect platform for all of it. If your course is behind on its social media, it’s a prime time to catch up – and there’s still time, but you have to start now! Followers and engagement don’t happen overnight, but they can happen more quickly when you’re putting out the right messages and images.

I’ll close by saying, Congratulations! Your course has likely never looked better! Now you need to make sure golfers know about it. 19th Hole Media is here to help. Are you ready for a conversation and free consultation?

Contact me at corey.ross@yahoo.com to set an appointment and put your course on a path to spring social media success.