Category Archives: 19th Hole Media

Final Southland

19th Media: RIP Southland Golf – And What It Means For Your Golf Course

Final Southland

Southland Golf published its final issue in July. The outcome is one I’d anticipated for years and unsurprising given the decline of print media but sad nonetheless.

Southland gave me my start five years ago and I owe much of my success today and the direction of my career to those beginnings. My first Southland assignments helped further familiarize me with Southern California golf and also helped me identify the opportunity that existed in social media marketing for golf courses that is now the basis for my business today.

Additionally, I have many connections and clients that were formed from those assignments that have been invaluable in the growth and development of my career. For that especially I will always be grateful to Southland and Editor Al Petersen, who became a great colleague and friend during my days writing for the magazine. I’ll always remember Al for being relentlessly reliable to answer his phone and always taking the time for any story idea or inquiry and being eager to share in kind. Al and I discovered quickly in a our first phone call that we grew up close to each other in the Midwest and we got along swimmingly ever after.

The eulogy, however, stops here and turns to the narrative I’ve been preaching to courses for years. If this isn’t a wake-up call that it’s time to start telling your own story, I don’t know what is. Similar resources are only going to become fewer going forward as publishing continues to find success elusive in a digital environment. The majority of these publications are eventually going the way hickory clubs.

Social media is your new titanium. While the print world declines, the social media world only creates more and more tools to help you tell your story if you choose to seize the opportunity. With Facebook recently topping 2 BILLION users and Instagram on pace to hit a billion users in 2018, it’s time to face facts about where eyeballs are at these days. They’re on the Internet and particularly in their phone – and their coming directly to you. How good are you at telling your story in the digital age?

In the early days of writing for Southland, I gained interviews and appointments easily as course officials relished a visit from the “story fairy.” I appreciated the time and access as I often conducted two interviews: the first was for the story; the second was about the state of their marketing, particularly social media. Those insights proved invaluable.

Many of the first posts you read here were companion pieces to my Southland articles. They were written in part to help courses see the opportunity in creating their own content and narrative. Guess what? I worked. And it still does.

The mentality of the magazine, especially a lifestyle magazine, is the mindset required for successful social media. You have to become introspective and take yourself on as your own beat and be your course’s biggest fan. If you’re not the one MOST excited one about your course, how many can you expect anyone else to be? Lead and content creative with passion and your golfers WILL follow.

Take your club on as your own “beat,” in magazine parlance. Scour the course, the kitchen, the golf shop and your wedding, events, tournaments, members and visitors for stories and insights into your club. That’s the “magazine” every course should be seeking to create to gain readers/followers.

Golf courses will long outlast modern publishing. How successful they will be, however, depends on how well they connect to their audience in the way magazines/newspapers, etc. once did. Are you ready for your social media to read like hot-off-the-press and go to work for you? Let 19th Hole Media help you discover you inner Southland Golf and thrive.

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

No. 3 Mission behind the green

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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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.

Arroyo Adjusted

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.

March Southland

Southland: REALiTEE Golf To Become A Reality In 2017

Southland spread

REALiTEE Golf will become a reality in 2017.

The indoor golf concept created by Dave Shultz of Anaheim found a venture partner the Lummi Nation Indian tribe in Washington and is developing a plan to open its first location at the Silver Reef Hotel Casino and Spa in Ferndale, Wash., before the end of the year.

Shultz had been shopping his concept since launching the company vision in Feb. 2016 at the Golf Industry Show in San Diego and considered a number of possible starting locations. The fit with Lummi Nation came before the new year and was what Shultz said he was looking for in a partner all along.

“They had been interested in the golf entertainment world and took the step of hiring a business development resource to look for emerging opportunities like this,” Shultz said. “When they saw we were doing something this innovative, they jumped on it. It really resonated with them. They had even considered buying an actual golf course, but chose this because of its unique approach as an entertainment and real golf solution.”

Follow the link to read the rest of this piece.

March Southland

Final Rock Star (2)

Moving On

Final Rock Star (2)

Career update: I’ve left Maderas. I had a great experience there, but it was time to stop dividing my time and energies to focus entirely on growing my opportunity with Zeb Welborn and 19th Hole Media. I joined Zeb in June and we’ve had great success growing our golf social media marketing business. My time at Maderas was extremely valuable for discovering social media solutions for golf courses to support their various marketing and business objectives. I take all of those strategies forward, and continue to search for new ones, as we serve our current client base and seek to recruit more courses.

A huge thank to everyone who has supported my career and growth up to this point and has watched it grow into EXACTLY what I decided I wanted it to be four years ago. I’m there today because of your encouragement, belief and support. It feels great! I’ve never felt better about where things are going and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Ready for a conversation? Please contact me to find out what social media can do for your golf course in 2017!

waterfall kiss

19th Hole Media: Seven Great Reasons To Get Married At Riverwalk Golf Club

waterfall kiss

Have you ever dreamed of getting married on a golf course? Riverwalk Golf Club can make that dream a reality.

Located in the heart of central San Diego, we offer a secluded venue that’s an oasis for golfers as well as couples on their special day. We’re just minutes from the airport, interstate and several hotels, but the hustle and bustle of a big city seems far away when you’re at Riverwalk. Our property is as romantic and unique as it is convenient and accommodating.

The following is a list of seven great reasons to hold your wedding at Riverwalk.

You can read the remainder of this post here:
http://riverwalkgc.com/golf/blog/posts/100110/seven-great-reasons-to-get-married-at-riverwalk.html

Yellow & White Ceremony

no-1-aerial

19th Hole Media: 12 Questions To Determine Whether Your Golf Course’s Social Media Strategy Is A Birdie Or A Bogey

no-1-aerial

Does your golf course have a social media plan for 2017, or could your current plan use a review?

Before you answer, here are some questions to ask yourself:

– Is your course posting regularly (daily/weekly) and consistently to Facebook?

– Is your course utilizing Instagram to promote your course and reach new golfers?

– Does your course have an adequate supply of high-quality images to promote your facility?

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– Is your course working with video?

– Is your club’s social media plan comprehensive, meaning does it account for and promote ALL of your business entities (golf, instruction, weddings, tournaments, golf shop, dining, events, tourism, lodging, etc.)?

– If your course posts regularly to social media, are they prompt (24/48 hours) in replying to responses and queries?

– Does your course have a blog to drive traffic to your web site and create rich content of value to your clientele beyond it just being a calendar of events?

– Do you value social media as a marketing AND a customer service tool?

– Do you have someone dedicated to your social media who enjoys it and makes it a priority and isn’t overburdened with other course duties?

– Do you promote and sell golf rounds through your social media?

– Are you properly leveraging the investment you’ve made in your web site through social media promotion?

– Do you realize how fast social media is changing and how challenging it is to stay educated?

More than ever, social media needs to be priority for golf courses to relevant and successful in communicating with their clientele. It has to be prioritized as more than hobby. If don’t take your social media seriously, neither with your audience – and quality content counts.

Before the new year, I encourage you to let 19th Hole Media give you an honest and experienced assessment of your current social media efforts. It’s likely we can identify many errors for improvement and tailor a custom plan exclusively for your course that will work and take into account your current resources (staff, social media familiarity, marketing budget, etc.).

If your course is behind in migrating its marketing to social media, this is your chance to catch up. If you let another year go by without making it a priority, it will on deny your course and club the impressive results that social media can provide in this era of new media. And if you’re course is taking out print advertising to promote itself, we definitely need to talk because those are marketing resources you should be taking control of and converting into storytelling and social media channels that work and will inform and entertain your audience and gain you fans, followers and loyal customers.

You can contact either Zeb Welborn (zeb@welbornmedia.com) or Corey Ross (corey.ross@yahoo.com) to schedule a consultation. We’d be happy to share the strategies that are working for our growing list of clients and make sure you have a happy new year on social media in 2017. You can find more information about 19th Hole Media www.19thholemedia.com.

golfboard

gboard-2

19th Hole Media: Indian Wells Golf Resort To Offer GolfBoard Starting Nov. 11

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In November, Indian Wells Golf Resort will become the first golf course in the Coachella Valley to offer GolfBoard.

Indian Wells Director of Sales And Marketing Michael Tebbetts said the arrival of the four GolfBoards will closely coincide with the course re-opening on Nov. 1. The boards will be available starting Nov. 11.

GolfBoard is a battery-powered scooter that allows golfers to traverse the course in a manner similar to surfing, skiing or skating. The experience is called “surfing the Earth.”

GolfBoard launched three years at the West Coast PGA Show in Vegas. It has gained gradual adaption and Tebbetts said success at courses in Arizona and San Diego and a positive response to the boards during a pro-am at Indian Wells last February weighed heavily in the decision to offer the boards for rental.

“We offered it as a hole-in-one prize,” Tebbetts said. “We got a lot of questions about how it worked and overall it generated a lot of interest.”

Advancements in the design of the board and ease of operation also factored into the timing, Tebbetts said.

“The board itself has gotten much better in the last six or seven months,” he said. “It’s a much better experience for the user.”

GolfBoard is currently available at about 200 courses, including more than 20 in California.

Golfers at Indian Wells will have two 18-hole courses on which to enjoy the GolfBoard experience, which, among other things, is credited with an increased pace of play and a greater sense of independence than a cart in that golfers can go straight to their ball.

Tebbetts said GolfBoard fits and complements the luxury resort experience that Indian Wells provides.

“Everything we do is five-star,” he said. “We’re here for our guests to come and relax, and we strive to provide the best service experience and the best golf experience, and GolfBoard fits both of those.”

Tebbetts said Indian Wells will announce the rental rate for GolfBoard when the boards arrive. The course is taking advance reservations for the board. Those interested in booking the boards can call 760.346.4653.

There’s a one-time advance registration to use the boards that requires watching a safety/training video. You can view the video and register here: lw.golfboard.com/liability_waiver/new_rider/364/IndianWellsGolfResort

Even if golfers have registered to use GolfBoard at other courses, such as Maderas Golf Club in San Diego, they’ll be required to re-register at Indian Wells, Tebbetts said.

The board is thought of as a lure to millennials but courses who offer it report it appealing to all demographics. Tebbetts is looking forward to GolfBoard enhancing the golf experience at Indian Wells and attracting new golfers to try GolfBoard.

“We don’t think this is a fad at all,” he said. “You’re seeing more courses adopt it and have success, and we think it’s something that will make people look forward to coming out and playing golf.”

Any questions about GolfBoard at Indian Wells can be directed to Tebbetts at mtebbetts@iwgr.com.

You can learn more about the golf and resort experience at Indian Wells at www.indianwellsgolfresort.com. You can learn more about GolfBoard at www.golfboard.com

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mnf-menu

19th Hole Media: Arroyo Trabuco Announces New Monday Burger Menu

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Stop by O’Neill’s at Arroyo Trabuco in Mission Viejo after 5 p.m. to take advantage of their new Monday Burger & Beverage special. Enjoy a signature burger and your choice of house wine, well cocktail, or draft beer for only $15.95 while watching Monday Night football on their flat screen TV’s!