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No. 2 Presidio

19th Hole Media: 5 Ways To Make Your Golf Course’s Social Media Better Today

No. 2 Presidio

So it’s nearly the end of summer 2017 and your golf course’s social media program is still lacking, listless and inconsistent. Instead of settling for more slow play on your course’s social media progress, do you want to get your course’s program on track and more on par with your competition? If so, this post is for you.

If you hired 19th Hole Media, here’s how we’d jump start your social media and get you more followers and ultimately more golfers this year and in 2018. The following is a list of five strategies that will improve your course’s social media today.

RB sunset

More course photos/videos – When it comes to social media, your course is your best friend. Social medium is a visually driven medium, which is great news for golf because we’re the best looking sport out there. You need to leverage that advantage to your advantage as much and often as possible. Golfers simply don’t get tired of looking at your golf course.

This tip might strike you as intuitive, but I see many accounts who seem to miss this most basic of basics. I’ve seen Instagram accounts for resort courses where the course itself is a rumor. I believe this is largely due to marketing departments that don’t know golf (more on this is point No. 2), but whatever the reason, your course can’t gain golfers online it has no presence on your social. It’s like running social media for a restaurant and showing photos of only the parking lot or the bathroom. You wouldn’t do that. So don’t do that to your golf course.

Instead, invoke a Pavlovian response from your golfers and entice them to come play, especially when your course conditions are at their peak.

You can also further following and engagement by …

BH

Talking about golf – A short list of topics golfers like to talk about: golf. What are you doing to encourage this conversation and recruit golfers to your course and deepen loyalty of your members? You can start by asking simple questions about your course such as, “What’s your favorite hole/favorite tee shot/club?” and move on to more advanced topics such as how you’d play a certain hole/shot.

This is where the golf know-how many marketing departments seem to lack comes into play. If you don’t know the game, you’re already behind the ball because it also means you can’t talk the game. Mis-steps in golf terminology/lingo are a major turnoff to your audience and, conversely, being able to speak their language turns them into your golf buddy – and you want as many golf buddies possible.

This is the one of the major things that separates 19th Hole Media from many of the agencies – we know golf. Don’t discount how major that is for interacting with your audience.

black clover

Create more content – Most courses simply don’t produce enough content, which is obviously the lifeblood of social. It’s really easy to underdo content, but it’s very hard to overdo it, so you shouldn’t be shy about posting, although the one channel you don’t want to overload is Facebook. By posting more than three times a day, you cannibalize your own content.

There are many sources of content, but, besides your course, the low-hanging fruit is what’s in your golf shop and kitchen. Take photos of what is likely right in front of your face and use it to recruit followers and expand your audience by adding talking points to your social media.

Be active – This follows naturally from the previous point but it doesn’t mean just posting more content; it also means engaging with your audience. The more you put out, the more will eventually come back and you need to have someone dedicated to fostering that engagement to capitalize and convert on your efforts.

Remember this: Your audience will mostly mimic your habits and will only have the expectation you give them. And avoid the start/stop social media that plagues many course accounts and will make you seem like a bad boyfriend to your followers. Consistency is key, which is why you need to …

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Have a plan and stick to it –
Besides identifying content, the first step to creating a plan is being realistic about setting a posting schedule you can maintain. With a limited staff, that might not be that often, which is a great reason for outsourcing. 19th Hole Media has the time because that’s ALL we do.

Daily posting on Facebook and at least 3-4 times a week for Twitter/Instagram is a schedule has gotten great results for our course clients, but that might be more than your staff can sustain on its own. It all depends on where the social media responsibility on your staff lies. If it’s with someone who has five other jobs, I can tell you from experience that social media is unlikely to be a priority – and it needs to be.

Without someone on staff who has a social media mindset, opportunities will be missed and your social media will continue to underperform. 19th Hole Media can be that person by encouraging social media involvement and fostering goods habits and awareness of social media opportunities. Who’s ready for a conversation that will change your course’s social media game today?

To receive a FREE social media consultation from 19th Hole Media, please contact Zeb (zeb@welbornmedia.com) or myself (corey.ross@yahoo.com).

trophy - golf digest

2017 PGA Championship Preview

trophy - golf digest

Photo: www.golfdigest.com

Jordan Spieth’s finishing flurry to claim the British Open title ended the revolving door of first-time major winners and instead put the Tour awesomely back on the doorstep of major history.

With a win at this week’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, Spieth would become the youngest player ever to achieve golf’s career Grand Slam. Spieth has been installed as the co-favorite according to this site here to do just that, along with Rory McIroy, a past champion at Quail Hollow and the course record holder.

Were Spieth to pull it off, he’d bag an avalanche of career accolades the likes of which even Tiger Woods can’t match and also put himself squarely in the driver’s seat to be the Tour’s player of the year. He would also further threaten Dustin Johnson’s position as world No. 1.

Will Johnson, McIlroy or another world elite stand in the way, or will Spieth make some head-turning history that would give the Tour a dramatic finish to the major season?

We’ll start to find out on Thurs. Here’s a look at the top storylines heading into the week.

jordanbunker

www.pga.com

Jordan Rules? – By going 5-under over the final four holes at Royal Birkdale to claim the Claret Jug, Spieth put the Tour back on some refreshing historical footing. Only five men have claimed the career Grand Slam and Spieth is gunning to become the sixth and faster than any of them.

Spieth enters the PGA on a run of consecutive victories and aiming to topple Tiger as the youngest player ever to claim the career Slam, doing so with some Tiger-esque moments such as jarring a 50-foot eagle putt at the British to spark his final charge.

Spieth’s impeccable putter and short game have earned him his place in history. But on a long and difficult driving golf course, will it be enough to get the career Slam up-and-down?

One of the few reasons to doubt:L He doesn’t have a track record here (he’s only played once in the Tour’s Wells Fargo Championship); his co-favorite does.

roryatpga - pga.com

www.pga.com

Rory’s Quail Tale – Though he hasn’t won on Tour in 2017, Rory is listed as co-favorite largely because of his track record at Quail.

Rory has two victories and six top-10s at Quail Hollow and holds the course record (61). After a slow start at the British, McIlroy rebounded to show flashes of his old self. McIlroy has battled a fractured rib much of the season, but he and his game finally look healthy again. At the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, McIroy set a 54-hole record with 38 drivers over 300 yards.

That particularly matters going to the PGA at Quail Hollow, because …

Bombs Away – Quail Hollow is a bomber’s course. The Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee noted to start the week that the majority of past champions at Quail can be found atop the driving stats for the week.
The recently re-designed course sets the tone with an opening par 4 that plays to 524 yards. It’s one of three for the week playing over 500 yards for the week.

That plays to Rory’s favor, but it will also have other tour big boppers, such as world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, looking to cash in and capture the year’s final major. Johnson’s driver is never in doubt, but will his putter hold up? Same goes for McIroy, who’s playing with a new caddie, a switch that didn’t go so well for Phil Mickelson at the British Open.

In a close contest where every stroke matters, will Rory’s decision come back to haunt him? The door is certainly wide open for second-guessing. If Rory wins and slams it shut, he’ll have major momentum going for his own career slam again at the Masters in 2018.

Will There Be Reign or Just Rain? –
As of now, the forecast for the week is a major bummer. A wet week seems in store, with a projected 100 percent chance of rain on Friday. The Charlotte Observer says a solid 50 percent chance is in the forecast for every day up to Sunday.

Who will dodge the bogeys between rains drops and make birdies when the sun shines? Will the elements even more favor a player with a track record at Quail Hollow? If so, besides McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson head that list.

Or will the wet Bermuda roof tilt the advantage to strong iron players? If so, advantage Spieth. But a soggy slog to the title seems certain for someone.

No.8pga - pga.com

www.pga.com

Hello, PGA in May – New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is looking to shake up the Tour schedule, which has major implications for the PGA Championship.

The Tour announced the PGA will move to May starting in 2019, placing it between the Masters and the U.S. Open with its vacated August date allowing for early start to the FedEx Cup playoffs.

You’ll undoubtedly hear the changed debated during the 2017 PGA broadcast, which seems ideal Thurs./Fri. rainy day talk. When it turns to the weekend, however, Spieth will be the most talked about Jordan since Michael in North Carolina if he’s got the Grand Slam in his sights. Can he just do it? We start to find out on Thurs.

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.

claret

2017 British Open Preview

claret

As the pros travel overseas to Royal Birkdale for the year’s third major, the name of the championship seems particularly fitting – The Open.

In a year lacking a dominate player, parity has become the norm on a wide-open Tour. That’s best illustrated by the majors, where we’ve now seen eight straight first-time major champions after Brooks Koepka won the U.S. Open.

Will a former champion step forward to claim the Claret Jug or will first-timers continue to break through? And if so, who? Rickie Fowler? John Rahm? Tommy Fleetwood? Hideki Matsuyama?

Last year, it was Henrik Stenson’s turn after an epic duel with Phil Mickelson, who opened the tournament with a 63 and lost to Stenson’s 63 on Sunday. Conditions don’t seem so conducive for scoring this year. Blustery weather is in the forecast.

Who will weather the weather and the unique tests of links golf? We’ll start to find out on Thurs. Here’s a look at the top storylines going into the week.

Major Parity – Rookies rule right now when it comes to major championships. But rather than celebrate the depth of the Tour, the media has instead clamored for someone to seize the season.

A year ago, Dustin Johnson began a run of dominance after a win at the U.S. Open that led to him being named Player of the Year. If you had to vote right now, who’d it be? Rookie John Rahm? He’s one of the few to have multiple victories and consistent strong showings on Tour. Otherwise, many of the Tour’s best have either been hampered by injuries or inconsistency.

Stenson is among those having a ho-hum season. If he can get his game together, he has a chance to be the first repeat Open champion since Padraig Harrington in 2008-09.

But eyes will also be on last year’s runner-up because of …

bonesphil

www.cbssports.com

Phil’s Major Change – Mickelson stunned the golf world after the U.S. Open (he didn’t play because of his daughter’s graduation) when he announced the end of his relationship with long-time caddy Jim “Bones” MacKay, who was on the bag when Phil won his last major at the British in 2013.

This time, Mickelson’s brother Tim will be on the bag and MacKay will be in the booth working for the Golf Channel. Having listened to MacKay on a few Callaway Golf podcasts, I for one am excited to hear his unique take on the game and insights from 25 years of touring with Mickelson. (What’s the over/under on Phil stories told during the tournament?)

Will the change help Mickelson rediscover his winning ways? He hasn’t won any Tour event since that victory in 2013, even though he’s played some of the most consistent golf of his career.

After skipping the U.S. Open, will Mickelson be rested or rusty? He’s professed a new-found love of links golf. Will it love him back again this week?

Can Rickie Shake His Case Of The Sundays? – Fowler was in contention on Sunday at the Masters and the U.S. Open – and never made a charge. Similarly, he failed to make a move Sunday at the Scottish Open.

A few analysts criticized Fowler for overly conservative play on Sunday at the U.S. Open. Will he find the formula to finally contend and close at Royal Birkdale?

At just age 28, Fowler finds himself carrying the mantle of best player to have never won a major. Will he change that at the Open or carry the title onto the PGA Championship and maybe into 2018? Sunday will be the key if Fowler contends again. Will he muster the effort to finally conquer a major?

courseart

www.royalbirkdale.com

When It’s Breezy … – It hardly seems like an Open without a spot of weather. This year, the forecast is dry but high winds are predicted.

Will that forecast favor the Europeans, who are used to these conditions, or possible a Texan (Jordan Spieth?) also accustomed to playing in the wind?

Given the usual penchant for parity that comes with the bounces and breaks of links golf, a windy forecast makes a wildcard winner seem an even more likely outcome.

Where’s The Beef? – Heavily bearded Brit Andrew “Beef” Johnston became a cult hero during last year’s Open and a running subplot amidst the Mickelson/Stenson duel.

Playing on home soil, Johnston seems likely to have a sizeable and vocal gallery this week. That actually seems the only safe prediction coming into a week where the Tour and trophy are there for the taking if someone can rise to the occasion like Stenson did a year ago. As always, it’ll be great fun to watch it all start to unfold across the pond on Thurs.

St. Mark clubhouse

Four Observations About The Playing Experience At St. Mark Golf Club

St. Mark clubhouse

I started playing St. Mark Golf Club in San Marcos about five years ago when I was a student at the Golf Academy of America. To be honest, though being close by, it wasn’t one of my preferred tracks, largely due to spotty course conditions after years of neglect, including hard greens that often wouldn’t hold approach shots.

I recently returned to St. Mark for the first time in more than two years and am happy to report a greatly improved experience after a major investment in the main course and clubhouse as well an impressive renovation, and really re-invention, of the executive course.

The playing conditions on the main course, including an aesthetic upgrade to the tee boxes, were on par with some of the best in the county and made for a most enjoyable experience re-discovering St. Mark. Kudos to the new management for their vision and execution and for breathing new life into the place. For those who’ve never been, here’s an overview of the playing experience at St. Mark.

No. 1

1. A short course – or is it? – At 6,398 yards from the back tees, I don’t think of St. Mark as a long course – by comparison, that’s the yardage at Maderas Golf Club, one of the long courses in SD, from the white tees. Yet St. Mark has one of the longest holes in the county – the 606-yard par 5 12th – and two long par 4s – the 447-yard 4th and 460-yard 10th – that seem to play longer. A lot of holes here are practically dead straight so they play to their full distance.

You definitely need to hit driver well to score here, but the course is wide open enough that accuracy isn’t an absolute must. In the review world, we call this a course that will test your entire bag, which frankly you don’t see coming from the opening holes. This is where St. Mark throws you enough surprises to keep you on your toes.

2. My Nemesis – Excuse the personal aside here, but I’d be less than forthcoming if I didn’t disclose my struggles with the par 4 4th – and I know I’m not alone. This hole is a 447-yard downhill slight dogleg left that often plays into a Pacific Ocean breeze. This is the classic draw hole where my draw won’t draw and I end up with some sort of crazy recovery behind a tree, from an awkward lie, etc.

And when I do hit the fairway, I always seem to have more golf hole left than I should. Forget birdie or par. I honestly can’t recall if I’ve hit the green in regulation here. If I had, that’d be a victory. I certainly didn’t during my last round, where I revisited my classic struggle and scuffled to a six, the first real blemish on my card.

If you get through 4 and 5 – another downhill par 4 – mostly unscathed you’ve got a real chance to get through the front in good shape. The scoring opportunities are there if you avoid the bogey potholes.

14 tee St. Mark

No. 14

3. 12, 13, 14 – These holes are the heart of the playing experience at St. Mark and frankly a stretch you never see coming given the previous 11 holes. The aforementioned 606-yard par 5 12th, a gradual dogleg left with a tricky green, starts this stretch and I’ve seen the mere sight of a “6” on the yardage sign cause people to come undone on the tee. It has psyched more than a few golfers into a snowman. Duff a drive here and you’ll be playing catch up the whole way – and likely never will.

Then a relatively flat course makes a surprise elevation change to an elevated par 3 with a partially blind approach before the course comes to the figurative and literal apex of your round – the elevated 369-yard par-4 14th. With a pond sitting out there dead ahead at around 260 yards, this hole is the ultimate risk and reward. You’re either going for it or you’re not.

In another state and another climate, this hole make a fine ski slope, but it’ll play like a black diamond to you if you can’t make the carry. If you can, you could almost putt your way to par.

There are a lot of great elevated par 4s in San Diego but I can’t imagine a more unexpected one than 14 at St. Mark because it so deviates from the rest of the course. But in that way, it also makes it a tee shot you anticipate and a thrill if you crush it. There’s something to be said for that. Overall, brute distance and a little local knowledge goes a long way in this stretch.

No. 13

No. 13

4. Nemesis Two – If you get through 12/13/14 in good shape, you’ve got a serious chance to post a number on the back. After that stretch, the course reverts back to more of what you expect.

If you don’t trip on the par 3 17th, which is 210 yards but provides room to miss and recover, you come to No. 18, which is another hole where I have a troubled history.

I’ve had a few good scorecards turn bad here trying to do too much here. This par 5 plays to 480 yards, which is a tempting enough number to get you dreaming about a big finish – which can be a big mistake.

The tee shot is straight and sets you up for approach that teases you go for it, despite that gigantic bunker on the left, which is really the only trouble on the hole. The other trouble is all in your head, which again is trying to do too much.

The oddest outcome I ever had here was ripping a 3-wood right at the green – and never finding the ball. (I think we mentioned earlier that the greens previously didn’t always hold shots.)

The smarter play is to try to set yourself up with ideal wedge distance for your third – but where’s the fun in that, right?

And there’s the real trick to mastering St. Mark – knowing when to go for it and knowing when to humbly bag the hero shot and play for par or bogey.

The course is at a length that tempts you, but it has a way of taking strokes back that leaves you sometimes feeling you left a better score out there. Thankfully now that you won’t be feeling like the course conditions cheated you and you’ll admire and appreciate the hard work that has gone into recovering and re-creating a great playing and social experience.

tee marker

EH-Overhead-LoRes

2017 U.S. Open Preview

EH-Overhead-LoRes

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.

walking

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 …

patio

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

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.

Arroyo 18

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

house 1

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

house 1

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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yard

pool

master bath

kitchen

wine fridge

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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.

Arroyo 18

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.

16 TP North

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.

vineyard course

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.”

Torrey

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.”