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

Boxed in

Southland Golf: Chris Mayson Lesson Series

Feb. South

I thoroughly enjoyed producing these lesson pieces for the Feb. issue of Southland Golf with elite instructor Chris Mayson and photographer Joey Cobbs. February is the instruction issue of Southland and these pieces were part of the cover story. Enjoy.

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Boxed in

Clock method

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!

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

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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

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Ten Questions About Tiger Woods In 2017

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Photo: Zimbio.com

After more than a year out of competition on the PGA Tour while recovering from back surgery, Tiger Woods finally made his tournament return in December in what some might deem to be the biggest story of the year for golf.

Four rounds at the Hero World Challenge against a field of some of the world’s best players is a small sample size, but it’s just enough to speculate about what 2017 might look like for Tiger. Here are 10 questions that we have while waiting for word of Tiger’s 2017 schedule.

Is he back?

Yes – with a qualifier. We’re not talking about the old Tiger in his prime. That guy will probably never be back. We’re talking about the return of Tiger to competitive golf and being able to tee it up on Tour. When Tiger leads the field in birdies, which he did at the Hero World Challenge, putts like he did in your prime AND, just as important, walks off the course pain-free, that’s back in our book.

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The renovated North Course at Torrey Pines


Where will be play next?

His only commitment thus far is to the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club in LA, a tournament he hasn’t played since 2006 but to which his foundation now has a tie. That’s Feb. 13-19. Tour stops at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego and the Waste Management Open in Phoenix loom prior on the West Coast swing.

Tiger has a stellar track record at Torrey, where he won his last major in 2008, and has played Phoenix in the past as well. Is he ready to take on consecutive tournaments or will he choose one over the other? You’d think he wouldn’t pass up the comfort of Torrey, but there’s also a wild card in play: His agent has indicated foreign tournaments have come calling. It will be interesting to see what he chooses.

What might success look like for Tiger in 2017?

Playing and finishing tournaments, to start. Just doing that will be more than he did in his most recent tournament stints. Getting back into the groove and grind of the Tour will be accomplishment enough in the early. But if he can do that, then we start to ask …

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Can he win? Can he win a major?

Merely playing is one thing. Contending is another, winning is something else and a winning a major is a meteoric leap from there, but if he would happen to put a jolt in a tournament early on (lead for a round? Finish top 10?) such talk will quickly stir.

His putting was stellar in the Bahamas and his swing speed measured up to Tour specs, however, he’s conceded his days of overpowering courses are over, which means he’ll lean more on course management and a strong short game. That formula reminds us a current Tour star: Jordan Spieth. That game plan nearly won Spieth the Grand Slam two years ago. If it worked for Jordan, it can work for Tiger, who historically is one of the best putters ever.

Why might fate favor him for a major in 2017?

Tiger’s winning track record has somewhat been amassed by piling up wins at a handful of courses (Torrey, Bay Hill, Augusta, etc.) Quail Hollow, where he won in 2007 and has three top-11 finishes, is considered a Tiger-friendly track and home to the 2017 PGA Championship. The British Open is at Royal Birkdale, where he contended in 1998. The U.S. Open is at first-time venue Erin Hills.

Could the Masters be his best chance?

See the previous reference to Jordan Spieth. A hot putter can master Augusta National, especially when there’s veteran savvy behind it. The only caveat is that Tiger hasn’t won in Augusta since the course was “Tiger-proofed” in 2006. Another factor is how tournament-ready to contend he can be by April. A better bet might be the British, which is later in the calendar year and has a better track record of producing random winners due to the factors of weather and the quirky breaks of links golf.

What’s the biggest obstacle to him being competitive again?

The Tour itself. This is the Tour Tiger wrought, where fitness, equipment, training and talent has never been better. To illustrate the depth and balance of the field, golf had four first-time major winners last year, when it was predicted a Big Four (Jordan, Rickie, Rory and Jason) would carry the year. It didn’t happen. Is there room for Tiger to get back in that mix? That’s a very tall order for a Woods far removed from his prime and now past age 40.

What would even a semi-competitive Tiger mean for the Tour?

Two words: Ratings. Buzz. His return tournament posted one of the highest ratings in the history of the Golf Channel. He still has the “it” factor and attracts eyeballs and galleries to the game like no one else. Having some of that back can only be good for the game. The pursuit of the major record is likely lost, but Sam Snead’s career wins record is still within reach. He needs four to tie Slammin’ Sam at 82. While a consolation prize give what was once possible for Woods, it’s not nothing.

Worst case: What if his back goes out again?

Oh, boy. Woods has admitted he contemplated retirement when his back woes were at their worst. You’d think a relapse would be competitive curtains, the only fate worse than a return of the short-game yips that plagued his last comeback but seem quieted for now.

Best case: What if it doesn’t – and it looks like he’s really BACK?

The dream scenario for the PGA Tour. Tiger stalking leaderboards and chasing championships again would put a serious second wind into the game and hopefully give it a much-needed boost in interest and participation. This is the Woods windfall many believe he delivered to the game in his prime and having a little of that back would be refreshing on several levels. A competitive mix of young lions and steely veterans would be also be a great one for the Tour and its fans.

Now that the Chicago Cubs have finally won the World Series again, you could say another major win for Woods is the biggest story left on-deck in sports. Can he deliver? The safe bet: the world will be watching if he does.

chuck

Southland Golf: A Look At The Success And Future Of The Links At Petco

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When it debuted a year ago, The Links at Petco Park nine-hole golf experience did so with a snap San Diego popularity akin to craft beer and fish tacos.

Three days of tee times to play Petco as a par-3 course in 2015 sold out in a matter of hours. Callaway Golf and the San Diego Padres added two more days and extended the hours each day and it sold out again.

A sixth extra day was added this year and tickets for the encore moved nearly as swiftly – save for a block of premium night-time tee times priced at $450 for a twosome and $900 for a foursome that eventually sold – and allowed 2,700 golfers to experience the event as opposed to 1,600 in 2015.

Callaway Golf Marketing Manager Nathan Adelman said the expanded tee time availability and upgraded course all proved to be big hits in the 2016 edition of The Links.

“The enthusiasm for (The Links at Petco) was just as much as a year ago, if not more,” he said. “We had a lot of come back, many of whom said they had an even better time this year, and we also had a lot of people participate who didn’t get to play last year.

“There was more energy in the stadium this year because we spaced the tee times closer so there more people in the park at once.”

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Among the course upgrades included tee boxes being staged at four levels of the stadium as opposed to three a year ago, but the awesome opening tee shot, hit toward center field and the San Diego skyline, remained at home plate.

From the tee boxes, golfers get two shots at an outlined green with a colored pin flag. A circle drawn around the flag serves as a birdie target. A ball hitting outside the circle but on the green is a par. Any shot landing outside is a bogey. The best-ball score is recorded for each hole.

Unlike last year, when the layout used several shared greens, this year, each hole had its own green, including an island green on No. 9. Course architect Geoff Shackelford, who worked on the Olympic course in Rio, consulted in this year’s layout to help evolve the course experience.

“He helped shape greens, bunkers and hazards to be true to where actually golf shots would be coming from,” Adelman said. “One of the reasons this event appeals to people is that despite being in a baseball stadium it’s an authentic golf experience. It’s a legitimate golf course.”

Shackelford also helped Callaway stretch the course a bit, extending the length of the longest shot to 165 yards. The shortest was 68 yards.

Two other changes this year included the incorporation of live scoring and also a non-profit partnership with Pro Kids and The First Tee of San Diego. Pro Kids sold mulligans and generated over $23,000 in donations, Adelman said.

“That’s really rewarding for us to see,” he said.

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After last year’s event, Adelman said the Callaway team spent the year brainstorming upgrades to the experience and entertained conversations from 15 organizations about holding a similar event for them.

Ultimately, Adelman said, Carlsbad-based Callaway chose to focus on its core business and improving the event in “our backyard.”

“We need to focus on selling golf equipment,” he said. “It’s a lot of energy and resources to pull off an event like this. We want to continue to focus on doing it here and doing it the best.”

Adelman noted imitators of The Links experience are coming out of the woodwork. For one, the Atlanta Braves hosted a similar event that didn’t involve Callaway or another equipment partner.

Adelman said The Links is an ideal environment to introduce people to Callaway equipment. Golfers not only hit Callaway clubs on each hole, each hole is manned by a Callaway staffer.

“That means we’re getting a touch point with them on every hole,” he said.

Adelman credited the partnership with the Padres as being critical to the event’s continuing success.

“It really is a collaboration,” he said. “We could not do this without their event team and their staff making sure everything runs smoothly. But they also couldn’t do it without us because there are a lot of golf nuances built into this event.”

As for the future of The Links, Adelman said Callaway and the Padres now have a two-year track record of proven success that he’s confident will continue.

“I have an inclination we’ll be back.”

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patio

The RanchLB: Harvest Restaurant Has Arrived – Take Our Virtual Tour

In October, The Ranch at Laguna Beach golf resort finally opened up its much anticipated Harvest restaurant, one of the final pieces of its nearly two-year renovation project. As with everything at The Ranch, the overall quality and attention to detail are impeccable.

What follows is a photo tour that will take you through the lobby, bar, patio and restaurant. The restaurant overlooks the No. 1 fairway and has huge windows that open toward the course and make the restaurant open air and seems to make the golf and restaurant experiences seamless. And we’re calling this the new best table in golf.

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Take a look around in our virtual tour and make sure to check out Harvest the next time you’re in Laguna Beach. You won’t be disappointed with the restaurant or anything else about this unique golf resort experience that’s rapidly rocketing up the Trip Advisor ratings for Orange County.

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table

lights

fire

patio

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And we close with blog’s standard review of The Ranch: It rocks.

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

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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.

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Tweet, Tweet: Socalgolfblog.com Named One Of 25 Most Influential Golf Accounts on Twitter

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First the blog was named one of the top 100 golf blogs on the Internet. Now we’ve been named one of the 25 Most Influential Golf Accounts on Twitter. Is there a Triple Crown for this stuff? Can we get some Facebook or Instagram love?

We’re joking of course because we’re always humbled, honored and usually surprised to found out we’ve won something. I don’t know how many “Congratulations!” emails you wake up to every day, but it’s now happened to me twice in the last two months. I usually have to track it back to find out what I actually won.

This time it’s an honor from www.360golfholidays.com. You can read the list here. I’ll say this: It’s an eclectic list, from Beef Johnson to Claude Harmon to my San Diego colleague Jenn Harris at www.highheelgolfer.com.

Here’s our listing:

Corey Ross – https://twitter.com/socalgolfblog – San Diego golf and travel writer tweeting on a regular basis. Known for marketing golf courses and author of the socialgolfblog.com.

Yep. That’s us in a nutshell. Feel free to follow @socalgolfblog.com and learn a whole about golf courses in San Diego and particularly Maderas, where I work as the Director of Digital Marketing and Social Media. I also partner with Zeb Welborn to post for 19th Hole Media and our growing list of course clients.

And I have a thought or two about social media in general from time to time. It’s a funny place, this Internet. You never know who might discover you, but I’m glad the people at 360 Golf Holidays did. Thanks for the recognition. We’ll hopefully see you all on Twitter soon.

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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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