If core golfers are socially devoted, why aren’t more golf courses?

Posted by on August 30, 2014 in Golf, Post To Home Page, Social Media | 0 comments

If core golfers are socially devoted, why aren’t more golf courses?

A few years ago the National Golf Foundation performed research to find out how engaged core golfers were in digital and social media.  The results of its study clearly indicated that “core golfers” are very active in social media.  So why aren’t golf courses taking advantage of the opportunity to engage with them to help grow their business in this struggling industry?

social media golf courses

Core golfers…

  • Play 85% of the rounds and contribute 85% of the spending in the US golf industry
  • Are more engaged with social media and consumer-generated content than the general population

Now check out these stats…

To prove to myself that golfers really are socially devoted, I put together a quick ad on Facebook targeted at men and women over the age of 21 who like golf in the USA and Canada. The potential reach (i.e. total size of my target audience on Facebook) for that ad was 16.8M people.

I then decided to check in my own backyard – British Columbia. Canada’s Golf Capital has

  • 196,000 BC golfers with a Facebook account
  • ~250 golf courses, only 72 of which have a Facebook page

Next, I checked what BC golf courses were active on Twitter and was disappointed to see again that less than half of the courses in the province actually tweet. And for those who do, few tweet regularly.

In fact, the BC golf course with the largest following (5,762 people) hasn’t tweeted in over 2 months as of this posting.   The course with the second highest following hasn’t tweeted in over a month. Together they have over 10,000 followers and they’re not engaging with them – in peak golf season!

So although golf is a highly social sport and BC golfers are socially active, BC golf courses suck at social. Why? Here’s what I keep hearing…

  1. I’m too busy
  2. I don’t get ____________ (fill in the social network of your choice, but most often I hear people say “Twitter”)
  3. I don’t know where to start or what to say
  4. It’s difficult to keep pace with social media technology changes

I’m sure none of these are new to you. And yes, some are valid points. But in the end, I believe the reason golf courses don’t excel at social is because they just don’t see its value and so they aren’t committed.

Oh sure, they’ve heard all the hype and seen the big golf brands (players, media and manufacturers) with huge fans and followers, but they don’t believe they can achieve financial success through social media without a substantial investment in time and money. But they are wrong.

Time

You can be successful at social media by working at it just 1 hour a day (or less), with the right tools (for posting, scheduling and curating content) and training.  Consider sharing the work among pro shop staff and guest services during slow periods.  Time is not the problem if it’s managed properly.

Money

Day to day management of social media does not have to break the bank if you do it in-house. Limit your outsourcing of social media to:

  • Setting up profiles and updating them when Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. make major changes to their user interfaces
  • A Kick-start program which teaches you and your team “how to fish” with hands-on training, tool recommendations and support to make the day-to-day management of social faster and easier.

Still not convinced?   Maybe this will help. Did you know that (Source):

  • 93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media
  • 53% of people on Twitter recommend products in their tweets
  • 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations (only 14% trust advertisements)

So now ask yourself…”If 85% of the spending in golf is being done by people who use social media to choose products, travel destinations, courses to play and clubs to join, what do I need to do to connect with these spenders and capitalize on this growing trend?”

I think you know the answer – Your golf course needs to embrace social media, not just pay it lip service, and it needs to do it now.