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How Snapchat Can Help Grow Golf

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The National Golf Foundation says that “Avid Golfers” (those that play at least twice a month) currently number 6.2 million golfers in the U.S., down from their high of 10.2 million in 2000. It’s no secret that participation in the game of golf has been in decline, and almost everyone can agree the best way to grow the game is to ignite interest from millennials and America’s youth. Past solutions have only slowed the decline, however, and the majority of kids today would rather play Minecraft or watch Netflix instead of hitting a little white ball toward a hole in the summer heat. At least they think that’s what they’d rather do.

If you’re on GolfWRX, there’s a good chance you’re also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You may not use Snapchat, however; an app that has been spreading across the country. Fourty-one percent of people 18-34 in the U.S. use Snapchat, and usage continues to grow.

One of Snapchat’s main features is the use of what are called “geofilters.” You take a picture, and depending on your exact location, various geofilters will appear. These are small visual overlays that you add on top of your picture. Here’s an example of a geofilter in New Burgh, New York.

snapchat-mllnnl-3

If you take a look at any social media platforms today, the top shared content is either a picture or a video. It just so happens that golf courses can make absolutely stunning pictures and videos. Think about it; I’m sure you have that one hole at your local course that’s gorgeous at sunset.

Snapchat is all about sharing your experiences with your friends, and the new feature that lets businesses buy a custom Snapchat geofilter at an inexpensive annual rate could bring a huge return on investment for golf courses.

The current rate for a custom geofilter seems to be going for about $450 for 20,000 square feet. Of course, it would be insanely expensive to geofence the entire course, but if you stick with the balcony of the club house and maybe the gorgeous tee box on the 18th hole, then that $450 investment might pay off big. If golf courses are really trying to become more popular among the 18-34 year olds, why not meet them where they are, and where they are is Snapchat.

If only five people per day take a Snapchat, see the geofilter, and add it to their story, then that’s about 500 impressions every day. Multiply that by 365 days = 182,000 impressions. That’s $2.47 per 1,000 impressions, which isn’t that expensive. Plus, it’s not an annoying ad. It’s a friend suggesting friends that this place is cool and you guys should come here.

A Snapchat geofilter could have an exponential return as well. As more and more people come across the geofilter and share it with all of their friends, their friends are going to come play and share it with their friends. And on and on. If golf courses are really trying to gain interest in what could be the next generation of avid golfers, it’s time to talk to millennials in their preferred medium. Social media is here and it’s here to stay. Businesses that learn to shift and pivot will win and those that don’t will lose.

I got in touch with Grant Cardone, a real estate and marketing mogul, who had this to say about Snapchat.

“I’m 59 years old, I have hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate, and I use Snapchat as a tool to grow my brand and business.”

Just like Mr. Cardone has utilized Snapchat to grow his company, the golf industry needs to capitalize on this new opportunity to grow the game among the next generation of golfers.

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Joe is studying business at the University of Georgia. He loves golf and occasionally writes for WRX when he's not studying, hanging out in downtown Athens, playing the university course, or managing his social media marketing agency, Samuel 17. With golf participation on decline, he recently discussed how golf courses can use social media to increase revenue.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Phil Yang

    Aug 25, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    The golf industry needs to focus on retaining the golfers. I left my club in disgust because the lousy way I was being treated. The club focused very hard in trying to recruit new members but stopped trying to accommodate current members. If the golf industry made sure the current golfers are happy to be golfers, that may create a more desirable effect than bending every which way in an effort to attract new golfers. Personally, I’m intrigued more by other’s passionate endeavors than by somebody trying to trick me into liking something I’ve no interest in.

  2. Katie

    Aug 24, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    @Ryan I think the article is bang on in terms of appealing to the 18-34 target. Youtube requires a lot more resources (video content, filming, editing, promotion of finished content), Instagram doesn’t exactly have rave reviews when it comes to ROI for ads and the majority of that demo is one of the smallest/least engaged targets on Facebook (especially when looking at ad stats/view rates). I’d say using Snapchat to engage 18-34 year olds is a smart, cost efficient, time-saving solution for golf courses and any brick and mortar businesses as long as they promote their usage of Snapchat properly.

  3. Allan A

    Aug 24, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Millennials and American youth only play golf to clown around and display their humorous incompetence. It’s not a sporting event, it’s a bash. Nobody that age takes golf seriously as a worthwhile pastime.
    If you want to grow the game in these age cohorts you gotta make it cheap, even free for an introductory period. Nobody is gonna pay hundreds of $$$ to clown around for 5 hours on a golf course.

    • Joe Burnett

      Aug 24, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      While I do see your point, I will have to disagree because I and many guys I play with are not ones to “clown around incompetently”. It’s important that people learn the rules and respect the course as well as the people playing around them- absolutely. Fortunately, not all millennials and teens are immature, and many actually have a passion to improve their scores. If golf continues to not capture the interest of the next generation, it will continue to see the number of avid golfers slide to record lows.

  4. Port

    Aug 24, 2017 at 10:10 am

    People waste enough time on the phone as it is we don’t need it trickling on to the golf course.

  5. Ryan

    Aug 23, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    So… interesting article – I especially appreciated the CPM breakdown of just five snaps per day. Smart approach.

    However, a more thorough (and potentially richer overall) article might have detailed the advertising options available to golf courses/businesses across all of the social platforms.

    In particular, you gotta be careful with the following language: “If golf courses are really trying to become more popular among the 18-34 year olds, why not meet them where they are, and where they are is Snapchat.”

    If one was targeting Americans 18-34, it wouldn’t be difficult to argue that Facebook, Instagram or YouTube might be a wiser investment of a golf course’s marketing dollars.

    • Joe Burnett

      Aug 24, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Thanks for the comment Ryan! I definitely think golf courses should utilize other social platforms, particularly Instagram then Facebook. I have a client on doing Facebook & Instagram ads now seeing around a $11 CPM. I think Snapchat is something that local businesses should jump on because of the value it provides in relation to other advertising platforms. Of course Facebook & Instagram are much more scalable in comparison to Snapchat Geofilters, but overall, a Snapchat geofilter particularly will give you more bang for your buck. Maybe I will write a follow up piece about Facebook, Instgram, & YouTube!

  6. carl spackler

    Aug 23, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    is this really a thing? i dont want to grow the game if it means i have to play behind group snap chatting half the time

    • Joe Burnett

      Aug 23, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      I definitely agree with pace of play. However, this is an additional reason I think golf courses should stick with the minimum of 20,000 square feet for their geofilter. Give players the opportunity on to use the filter only on the beautiful 18th hole and watch more and more people come give golf a try.

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We arrived to Launceston Airport in Tasmania just before sunset. Located on the Northeast Coast of Australia’s island state, Tasmania, Barnbougle is almost as far from Sweden as it gets… yet it immediately felt like home when we arrived.

Launceston Airport, Tasmania. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

The drive from the airport was just over an hour, taking us through deep forests and rolling hills before we arrived to Barnbougle Golf Resort, which consists of two courses — The Dunes and Lost Farm — a lodge, two restaurants, a sports bar and a spa. Unfortunately, it was pitch black outside and we couldn’t see much of the two courses on our arrival. I would like to add that both Johan and I were extremely excited about visiting this golf mecca. We later enjoyed a tasty dinner at the Barnbougle Lost Farm Restaurant before we called it a day.

The locals at Barnbougle Dunes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

The next day, we woke up early and got out to The Dunes Course as very first guests out. Well, to be quite honest, we weren’t actually the first out. There were a few locals — Wallabies, lots of them — already out on the course. The natural landscape at Barnbougle is fantastic and my cameras almost overheated with the photo opportunities. After two intense hours of recording videos and producing photos both from ground, we headed back to Lost Farm for a wonderful breakfast (and view). After our breakfast, it was time to try our luck.

“Tom’s Little Devil.” Hole No.7 at Barnbougle Dunes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Before describing our experience playing the courses, I would like to mention about Richard Sattler, a potato farmer and owner of Barnbougle. In the early 2000’s, Richard was introduced to U.S. golfing visionary Mike Keiser, who had heard about his amazing stretch of farmland in Tasmania and came down to visit. Mike convinced Richard that Barnbougle (which at that stage was a potato farm and still grows potatoes and raises cattle today) might be perfect for creating a top quality golf course.

After an introduction to well renowned golf architect Tom Doak and the formation of a partnership with former Australian golf pro and golf architect Mike Clayton, the development of the Barnbougle Dunes Course commenced.

The walk between the 4th and 5th holes. (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Featuring large bunkers dotted between fun rolling fairways shaped from the coastal dunes, Barnbougle Dunes offers the golfer some tough challenges, in particular on the first nine. This is indeed a course that will entertain all kinds of golfers.

After our round, we looked back at some fantastic highlights such as playing the iconic 7th hole, a short par-3 called ”Tom’s Little Devil,” as well as the beautiful par-4 15th. We were just two big walking smiles sitting there in the restaurant to be honest. Lets also not forget one of the biggest (and deepest) bunkers I’ve seen at the 4th hole. The name of the bunker is “Jaws.” Good times!

As a small surprise for Johan, I had arranged a meeting after our round with Richard Sattler. Richard, ever the farmer, entered the car parking just in front of the clubhouse in a white pick-up van with a big smile un his face. We talked to Richard for almost 30 minutes. He is an extremely humble man and left such a warm impression on us. Richard explained the Barnbougle story: how it all began and the property today.

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(C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

Barnbougle Dunes is a real treat to play for any golfer and will leave you with a sweet golfing memory. Compared to the golf courses available on the more remote King Island, Barnbougle is accessible (given Tasmania is connected by better flight connections) and the hospitality and service at is much more refined.

The golf resort is one of the absolute best I’ve been to. I can also highly recommend playing Barnbougle Dunes; I had great fun and you can play it in many ways. Tomorrow, we will be playing and experiencing the other course at Barnbougle: Barnbougle Lost Farm, a Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw course with 20 (!) holes.

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