Instagram – The Future of Golf Consumption?

When it comes to the GOAT doing GOATY things, like hitting 120 yard bananas out of bunkers in Mexico, Instagram is the place where most people now see it.

Say what you like about Instagram, but it’s difficult to deny that it’s THE social platform going into 2019 and is showing no signs of going away. With engagement rates going through the roof, and 2 hours plus of screen time on the app alone a common theme amongst “millennials”, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that if you want to engage an under 30 audience then you need to be “winning on Insta”.

You’ll probably know that Tiger struck one of the shots of the century last week at the WGC in Mexico – that bunker shot – and shortly after it began reverberating around Instagram through stories, posts, DMs. (In the very small chance you’ve not yet seen it, shame on you and watch it here). Granted, the man is one of the most instagrammable (yes, that’s a word now) human beings ever, and him simply emerging from his vehicle with sunglasses on makes for a cracking 10 second clip, but the sheer reach that the video got was staggering. By 24 hours after the shot had been struck, anyone who was anyone who had any interest in golf had seen the shot and was talking about it. This is a great example of how the golfing world is leveraging the power of Instagram to increase engagement.

The problem usually with watching golf in the regular format on TV is that it lasts for 5 hours, 4 days in a row.

Who really wants to sit through all of that?

What’s more, that’s a hell of a lot of cameramen, cameras, editing, commentating and presenting to pay for.

Sure, that final 2 hours on Sunday might be exciting but, really, for most of the PGA tour events to most of the average viewers, the rest is just a load of guys in chinos knocking in 3 footers and tipping their caps.

Instagram viewing, however, is completely different and to be fair to them, the two main tours (European & PGA) are doing a pretty good job of taking advantage of it. After a few 20 second clips, a reply to your mate who sent you Dustin Johnson’s 543 yard drive on the par 5 10th and a quick look at the leaderboard, you can feel like you are fully up to date with the most important happening’s of the day’s play and in a great position to sit down and watch the crescendo of the action.

Golf, in its favour, has extremely watchable and engaging highlights, over and above what other sports can offer. There is something unique about a driver smashed with a pro tracer curving around a forest landing a few feet from the pin – it’s worth 10 seconds of most people’s time.

Hundreds of channels are popping up and capitalising on this fact. To name a few, ZireGolf, Golf Views and Robin Matthew Williams are three golf-related accounts who are creating and curating laugh-a-minute golf content.

One group of stakeholders who are falling down in the game of golf is Golf Clubs, who are missing out on a plethora of opportunities to engage a modern audience through the platform. Whilst their own accounts tend to be dull and boring (with a few exceptions), more importantly, it’s very rare to see a Golf Club offering content creation opportunities for their customers to take part in creating and share on Instagram, where the real value lies.

What’s for sure is that there’s a real future in consuming golf through Instagram, and the sport’s natural in-built qualities are a perfect match for it. I would not be surprised if more event organisers do not take an Instagram-lead approach to how their competition will be consumed, and I expect that governing bodies, golf clubs and courses better be making sure that their strategy ensures they are making the very most of the platform to engage the new generation of golf consumers.

Written by Harry McInley

Harry is Co-founder of 1PUTT Golf, a new golf event concept which reinvents the golf experience, to make the game more exciting, fast-paced and accessible for all player abilities.

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