We all know how integral to our lives social media has become, and if you've been paying attention in the golf space, you know that the big equipment companies have mastered social media about as well as anybody in any industry.
But here's a first: Callaway is teaming with LinkedIn for ''Hit the Links,'' a social networking contest in which golfers and a foursome of their LinkedIn contacts can win a trip to Callaway headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif., for a round of golf and a custom clubfitting.
Here's how it works: You log into the LinkedIn Connect API. It then looks through your contacts and recommends a foursome for you.
The three connection types that the API looks for to fill out your foursome are:
--The Company Insider: Someone within your company. The API seeks out a golfer first, but if one isn't available, then it selects the person with the most appropriate title.
--The Business Contact: Someone in your network and industry that you have the most connections in common with.
--The Golfer: To find the passionate golfer in your network, the API references attributes such as interests and group membership. The person with the highest number of connections in common will be selected.
And if you don't like the API’s recommendations, Callaway says, you can ''mulligan'' them out and pick your own foursome.
''We are disrupting the traditional influence models in golf because golfers' expectations about how they experience brands has changed dramatically,'' said Callaway Senior Vice President Harry Arnett. ''This partnership and concept are exciting because no other company has used LinkedIn's API in this way before, and we're using it to connect passionate golfers.''
For Callaway, the ''Hit the Links'' campaign follows the ''Tweet to Unleash'' introduction of its RAZR Fit Xtreme driver earlier this year. In that Twitter-based campaign, Callaway used real-time social conversation to unlock information about the driver, breaking ranks with traditional product announcements and marking a first for the golf industry. And before that, Callaway's ''Holiday Hit the Pin'' sweepstakes on Pinterest was the first time a golf manufacturer had meaningfully connected with golfers on that space, by encouraging them to create a board with their dream bag of Callaway clubs.
''Hit the Links'' launched yesterday and runs through May 24. For more information and complete rules, visit CallawayHitTheLinks.com.
Just a reminder, the entry deadline for the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is April 30.
The Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is free to enter, and open to boys and girls ages 7-15, who will compete in four age categories.
The event is supported by the Masters Tournament Foundation, The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association. The finalists in the various age groups will compete in the national finals next April at Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters.
To read more about Drive, Chip and Putt, click here.
And for more information and to register, please visit DriveChipandPutt.com.
If you've been keeping up with Bubba Watson on social media over the last month or two, you know he's become fast friends with the gentlemen from ''Duck Dynasty.''
Mostly, Bubba's been on their turf (or in their blinds). But today, the duck-calling crew is returning the favor – they're at TPC Louisiana for pro-am day for the Zurich Classic.
Charlie Rymer of the Golf Channel has posted a few funny shots of the gang on Twitter, and I only wish he would pass along what everybody was laughing at. The photo above is my favorite so far – because of the duck dudes, and also because of Rickie Fowler hanging out on the far left.
If one thing is not like the others in this image, it's him. Rickie looks like one of those people you see at sporting events who get on camera and then have to call their buddies to at home to make sure they're watching!
Ironically, the pro-am was delayed shortly after noon by rain – or, as we used to call it, duck weather.
While Bubba was hanging out with the Robertson clan in New Orleans over the last few days, by the way, Rickier was in Austin, Texas, for the big Moto GP motorcycle race at the Formula 1 track.
May is typically the month when the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort typically punches its greens and performs routine maintenance on its golf courses. Not this year, though – the resort is hosting the NCAA men’s and women’s Division III national championships, and the courses will remain in top shape throughout the month.
The college kids aren't the only ones who can take advantage of the extra-long prime season at Sandestin. The resort is offering a Spring Swing package to lure golfers – no matter their collegiate loyalty.
The package includes three nights and three rounds of golf, along with unlimited use of the practice facility and practice balls. Also included are golf car and greens fees, a $20 beverage cart credit and a Nike wedge.
The golf portion of the package includes one round each at the Raven Golf Club, Links Golf Club and Baytowne Golf Club. And in between rounds, vacationers can visit The Village of Baytowne Wharf, an assortment of casual and fine-dining restaurants, bars and nightlife, and boutique shopping. Beach access, a marina, fitness facilities and numerous organized activities are also available on-site.
The Spring Swing starts at $172 per player per night based on quad occupancy in the Bayside complex, and at $253 per person per night based on double occupancy in the Village units. The price includes all taxes and fees.
The package runs through May 22. The Division III finals are set for May 14-17, as 21 women's teams will compete at Baytowne and 40 men's teams will play at the Raven and the Links.
For more information, visit www.sandestin.com.
Redstone Golf Club, home of the Shell Houston Open for the past decade, has a new owner.
Fort Worth, Texas-based Escalante Golf is buying Redstone GC, whose Tournament Course hosts the PGA Tour each spring (the facility also includes the Member Course) from the Redstone Companies. Also included in the deal are several other Houston-area properties: Shadow Hawk Golf Club, the Houstonian Golf & Country Club and BlackHorse Golf Club (North and South Courses).
''These iconic clubs and courses have excellent reputations in the local market with unique designs and overall experiences,'' said Escalante Golf President David McDonald. ''We will build on the foundation created by The Redstone Companies to enhance every aspect of membership and public play.''
These six courses join a portfolio at Escalante that also includes the Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.; Crosby National Golf Club in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Country Club of the North in Beavercreek, Ohio; and Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto, Fla.
''Escalante has built a strong portfolio of golf properties across the nation,'' said Redstone CEO Robert Henricksen. ''Shadow Hawk, the Houstonian Golf & Country Club, Redstone Golf Club and BlackHorse offer a great complement to Escalante's portfolio, while helping to expand their reach into the state of Texas.''
The 36-hole BlackHorse GC is widely considered the premier daily-fee facility in the Houston area, while Shadow Hawk and the Houstonian are among the city's most exclusive private clubs. Both Shadow Hawk and the Houstonian feature Rees Jones-designed courses. The Tournament Course at Redstone is a Rees Jones/David Toms design, while the Member Course was created by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy.
The price for the transaction was not disclosed.