One of the great advances in golf over the past few years has been....in their marketing. Ads specifically, those awesome, fun, viral ads that companies such as Nike, Callaway, PING, Titleist and TaylorMade have been putting out in hopes that they invade everyone's Facebook and Twitter feeds. And guess what? They're working. People love them.
Certainly, commercials have always been important - but the way companies have "stepped up their game" in the last few years has shown the importance of the "earned media" impression. Hoping an ad catches the public fancy enough for them to "like, retweet or share" through their various social channels.
TaylorMade's lastest video, titled "Speed Police" is a great example of such an ad. From a first person perspective, it leads the viewer through a typical clubhouse, course, range and back to clubhouse via the eyes of a (mini) police car. The point? Actually, trying to enforce the need for speed (in clubs). (Perhaps a bit counterintuitive with police demanding speed, but it works here.) And, can't lie, the cameo by Miss Paulina Gretzky will probably help drive some social shares too, right?
Last year, Nike Golf led the way with their "Sorry Mr. Tiger" and "No Cup is Safe" ads. This year, you can expect to see a whole slew of similar ads - all more creative, clever and engaging than the last. And the winner of this blitz? Us, the consumer. We will laugh, smile and discuss them for months to come. Whether it directly leads you to the nearest pro shop to make a purchase or not, it will get you talking about a particular brand. And then, they are winners too.
Tell us, what's your favorite golf ad ever? Share with us on our Facebook page.
Follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim
As the Waste Management Phoenix Open enjoys another raucous and enthusiastic crowd, I posed a question as to whether the fan experience at the annual party at TPC Scottsdale was actually a better "fan experience" than the uber-hyped Super Bowl.
It got me thinking. What are the best fan experiences in golf?
This seemed easy - or so I thought.
A fan experience can take many forms. Is it seeing top players (Hello Augusta!)? Is it being able to be loud and rowdy (Goodbye Augusta!). Is it seeing a beautiful course (Hello Augusta again!). Let's just define it as: something you'll enjoy, remember and treasure.
Here are five of my most notable, listed by date. But we want to know yours, as well. Join the conversation on our Facebook page.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open. Jan. 30-Feb. 2. It's a combination of Mardi Gras, a college pep rally, a Friday night bar crawl - oh, and some of the world's best players. All the attention (rightfully) is on the 16th hole where the crowd is always the star of the show, but the entire tournament, course and city is pretty much one carnival for the largest crowds in golf. If you believe that beer, sundresses and sunshine make for a good time - this is your event.
The Masters. April 10-13. What's the complete opposite of the Waste Management Phoenix Open? This. Meticulous grooming of the course, sweet tea and lemonade is often the drink of choice. Lots of blazers (look for the green ones!) walking the fairways. Great prices on food. You know virtually every hole on the course. And every golfer in the world wants to be there. There are more rules in place here (no running ... ever. No laying down, no cameras/cell phones on tournament days, etc.) but virtually every golf fan in the world is happy to abide. It's that awesome.
The Players Championship. May 8-11. Here it all boils down to one hole - the famous 17th. The island green has become more than a favored viewing spot, it has become a Shakespearean tragedy - being played 145 times (for two days at least), and again 140+ times on the weekend. The crowd sits on the bank and "ooohs" and "ahhhhhs" at every shot. The shot is so simple, and yet, no lead is safe. For sheer lump in the throat and kick in the gut intensity, watch a few groups come through this hole on Sunday. You'll remember it the rest of your life.
Play the ball as it lies!
Unless...it's on an alligator.
North Port, Fla., resident Jack Dupre was playing out at Myakka Pines golf course when he hit a somewhat wayward shot. A shot that could have very well ended up in the hazard ended up - well, in a different kind of hazard. Pretty sure it's a free drop (if you can get the ball).
His playing partners did what all good playing partners would do. No, not consult a rule book, call the pro shop, caution their friend about safety....no, they grabbed their phones and started taking pictures.
Flashback: Golfer loses fingers to crocodile in Cancun
PGA of America Championships
Benton Harbor, Mich.
Baltusrol Golf Club
Hazeltine National Golf Club