How PGA Professional uses Instagram to market course
PGA.com has been publishing Instagram photos of golf courses for a few months and it's proven to be a crowd pleaser. One of our first photographers to share multiple (and creative) images was Greg Stephens, PGA Director of Golf at Victory Ranch Club near Salt Lake City. We talked with him a little bit about his use of social media to promote the game and his golf course.
PGA.com: What equipment do you use to take your photos?
Stephens: It’s all my iPhone 5, and, before the 5 came out, it was the 4. I think I have maybe one or two pictures out of all of them that were done with my Casio high speed, if I was really trying to capture a certain position. But I haven’t taken that out of the bag in the last two golf seasons. Everything the last two years has been strictly iPhone.
I’ve seen a lot of posts (on Instagram) from GoPro. I’ve used it plenty when mountain biking and snowboarding. I’ve never really incorporated it into golf. I’m thinking about dabbling with it a little in golf, because I’ve seen a lot of cool angles and a lot of cool shots from the wide fisheye lens. But right now it’s just the iPhone.
PGA.com: Your have more than 1,300 followers on your Instagram account, @Instgregs. How has social media benefitted your course?
Stephens: We always have people asking, ‘Where is that golf course?’ and ‘What are the green fees?’ We run into a little trouble, because we’re a high-end private facility. But if this was a public or a resort facility, you would be able to drum up a substantial amount business and increase your rounds through social media. It’s amazing how much more I could get, based on my Instagram.
PGA.com: What has been the key to your social media success?
Stephens: In my opinion, it comes from the hashtags. Some people think it’s dumb or don’t like seeing photos with tons of hashtags on them. But, in my opinion, that’s how you get your stuff seen. For me, there’s certain hashtags that I’ll always use with a golf photo, whether it’s ‘#golf’ or ‘#golflife,’ ‘#Nike’ or ‘#Nikegolf.’ The interest I’ve gotten I would have to point directly at hashtags, because a lot of time it’s people that I don’t know. It’s maybe people that didn’t follow me at first, but found your stuff through your hashtag and started looking through your page. It’s funny -- I’ve got people from the East Coast that have said playing Victory Ranch is now on their bucket list of golf courses to play. That’s pretty funny, because it comes from me just putting up a picture on Instagram.”
PGA.com: Judging by some of your photos, you’re kind of a sneaker head. How many pairs of golf shoes do you have and what is your most unique pair?
Stephens: I’m embarrassed to tell you how many golf shoes that I have. Honestly, a couple hundred pair. The Eric Koston golf shoe (is most unique). Along with being big into snowboarding in the winter time, I’m big into skateboarding. I don’t do it so much anymore, but I do a little bit. I grew up in New York and got my first skateboard literally before I was 2 years old. I started out sitting on my butt, scooting around. I pretty much lived on top of a skateboard until I was old enough to drive. Eric Koston is a skateboarding legend and he is a Nike skateboarding athlete and a scratch golfer. Because he’s so into golf, they made a couple of pairs of shoes last year. It’s a pair of really unique golf shoes, solid red with a black swoosh. The upper (part of it) looks just like his skateboarding pro model shoe, but it’s got a full-on golf sole on the bottom. So it’s a full-on skateboarding shoe converted into a golf shoe.