Senior PGA Championship sets new highs as most socially connected senior golf event ever
By John Kim, PGA.com Coordinating Producer
ST. LOUIS -- When you think seniors, Twitter probably doesn't come to mind. When you think golf, Instagram doesn't seem to be a natural platform. And when you think senior golf – well, let's just say that even Facebook turns up zero results with those terms (one 'group' for "senior golfers" – it has 108 members and updates a time a two per month). Golf – tournament golf, especially for the older folks – just doesn't translate to the social media craze. … Or does it?
The 74th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid will no doubt be the most 'socially-connected' senior golf event in history. Though that claim is unofficial, the sheer volume of accounts that will be covering the event all but makes it absolute.
The Senior PGA Championship itself has an official Facebook page, Twitter account and even an Instagram account. But the reach of this event will extend far beyond those platforms. Using partnerships, dedicated resources and even the players themselves, the action from Bellerive Country Club this week will be covered extensively in the social sphere.
"Nothing can replace seeing a major championship in person or the visuals you'll see on TV," said Julius Mason, the Senior Director of Communications & Media Relations for The PGA of America, as he shared why the social experience this week matters to the Association. "But by reaching the community of golf that lives and enjoys the game on these platforms, we are placing the most prestigious event in senior golf in front of an audience that has already indicated they love golf.
"We want them to not only see the action, but feel like they are a part of a special experience – whether here at the championship, home while viewing it or even while at work or a little league game, wherever life happens to take them," Mason added. "It's not just about providing information now, it's about conversations and dialogue with the fans."
To that end, the championship itself has four dedicated social media correspondents. Each day, they will cover all areas of the event – inside and outside the ropes – to give views and perspectives that traditional media simply doesn’t have resources to share. Other media, sponsor and association groups will also be taking part in the social conversations, thus saturating the social landscape with Senior PGA Championship posts.
In fact, when the first tee shot is struck on Thursday morning, there will be nearly a dozen Twitter accounts with significant followings (including PGA.com with more than 100,000 followers, the Champions Tour account and the KitchenAid Golf account) all tweeting out updates from Bellerive. Add to that, the hundreds of thousands of 'fans' on half a dozen Facebook pages and there is an obviously significant audience being reached.
Maddie Marshall of The PGA of America Championships Department is coordinating the social efforts for the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. "Our plan is simple: these separate accounts all connect to different audiences but have one singular purpose in mind – to engage and inform golf fans, both at home or here at Bellerive Country Club. We want to take this championship from a passive enjoyment to an active participant for fans and players alike."
The championship will also benefit from the strong social presence of its presenting sponsor, KitchenAid.
Said Deb O'Connor, Director of Global Partnerships for KitchenAid, "Our brand has put a major emphasis on our social media channels to connect with golf and cooking enthusiasts around the country, and we work closely with The PGA of America to engage with fans about the KitchenAid Fairway Club, chef demonstrations, leaderboard updates, and more."
Fans, media and even players will be joining in the conversation all week. You can take part or just follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #SrPGA.