I’ll never forget my first major championship. It was 2010 and I drove down for the US Open at Pebble Beach, a few hours south of my home in San Francisco. I had previously attended the Presidents Cup and the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship at Harding Park, both reputable tournaments. My plan was to spend the week in Monterey playing courses like Poppy Hills, Bayonet and Pacific Grove while attending the practice rounds and a few days of the tournament.
All fans were required to park 30–45 minutes away from Pebble Beach, where they would be shuttled along the “17 Mile Drive.” The distance from the parking area served as a reminder for how big and popular majors really are. There are hospitality tents everywhere to accomodate the packed grandstands that dominate every major championship venue.
Major championships are special — it’s where the golf cliches reign true. Memories are made to last — and every shot counts.
I’ll never forget it. On Sunday, I witnessed Shaun Micheel make a double eagle on the sixth hole and I watched Graeme McDowell kiss the elusive US Open trophy for the first time on the 18th green.
Since then, I’ve closely witnessed the setup for the 2012 US Open at Olympic spent the 2013 US Open inside the ropes (taking swing videos) and attended the Masters this year. Major championships (especially the US Open and the Masters) provide brands with the guarantee of increased engagement.
I’ve witnessed an unparelled shift in the Callaway Golf brand in the past two years. As an avid golfer, I’ve historically questioned Callaway’s marketing strategy but their recent rebranding strategy has made those discerning thoughts disappear.
Callaway Golf does a particularly great job of mass-producing content and driving traffic to their website, especially through their social media channels during major championship weeks. Here are some things to cool out for:
Callaway Golf is providing fans with the unique opportunity to “win Phil Mickelson’s paycheck.” Additionally, Callaway allows fans to feel like they’re part of the action with stunning golf photography, instructional videos, apodcast, and curated content. The mass production of content during major championship week creates brand loyalty for golf fans through increased engagement, resulting in higher website traffic and improved brand recognition.
Chad Coleman (@hashtagchad), the social media manager for Callaway Golf, provides fans with an inside look at his role as a golf marketer spending time with the world’s top players. Coleman’s commitment to interacting with fans while growing his personal brand leads to an increased trust in the Callaway brand.
I believe that every major golf brand should attempt to humanize itself and encouraging social media managers to tweet insider perspectives and personal opinions. Golfers are a loyal audience. The personal voice of any social media is an easy way to foster brand success.
Other examples of a successful social media presence include: Alex Fitzpatrick (TIME Inc.), Ashley Mayo (Golf Digest) Ricky Potts (Troon Golf), Adam Britten (previously at Taco Bell), and Eric Stangel (Late Show w/ David Letterman).
By allowing his brand to be synonymous with his job as a marketing director for Callaway Golf, Coleman has continued to lead the industry’s marketing initiatives. His love for the GoPro drone, the state of the Arkansas Razorbacksalong with his personal ancecdotes overall transparency about the game of golf allows fans to connect with the company in an unparalleled way.
Ultimately, Callaway leads the golf industry in the social media sphere. While Nike and TaylorMade have a create a bigger online reach, Callaway engages fans in a remarkably compelling and engaging fashion.
I don’t know how Phil Mickelson, Harris English or Gary Woodland will play this week. Nor do I know what the winning score at Pinehurst will be — or who will host the trophy on Sunday afternoon. But I do know one thing: Callaway Golf will produce an indellible amount of engaging content and attract amateur golfers through community engagement. In doing so, Callaway Golf will remind us that major championships are certainly the most coveted weeks of the year.