Social Media Etiquette at the Golf Course

The partnership between sport and social media has never been greater. While golfers may not be as socially savvy as today’s Premier League footballers, they’re certainly catching up, and it’s not just professionals getting involved. We spoke to 900 golfers to find out how common social media usage was on the course. Overall, 54% said they have previously used social media at a golf course. That’s already a lot of online chatter, but the number jumps to a staggering 89% when we just look at those aged 20-29. With so many people now using social media at their local course, we’ve laid out our basic etiquette guidelines to ensure that the partnership runs as smoothly as possible.

Checking In

36% of those surveyed said they had previously used Facebook’s ‘Check In’ feature when attending their local golf club. As this aspect of the platform becomes more popular, what rules should both clubs and patrons follow to ensure it’s being utilised correctly? Golf Courses: Golf courses should make sure their social media channels have ‘Check Ins’ enabled. This allows golfers to share their experiences at your golf course easily while they’re there. It means you get a better picture of how a golfer’s visit has been and even gives you an opportunity to interact and develop a relationship with them. Golfers: Checking in at your local golf course can really help promote the club, but is also an easy way of keeping your friends and family updated on your latest golfing exploits.

Reviews

Reviews are nothing new, but just as services like TripAdvisor have increased the importance of online ratings, venue reviews on platforms like Facebook have also emerged as an important aspect of any business’s social media strategy. But, what should businesses do to encourage visitors to review them?

Golf Courses: Ultimately, good service is the best way to ensure your customers take the time to review you online. Other than that, use email and social to remind customers of the review feature. The more high-quality reviews you get, the better your star rating online and the more appealing you look to new customers and golf beginners.

Golfers: Reviewing your course is great for two reasons. Firstly, it means you’re engaging with your community and sharing your experiences to help other golfers make informed decisions about their choice of course. Secondly, if you enjoy your course it’s an easy and effective way of supporting them. Not everyone scours TripAdvisor, though most people now have Facebook accounts and can see where you’re recommending all in one place.

Photos & Videos

45% of golfers we spoke to said they regularly add photos compared to the 30% who upload video. Social media is an inherently visual medium, especially platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. 16% of golfers we surveyed use Instagram, and 11% use Snapchat, so although they’re still emerging compared to Facebook (54%) and Twitter (18%), clubs should get ahead of the curve.

Golf Courses: By having your own active accounts and sharing imagery from the course, you’ll encourage visitors to share their stories too. Why not share some of the best images from your customers and make them feel involved with your club? The more you foster a sense of community online, the more that community will be encouraged to share their imagery with you.

Golfers: Whether it’s Snapchatting your putt, or Instagramming a picture of your friends, many golfers now enjoy sharing imagery as part of their experience on the golf course. Be respectful, though, and remember that for older golfers, this may not be appropriate. Be discreet and don’t take images without asking permission of those playing first.

Hold-Ups and Slow Play

Golfers are already using golf technology on their rounds, with the introduction of golf gps watches, players can now make more accurate decisions in-play, making rounds of golf potentially quicker.

While only 35% of under 30s said they thought social media on the fairway contributed to slow play, a massive 70% of those over 70 said they thought it was a contributing factor. Here’s how clubs and golfers can work together to ensure it doesn’t become a problem:

Golf Courses: Set guidelines for players so they know where they stand when it comes to the use of social media while they’re playing. Slow play is already a contentious issue and if you see social media adding to the problem then it needs to be addressed immediately.

Golfers: Use common sense. If you know you’re going to spend a few minutes checking your social media accounts, then let players behind you play through. That way you have time to craft the perfect social media post and your neighbours don’t suffer as a result.

Do you use social media while you’re golfing? Do you think it contributes to slow play? Let us know on   Twitter