“If we could just get people to get to the
club, they’ll love it,” he said. “All my strate-
gies are designed to get people out to the
CEO and Co-Founder, Nextgengolf
Kris Hart played three years of varsity
golf at Bryant University. But when he
graduated in 2008, he had a dilemma.
How could he afford to play as much
quality golf as he had in college on a post-grad budget?
“It stunk,” he
said. “You re-
ally take golf for
granted as a var-
He knew he
wasn’t the only
with the afford-
ability, or lack
thereof, of golf.
So he did something about it. In 2011, he
founded College Golf Pass, which offered
reduced green fees at participating facilities for college students.
Things really took off in late 2012 when
Hart’s company merged with the National
Collegiate Club Golf Association, which
hosts college club team competitions. Before the merger, 50 teams were on board
with the NCCGA. Now there are golfers
from more than 500 colleges. Rebranding
was in order, and the new name, Nextgengolf, allowed Hart to widen his audience to all golfers between the ages of 18
and 34. Now, Nextgengolf has a community of more than 20,000 people.
In 2015, Nextgengolf will host 120
weekend tournaments for non-varsity
college golfers and 49 tournaments for
golfers ages 18 to 34. Working with young
golfers undoubtedly calls for a lot of social media engagement.
“From an industry perspective, we can
all do a better job at storytelling,” Hart
said. “Visually is the way to go.”
Hence Nextgengolf’s most recent social
media campaign, #clubgolf. Nextgengolf
isn’t asking users to post photos of their
trophies or practices. They’ll do that on
“We want tweets with pictures of team
dinners, practical jokes they play on each
other, volunteering with The First Tee,”
said Travis Richardson, business development manager at Nextgengolf. “That’s the
side of golf you never really see.”
President, Welborn Media,
19th Hole Media
After figuring out how to find new clients through the Internet for his tutoring
business, Zeb Welborn realized he could
make a lot more money and enjoy his
work more if he applied it to his passions:
marketing and golf. Out of this discovery
eventually came 19th Hole Media.
Golf is in his blood. His great-grandfather, William Sime, a 19th century Scottish club maker, came to America with
one possession: a letter of recommendation from James Braid, the famous golf
champion and course architect.
Welborn’s first client was Los Seran-nos Country Club,
in Chino Hills, Calif., where Welborn
previously worked in
the cart barn and pro
shop and as a teacher.
That was four years ago. Now he can cross
cart barn off his resume and add author.
Last year, he co-wrote “The Social Golf
Course,” which outlines ways for courses and clubs to effectively promote their
course through online channels.
“We titled it that because traditional
golf courses relied on traditional meth-
ods of getting the word out, which has
changed,” Welborn said. “In order to
become a social golf course, it’s not just
through social media. It’s about thinking
Just as you would recognize a golfer for
getting a hole-in-one in person, Welborn
wants golf facilities to recognize them
online as well. He stresses the need for
authenticity. Real pictures of real things
matter most, he said. Too often he sees
golf courses or clubs using Facebook
pages to send sales messages, rather than
Join us for the golf industry’s most
event of the year.
Get the latest ideas in marketing and operations for private or public courses
from the most innovative people in marketing, including:
Steve Graves, President, Creative Golf Marketing
Zeb Wellborn, President, Wellborn Media
Andrew Fleming, Sr VP, KemperSports
Michael Phelps, Co-founder, Pipeline Marketing
at the Golf Inc. Strategies Summit
September 30, 2015
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