Social Media and Golf
I have now officially passed the milestone of writing the blog and using my Instagram account for 18 months so I wanted to find out what other people thought of social media for golf. I recently posted the following question on my Instagram story:
Do you feel social media has helped your golf game?
The question sparked lots of conversations with my followers, some of whom I had never interacted with before and there were lots of interesting opinions. I’ve included some of these in this blog post with their permission.
I will start off by writing about my thoughts on this topic as I have personally found social media to be very helpful for my golf game but I use it in certain ways which really boils down to the following: for motivation, sharing the journey, promoting ladies golf and networking.
Firstly, social media keeps me motivated to play. There are days when I probably wouldn’t go out and play but I want some material for the blog and I can’t think of many occasions where I’ve regretted doing this. I don’t think I’d be in a position now with a handicap or have had the confidence to play in competitions without the blog because for the first time in my life I’ve actually played more consistently and not had a break for months at a time.
The blog is my golfing journal to share the highs and lows of my golf journey and having support especially when you’re at a low is great. It’s always nice to know that someone else knows what you’re going through. This was reinforced again very recently when I posted a video of me throwing my driver in anger and frustration. I don’t often let golf get to me so this was incredibly unusual for me but I have an injury that flares up from time to time and the only thing I can really do to get better is just rest. I knew from the shot I hit on the course that I would have to take some time away from the game to recover which is of course hard when it’s the main activity I use to relax. I received some really lovely messages of support and people checked in with me to see how I was doing weeks later. I was able to step away from playing golf but still keep up the golf motivation by continuing to network with my followers and whereas before I probably would have stayed away from the game even longer, I was able to get back out and play a round a few weeks later on holiday. I’m back to resting now! My confidence has definitely skyrocketed from the blog too thanks to the great words of encouragement. I remember how nervous I was about sharing my very first swing video and now I just post anything that is a true and honest reflection of where my game is.
Social media has given me a platform to discuss ladies golf (hence the name!) and that has been so rewarding. I’ve managed to talk to lots of beginner lady golfers, share my experiences with them and answer their questions. I’ve even been interviewed for a podcast which would not have happened without the blog. I’ve always said that I’m not here to be in the spotlight and I’m not a pro - I just want to help as many golfers as I can and without being big-headed about it, knowing that I have helped some people (in whatever small way that might be) is an incredible feeling.
Finally, social media has been so important to me from a networking perspective which I’ve mainly covered in the points above but aside from that it has given me the ability (and confidence) to play with followers in different countries and from the UK. I have travelled to some of the beautiful courses I have seen on Instagram and added many more to the bucket list! I have also made new friends from the blog that I would probably have never even come across before and that is thanks to the shared passion we have for golf.
Before I share what I do not use social media for, here are a few excerpts of just some of the messages I’ve had from my Instagram followers which echo my points above:
@thisdadgolfs: “Helps game in the wider sense – friendships you build, networking and chances you get to share with people who have a common ground encourages me to play which in turn improves my game…If it weren’t for others on here I would not be as inspired to play and try to achieve my goals.”
@rookie.golfer: “Helped me enjoy golf more, and not to beat myself up about a bad round. It has also helped me get into golf more as I write a blog and do reviews now as well.”
@bogies2birdies: ”By sharing the ups & downs with other golfers, I feel I’m not alone on the course.”
@robjonandrews: “I’ve met new people to play with. Playing a harder opponent always helps you up your game.”
@jondavidsongolf: "At times it hasn’t but mostly good…everyone is so positive! Such a supportive community."
@enablegolf: “Provides consistent and constant inspiration and seeing people better than you can only help.”
@kjpgolf: "It has helped me explain my love of the game to people who may not be so enthusiastic."
@richard_b_86: “It’s given me more confidence not necessarily with techniques but with playing with new people and not be afraid to just go out and have fun.”
Richard’s comment above leads me nicely onto the next points which are what I do not really use social media in a golf sense for. I follow lots of pros on the blog and will look at drills and techniques from an educational point of view because I like the science behind the golf swing so I will try to understand the basic principles behind them and they are good reminders but I really rarely go out and practise them myself. I have a golf coach that I respect and who really understands my swing and there are probably two other people that know my swing inside out and how far I can hit my clubs. I think it is very easy to fall in the trap of what the Internet in general provides and that is “information overload.”
This led me to ask the next question on my Instagram account:
Would you say you mainly use Instagram to find swing tips/drills?
There are so many different golf accounts on Instagram and lots of helpful drills and techniques but it is important not to think that there is an easy fix for any golf issues you are having because this is bound to lead to frustration. I often post about the drills I am working on from my lessons but I always use the caveat that what works for me won't work for everybody. Once again, I had some great conversations with my Instagram followers about this and here is an insight into some of those:
@globalgolftraveller: "I think some of the tips can be timely reminders of getting the basics right."
@muttleygolf: “Don’t use it for anything to do with my swing; just as I didn’t use paper magazines. It’s easy to get conflicting advice so I only take on board advice when I have a lesson from a pro... I mainly use social media for golf courses/architecture. Social media helps me loads in that regard, and therefore my enjoyment of the game, it’s just not helping 'my game'.”
@simplesimondoes: “I've been playing golf long before social media was a thing. When I learned the best way to start was to go and get lessons from a qualified pro. You learned the basic fundamentals and were set with a good foundation for life... with social media anyone with a phone is giving advice and instruction to anyone who can listen... have no idea of the quality or accuracy of the advice, other than the word of the person giving it and their follower count."
@golfing_on_the_daily: "I have used tips found on YT/IG and it has helped me stop slicing/shanking the ball but then no too and I’ve now watched too many people on these platforms and it has now confused me with different information and now I have too many swing thoughts going through my mind. I now don’t watch any swing tip vids and only talk to the pro at my club as too many opinions start to get confusing and conflicting which negatively affects my swing."
I really do not think there is any good substitute to having a lesson with a professional who can analyse your swing and give you tailor-made drills. However, I understand that lessons are expensive and also that some of the videos on social media are very helpful and might make something click in your head that goes on to be very beneficial to your game. I just think the advice should be taken cautiously and if something doesn't work for you do not take it to heart.
One other negative point about social media is one that extends to all kinds of account - not feeling confident or good enough. I posted a video on my Instagram story and account with the words "genuinely just play your game" and I cannot emphasise this enough. It is easy to get lost on social media looking at other people's posts, seeing how many followers, likes, views and comments they have and forget that your account is your own space. You should post what you like without worrying about what other people think or what reactions you will get from it. Post a video of your golf fails - I still top the ball from time to time, have an awful ball flight and completely chunk it! You will be surprised at how many people just appreciate the honesty from your posts. I don't think chasing a follower count will ever make you happy because you will never be satisfied. I've been asked many times how I get readers to the blog or followers to my account and my answer has always been that I just use social media as my golfing journal - if one person looks at it then that's great and if they don't it is still a space for me to look back on my golf journey. It is all too easy to get addicted to social media and I believe as soon as you feel like you are, or it is making you enjoy your game less, it is time to step away and take a break. Any genuine follower is there to support you throughout the journey.
In my opinion, it is important to remember that golf is played out in the real world on a golf course and social media is just there to support and motivate you. Your game is your own and you should always be true to yourself.
Happy golfing (and try not to copy what I do in the one second video below too much)!