Golf marketing expert: It’s time to move away from social media

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick February 19, 2022 10:58

A world-leading expert on marketing for golf clubs has said the industry should now consider moving away from social media and towards online ‘communities’ instead.

Andrew Wood, the CEO of Legendary Marketing and founder of the Golf Operator’s Association, who has run marketing campaigns for scores of golf clubs throughout the world, has said a mixture of social media algorithms and companies’ control over what message clients can send has significantly reduced the impact golf clubs’ marketing impact can have.

He said if golf clubs aren’t advertising on platforms like Facebook then, even if they have large followings, very few people will see their messages, while the adverts, as well as costing money, can also be ineffective.

“The way you communicate with your members or customers is changing rapidly,” he posted online.

“Facebook has changed the number of people who see your posts from 32 to 16 to 6.5 to one percent. Facebook now shows just one percent of your posts, mainly to the same 25 to 50 people who engage. What’s the point of that when you have 2,000 fans? Organic reach will eventually arrive at zero.

“All the time and money I spent building fan bases as large as 60,000 and now just a handful of them see my posts unless I pay! I paid tens of thousands of dollars to get these fans, now I have to pay for them to see my content.

“I am not saying you are not going to use Facebook ads to find prospects. I am just saying growing a social network where no one sees your posts organically makes no sense.”

Wood added that the big social media companies have become so authoritarian that even if clubs are advertising on them, the adverts could still be pulled.

“Facebook once banned me for two weeks because they did not like an ad I ran, the same ads I run for golf clubs week after week,” he said. “They would not tell me which ad or what I had done wrong, just that I had fallen afoul of their policies. No one to call, just a vague appeals process. Then suddenly it’s back on. No explanation, no apology.

“Google banned me from running ads because my book on sales promised to increase sales, apparently, you can’t do that.

“YouTube blocked a video because someone contested the music on it, although I had bought the license. But who to show it to?

“Twitter is one of the few social media I have not run afoul of but that’s because no one really looks.

“Perhaps you love Instagram, but have you ever heard of anyone in the golf industry using Instagram and adding a few thousand dollars worth of business?”

Wood says there is a cost effective solution however – a private social media network, or a community, or a social hub, which is an online social environment where users can choose who they connect with and access their personal information.

Probably the most famous example of this is the Facebook-owned Whatsapp, where groups have become a major trend in recent years. Another example is Substack, in which writers email articles to a subscriber base, which has also grown exponentially in the last couple of years.

“You need a private social network for your club where 100 percent of your fans see your posts,” he said.

“Last year in the USA alone over one million people launched private social networks. A private social network gives you the capability of Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Instagram, and a blog in one neat and easy-to-use package that you control. The concept can be used for any business but is especially good for any business that has members or frequent guests.

“I am also launching several communities for clients in the golf and resort business where I build and manage them. Members can add profiles, chat and create their own groups and content.

“Every post reaches every person, I get the email of everyone who signs up, any post you choose can be emailed to your list with the touch of a button – it creates a beautiful email for you, members can create their own subgroups and post their own content in the groups like the ladies’ group, seniors’ group or scratch group, it takes no technical skill to manage and you can monetise parts of your community.

“This is the future of social media and customer communication which, unlike Facebook or Instagram, you control 100 percent! The sooner you start your community the greater your advantage will be in your marketplace.

“In the golf industry, change is notoriously slow.

“In 1998 they told me no one uses the internet when I offered them websites. Next they told me their customers did not use email. Then that they didn’t use social media. Now they will fight the next wave of communication as they always do. Five years from now they will start looking at what they should have been doing today!”


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick February 19, 2022 10:58
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  1. Jon Gidney February 26, 13:11

    The last paragraph of that article sums up too many golf clubs unfortunately… Operating with out of date marketing strategies and afraid of change

    Reply to this comment
  2. Greg February 25, 08:32

    It is a way. As golf is having an in-scene character. But I also see some self interest here. But who is to blame? In the end we all are offering something good to have benefit from this, which is not a bad thing at all. I think in academic terms this is called innovation. by the way, we do this, too. Just no community. We crystallise rewards for Players, allowing clubs and golf facilities to spend their marketing Budget on those who love/like them: the Players. And we make comps more interesting, giving equal chances to win to those who normally don’t win. We call these Target Scores.
    #marketing #community #innovation #golf #surprize

    Reply to this comment
  3. TLowe February 23, 10:43

    … and yet the irony of then promoting those same platforms using the exact ones they say are dead!

    I spend £000’s on ads every months and both ROI & ROAS still exist. With billions of users they’re going nowhere in a rush.

    If you want something that’s going to be overlooked and misunderstood that’s going to be the #NFT

    Reply to this comment
  4. Orloff February 21, 11:28

    The correct social media platforms to be on, are the ones your customers, clients, and members are on, or the target market you are trying to grow.

    How do they want to be communicated to?

    Reply to this comment
  5. Jon February 20, 10:57

    Given the way in which big social media companies have become authoritarian extensions of supressive governments, it is clear that in due course consumers will start to turn their backs on them. And right so.There is more to come of what recently happened to FB with massive loss of users.

    Reply to this comment
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