Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Paging Global Golf Post

Following a suggestion from a long-time reader, I subscribed to Global Golf Post, a new Orlando-based digital magazine edited by Brian Hewitt (formerly of Golf Channel), in hopes that I'd learn something new about golf on this planet. Well, after reading their November 9th issue, I've come to the conclusion that the editorial staff put a lot more effort into their media kit.

Consider this: in their 19-page inaugural issue, Futures Tour Q-School got slightly more inches than the Mizuno Classic (and they were better inches, as they were drawn from a Lisa Mickey press release instead of from the AP). And that was it from the world of women's golf. Seriously.

Anything on the joint LET-KLPGA event with the silly name going on that week? On Hee Kyung Seo clinching KLPGA Player of the Year? On Shinobu Moromizato, Sakura Yokomine, Mi-Jeong Jeon, and Chie Arimura battling it out down the stretch on the JLPGA? On the sharp rise in dual LPGA-JLPGA membership attempts this year--mostly from Koreans on the LPGA planning to try out JLPGA Q-School in the last week of November and 1st of December? Or even on the no-brainer: the global nature of the LPGA's pennant races--the tightest since the days when Karrie Webb and Grace Park were challenging Annika Sorenstam for the dominance in wins, winnings, and scoring average? Of course not. But, hey, there was room for a moderately funny (and half-page!) top 10 to-do list for incoming commissioner Michael Whan. w00t!

I mean, come on! Not even a Rickie, Jamie, Rory, Ryo, Danny, Tadd, etc., Global Generation Next piece? Or a cautionary tale on the last crop of Global It Boys' recent travails? You got a week to get each issue out and this is what you come up with? Really?!

As for the sequel, well, I expected to have the link to it in my inbox by now and was eager to see what Hewitt & Co. decided to do with Michelle Wie's breakthrough win in Lorena's tournament in Guadalajara coming the same week Tiger won down under. Hasn't happened. Still waiting.

Opening-issue glitches are no big deal in the big picture. But they do make me worry that the Global Golf Post people don't yet get that their main competition is not print media. The week before their 1st issue came out, I learned more from the blogs on my sidebar and my twitter feed (and yes, the golfy media's web outposts) than they could gather and get permission to reprint. Yeah, it's great that they have Lewine Mair, Lorne Rubenstein, and Leonard Shapiro, among others. But if they don't approach content in a more comprehensive and creative way and really commit to covering the wide world of golf, they won't even be able to keep giving this thing away for very much longer.

To be sure, they're just getting out of the gates...have room to grow...are just finding their sea legs...and all that. Cliches well taken. But the last thing Global Golf Post needs right now is an "Attaboy" or "You go, girl!" They say they "know precisely what super avid core golfers want in a weekly golf publication...and as importantly, what they do not want." I call bullshit. It's not just that they're not even 25% of the way to that "weekly summary of the competitive game as played the previous week at both the professional and amateur levels, around the world" goal from their media kit. No, the problem is much bigger than that. As long as they rely on the "news, results, and commentary" model from print journalism, they are dead dead dead. How about artistry, background, and context? How about depth, expertise, and flair? Shall I go through the rest of the alphabet?

Seriously, the "super avid core golfer digital native" audience Global Golf Post is supposedly targeting already knows how to find out the results of pretty much any competition around the world and can find all kinds of news and commentary from existing corporate media web sites, high- and low-traffic blogs and microblogs, player and fan sites, and google searches. So basically the only ones willing to pay for this digital magazine down the road will be, uh, people who don't want to do any of that for themselves? Aren't those precisely the people who seem to be pretty satisfied with the online offerings of ESPN, Golf.com, Golf Channel, Golf Digest, Golfweek, Golf Observer, and Golfstat.com? Or at least who will reluctantly migrate to them when the last golf magazine has finally been printed? Last I checked, I got plenty of Tiger and Phil in Shanghai and Tiger Down Under from those sources. I don't need more of the same and I don't see why the "super avid core golfer digital newbies" that Global Golf Post is really targeting would, either.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not cancelling my subscription just yet. But basically I'm getting the feeling so far that I'm driving by a car wreck, craning my neck to see who was hurt, how bad the damage was, and what the paramedics are doing. That's not even close to what I was hoping for. Or what Global Golf Post could be and do.

[Update 1 (10:21 am): Whoops, turns out Hewitt doesn't pick up editing responsibilities until January 1, 2010, so I'll give him a little more time to change my mind than most people will give Michael Whan when he starts his job as LPGA Commissioner a few days later!]


Patricia Hannigan said...

"Tomorrow is today. The moment is now." ~ Global Golf Post Media Kit

...but then, in the @GlobalGolfPost Twitter feed yesterday, I read this: "Only a prototype issue this fall. We jump in full stream in January."

...which leads me to believe that the "tomorrow/today now moment" they referred in their media kit will probably happen in early 2010.

Another observation from their well-crafted media kit: the second line of the page describing their target audience profile reads, "Predominantly male, these golfers are passionate about the game of golf."

So yeah, it's pretty clear they're not going to be focusing too much on women's golf, because although men certainly follow women's golf more than women do, they probably don't follow it in numbers that would justify much space in what will undoubtedly be an expensive-to-produce publication.

LET-KLPGA? Futures Tour Q-School? All those amazing players on the JLPGA? In think we can be quite sure this kind of content will be a rarity in the Global Golf Post as it's not in line with their business plan.

However, a glimmer of hope can be gleaned from of their recent Tweets, this one indicating that Annika Sorenstam herself is WOMing for the magazine: "RT @annika59 Check out www.globalgolfpost.com This will change the golf industry as we know it."

So we'll see what ultimately materializes. The one thing you can be sure of is that independent golf bloggers of all persuasions will be clamoring to write for Global Golf Post for... free. Excuse me, for ... exposure, because that's what (most) bloggers do. And to that end the digital "Attaboys" and "You go, girls" are already being heaped upon @GlobalGolfPost.

So there's hope their daily presence may at least have some cutting edge (...and cost-effective!) content. ;o)

jason guest said...

I just stumbled into this quasi-diatribe, while "googling" for more Global Golf Post information. Upon perusing this, my mind immediately recollected the ole' saying, "the best predictor of behavior is past behavior". Well, the publisher of this design-for-digital magazine is none other than the past publisher/champion of Golf World, arguably the best Golf magazine, ever.

I guess we'll see...