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January 16, 2018
Five Questions with Golf Digest's Cory Bradburn
Cory Bradburn, Digital Community Manager at Golf Digest
1) What excites you the most about leading Golf Digest’s social media team?
From my first interview with Golf Digest, I said I would always consider it an honor to be the voice of golf’s biggest publication. And I meant it. Nearly four years later, I still take that approach into my work. Golf has been a part of my life since I can remember, so having an opportunity to share everything going on in the game with our audience excites me the most. We want every single post to be valuable to our audience. Whether it’s a tip on how to fix a slice or highlighting the latest #SB2K fun, we want it to resonate with our followers and add to the complete story of the game. It’s interesting to strike the balance between the progress the game strives to make and the traditions it embraces. But most of all, I’m excited to give our audience a smart and enjoyable way to consume all things golf.
2) What was the “big break” of your career?
I took a risk and moved to New York (from Columbus, Ohio), with no job and about three months of money to live off of. Luck, timing and preparation had it that I found out Golf Digest was hiring for a social media manager about a month into my move. I’d say the big break was Ashley Mayo taking a chance on me, even though I had no formal journalism or media background. I studied science in college and grad school but learned my social-media skills through my own little side hustle. I showed I understood the platforms and the language that comes with talking about golf, but on her end, she put a lot of trust in me. I owe where I am in my career to her taking that chance on me. Thank you, Ash.
3) Who do you consider a mentor in the golf industry (or at large)?
I’m a big fitness guy. Whenever life feels off, I always focus on making sure I move and take care of my body first. Tony Horton, creator of P90X, was the first person who made it really click for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet him and talk with him a few times. Beyond his fitness obsession, the reasons I consider him a mentor is his attitude and enthusiasm he brings to life, along with his never-ending quest for personal growth. He treats people with respect and kindness, and I admire that. Plus, he’s made one helluva career for himself. He was recently diagnosed with a rare disease, but if anyone can overcome it, he can.
In the golf industry, one player comes to mind. There are so many good people in the game of golf, but Ernie Els deserves every accolade for his character that he’s earned, and then some. When I was eight-years-old, I snuck out to the putting green at Muirfield Village the eve of the first round of the Memorial with my dad. He was alone, practicing 10-footers, and I was just watching him, eyes wide open in awe. He looks up, walks over to me, bends down to my eye level, and says “I bet you’re a pretty good golfer,” and hands me a ball. Life. MADE. Later that summer, he won his first U.S. Open. (Coincidence? I think not!) Whenever my dad and I followed him — mind you, there were gaps of several years between when we’d watch him in person again — he recognized us. From such a high-profile guy at the peak of his career, that says a lot. He’s raised a wonderful family and contributed so much to autism research, and done so with the utmost humility. It’s tough to find someone in the golf industry with anything bad to say about the Big Easy. What a gentleman.
4) Where do you see the game headed?
At the professional level, I don’t think the game has ever been healthier. We have loads of young, relatable talent, and it seems like every rookie PGA TOUR class churns more out. Will we ever see someone dominate like Tiger did in his prime? Probably not in our lifetimes. But it seems harder to dominate with a deeper pool of such talented players. I think technology, science, and the bar-raising that Tiger did have all contributed to it. This has already trickled down to more competitive golf at a mini-tour, college, and junior level. And I love that the Drive, Chip and Putt Finals are held at Augusta National right before the Masters. What a dream come true for those kids.
We can see a slow, steady and healthy growth online. While I’m all for introducing new people to the game, I think it’s equally as important to focus on how to make the game easier, faster and more fun for those of us who are already invested. Golf cannot lose track of its core while it works so hard to “grow” in numbers. Growth, in my mind, also means improving the experience at every level for those who are already lifelong golfers. If it’s easier and more fun, then it’s less intimidating for beginners, which would be most beneficial to attracting and retaining more people who consider themselves “golfers.” If the overhaul to simplify the Rules of Golf is a hint, then it seems the powers that be are doing just that. If they continue to listen and adapt, without compromising the game’s traditions (easier said than done), then golf’s future is bright.
5) Which social media channel is your favorite, and why?
Instagram, by far. It’s the most visual, most engaging and easiest to navigate. It’s also our favorite platform to use to celebrate the game of golf. Instagram Stories has opened up a new channel for us to share more of our web content, while keeping the quality and fun of our page healthy, positive and fresh. As a brand, we post the fewest times per day on Instagram, but personally, it’s where I spend most of my social media time. We love seeing videos our audience submits, sharing beautiful photographs of courses and capturing the emotions of a dramatic tournament on our feed. It’s become a true powerhouse of our social media engine.