There are plenty of people out there who are mad passionate about the game of golf… but there can’t be many interviews that start like you’ve arrived in time for an AA meeting:
“Hello, my name is Steve, and I am a golf addict.”
I first heard about Steve’s I Bleed Golf website (or IBG as it is often now referred to) last year – via Twitter. At the start it was a personal golf adventure but the site rapidly gained momentum in the latter half of 2012. I asked him about IBG’s evolution.
“The initial idea was to document what it was like being an average hacker, the trials and tribulations,” said Steve, who plays off 10. “I knew from the start that I didn’t want to comment on Pro Tour news because I’ve often felt that the majority of people who play golf are underrepresented by mainstream media. My blog was going to be about the stuff that rarely gets reported.”
What made you change it from a personal site into the site it is today?
“I soon found out that there were many other golf nuts out there who felt the same as me. I think people could relate to the ‘brand’ and the philosophy, and that IBG was a place where they could meet like-minded golf nuts. We amateurs all go through the same highs and lows on and off the course, and it’s important to take a moment to laugh at ourselves and each other.
“One element of IBG is to challenge top down, big corporation marketing messages. Don’t get me wrong, my bag is full of branded clubs, but there are too many news regurgitation golf bloggers and sites and too many club manufacturers telling us LONGER is EVERYTHING. The majority of us ‘happy hackers’ are never going to become Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy. I like to think that IBG is addressing the balance in its own tiny grassroots way, a voice for the weekend golfing warrior.”
I BLEED GOLF
www.ibleedgolf.com is a variety of interesting and entertaining golf stuff. And when I say stuff, I mean the normal things that amateur golfers obsess about, from putting woes to the price of green fees to how to tackle difficult shots, as well as fun stuff that eludes Pro Tour websites and pokes fun at the average amateur.
It is an alternative golf site that focuses on the real challenges that amateur golfers face, under the aptly named hashtags: #lovegolf and #laughalot
IBG actively encourages contributions from its readers (I’ve contributed twice) as Steve believes there are many great writers out there who are interested in documenting their golf ‘conquests and conflicts’ and plenty more who want to read them and empathise.
“Hopefully,” says Steve, “they will consider IBG as a resource for promoting their stuff. To date, we’ve received some fantastic and funny articles, photos and videos from golfers all around the world.”
Where did the name I Bleed Golf come from?
“When I first started the blog a couple of years back, I thought about what I wanted to convey. I came to the conclusion that golf was not ‘something I did’ but rather ‘a big part of my identity’. That got me thinking on visceral, raw instinctive terms. ‘I heart Golf’ was too cheesy, it needed to be a little more edgy and, in a sense, have an element of black comedy to it.”
Who is your audience?
“The audience is global, between the ages of 22 – 55. The majority of our traffic comes from the USA, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Canada and Australia.”
MOVING FORWARD - NEW IDEAS
We all know there are hundreds of golf sites out there, from small, niche affairs (such as mine), to all-encompassing global behemoths (such as golf.com). In the midst of this, IBG has been a breath of fresh air and Steve hopes to expand it further.
“To date we’ve been running on a very small budget, next to nothing in fact. We’re going to start looking to generate some revenue through advertising and sponsorship, and there’s been a very positive response to our limited edition merchandise. If there’s demand for more then this could be a really exciting area. We feel the IBG style lends itself to some very creative merchandising possibilities and already have some cool ideas for the future. We’re also thinking of organising an annual tournament or two.
|IBG’s first foray into merchandise is the IBG hat. They carry the IBG ‘plaster’ golf ball and the www.ibleedgolf.com domain on the back.|
What sort of contacts are you making within the business?
“We’re meeting some fantastic people – amateur and pro players, coaches, equipment manufacturers, golf websites and media companies. It’s so encouraging that people see the value and uniqueness in IBG and are willing to help/offer advice. I was also lucky enough to meet my partner in crime and IBG graphic artist, Herb McNally, from Philadelphia. We make a great team.”
There’s a lot of support for IBG, so go check out the site – see what it’s all about, contribute if you want and remember IBG’s simple philosophy: #lovegolf and #laughalot
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