Photo Credit: shutterstock
The Masters golf tournament bills itself as “A Tradition Unlike Any Other.” And, indeed, the event is one of the most cherished in all of sports. Even casual sports fans probably recognize the “Green Jacket” and all the other hallmarks of this tournament – the Par 3 contest, the Champions Dinner or even the famous pimento cheese sandwich.
But all of that focus on tradition has kept the Masters from fully embracing the social media era. Even today, fans (they call them “patrons” at Augusta National) can’t bring mobile phones to the golf course. It’s not just that they can’t have them turned on – they literally can’t even bring them to the golf course. If you’re caught using one, you’ll be escorted out.
For die-hard golf fans in attendance, that means no breaking Twitter updates delivered during a crucial putt, no photos of golfers uploaded to Instagram and no selfies added to Facebook.
Social feeds for the Masters
However, the Masters has finally accepted that it must embrace the social media era. And it’s doing so on its own terms. You might say the social media experience at this year’s Masters will be a very “curated” one.
Take, for example, the use of photos on social media. Your best bet here is to check out the official Instagram feed for the Masters (@themasters), which has 293,000 followers. There’s one perfectly shot photo after another. A gorgeous photo for the Par 3 contest includes a very simple tagline, “Explore the beauty of the Par 3 course.” That photo, by the way, has nearly 6,000 likes.
If you want to go behind the scenes at the Masters, you can check out the official Twitter feed (@themasters), which has already provided some great context for this year’s tournament to its 702,000 followers. For example, there’s a video clip from The Crow’s Nest and a portrait from the Champions Dinner. All very perfect, all very curated. You’re not going to have the hoi polloi ruin this for the Augusta National.
Branded social content at the Masters
Another option, of course, is to check out the content from the event’s two main sponsors, Mercedes-Benz and IBM. This highly curated social media environment suits them just fine, it appears, since it turns them into highly rarefied brands with all that exclusivity.
For its part, Mercedes-Benz plans to hit a hole-in-one with one of its official hashtags for the event: #PerfectDrive. Every time a golfer hits a beautiful, arcing shot down the fairway, you can attach this hashtag to whatever content you’re re-tweeting. (And, in the process, driving any of your friends who happen to own a BMW maddeningly insane)
And, just like the Masters itself, Mercedes Benz has a full complement of social media sites ready to go. There’s @MercedesBenzTV on YouTube and @MercedesBenzGolf on Instagram. And, of course, don’t forget to “like” MercedesBenzGolf on Facebook.
Golf perfection via social media
So, the Masters is no longer looking to ban social media, as they might have just a few years ago. But without the ability of patrons to bring their own mobile phones to the event, the view of the event that you get on social media will be a very curated one – every golfer will look regal and imposing, every view of the golf course will look stunning and exalted, and all video will be perfectly composed and edited, without all the glitches caused by live video streaming from rank amateurs.
Everything, in fact, will be traditional and perfect.
Take, for example, how the tournament is dealing with the rather delicate issue of “inclement weather.” (At Augusta National, this is the preferred term, not “rain”) The main website for the Masters shows a group of affable golfers dressed in white, hanging out at the clubhouse, looking out at perfectly manicured lawns, without a drop of rain in sight. The headline is simply “Suspension of Play.”
And what if you want to share this news with your friends on social media? Instead of social media sharing icons on Masters.com, there are only tiny icons for the two sponsors: IBM and Mercedes-Benz.
Yes, indeed, this is a tradition unlike any other.