Golf is undoubtedly a beloved sport around the world, but to continue to grow golf’s popularity and ensure it is still thriving 50 years from now, the St Andrews headquartered R&A – the sport’s leading governing body – identified that the sport must evolve and attract new participants.
In order to progress further, the R&A undertook extensive research which revealed that the sport needed to provide a route into golf that meets different needs. This includes programmes that beginners feel comfortable being a part of, without pressure, large financial commitment, or expectation.
In response to this, the R&A and Scottish Golf created a new global campaign to attract a new generation of players to the sport. It did this by developing a portfolio of beginner golf programmes along with an online booking platform called Golf.Golf which provides golfing venues with a free, easy-to-use digital platform encouraging potential new golfers to sign up to local beginner programmes that can be enjoyed in a welcoming, relaxed and fun environment.
True North was engaged by the R&A following the development of the concept to drive interest in the new campaign and to organise a press launch with international singer songwriter and R&A ambassador Niall Horan.
True North identified that as the initiative was aimed at those who had not tried golf previously, the approach should be to engage sections of the media not normally involved in the game.
Working closely with R&A officials and using marketing insights provided by the Lane Agency, True North created a stakeholder map to identify potential supporters of the initiative within public life, along with an engagement plan from which a communications handling plan was developed.
Throughout the planning process, we took part in regular meetings with the R&A and stakeholders to ensure consistency of messaging and build relationships going forward.
Operating to a wide brief from the R&A, True North created a launch event to be held in the R&A’s World Golf Museum, prepared logistical briefings for all the attendees, issued invitations to the principals and arranged walk-throughs and written briefings. Briefing meetings were also held with Niall Horan’s management team.
Security around the event was a key priority and therefore we prepared a list of preferred media and briefed them on the event directly. National television, radio and print broadcast were all engaged. Separately, we secured a standalone interview in the Daily Telegraph sport section for Phil Anderton, the Chief Development Officer at the R&A, and we arranged a briefing session for him with R&A Communications prior to the interview.
We also entered into ongoing discussions with the Financial Times with regards to an additional interview to further drive global interaction for Golf.Golf.
During the event, True North pre-briefed the principals and the media before it began and then ran the photography and interview opportunities throughout. On conclusion of the event, we issued emails thanking all those involved, ensured media attendees had all the content they required and provided a read-out of the story’s performance during the day and on the day after.
True North secured national TV, national radio and national press coverage for Golf.Golf. Reach was around 10 million views via print, online and broadcast media.