My engagement in social media has a degree of self-indulgence. So when Tuesday evenings at 8pm EST rolls around I give brief consideration to my followers who are not active participants in #GolfChat – there may be many tweets coming over that next hour – but also feel they are missing out on a chance to engage fellow golf enthusiasts (a more polite term than golf addicts). #GolfChat is a global twitter chat which bases engagement around the effective use of the hashtag, #GolfChat in all tweets. The one hour session is coordinated and led by Mr. Zeb Welborn, a savvy social media professional who has successfully merged his interests in golf and social media through his company, 19th Hole Media. Here, Mr. Welborn offers services to golf courses around effective marketing and relationship building practices. Very clever, indeed.

Reflective of his marketing genius is his ability to connect with golf enthusiasts from around the world using #GolfChat. I have participated in these weekly conversations for several months now. Each Tuesday evening, like clockwork, #GolfChat begins its steep descent up on the trending board of Twitter, in many cases staying there for hours afterward. The forum is moderated through an ongoing purposeful request for questions for the group to consider and each 10 minutes a new question is shared. Questions are all golf specific and vary around tour play, travel, personal experience and aspirations around the game. We address important issues like rule changes, growth of the game, rake placement, slow play, and tour performances to name a few, to more benign issues like what to eat at the turn or how many brands of golf balls are in your bag or the merits of 9 holes versus 18 (I prefer 36 myself). It’s relaxed, engaging and along with a feature where one #GolfChat participant gets his or her ‘profile’ shared each week, helps to create a welcoming community. Here was mine from a few weeks back (scroll down a bit to locate it).

Given the time, it is hard to engage Europeans (it is in the middle of the night there) but this does get strong representation from throughout North America and Australia. That said, the beautiful nature of the use of the hashtag is that anyone on twitter can search it out and review the thread of conversation over the past week. #GolfChat, like the game of golf itself, allows us to meet new people and enjoy the social aspect of the game. There are several Canadians who proudly represent the Great White North. (a couple regulars are and @brewcee )

A highlight was the surprise participation from LPGA tour professional Natalie Gulbis. She joined in, offering tickets to a tour event for the highest bid to a charitable cause she was connected to. She answered a few questions and raised money for an important cause. The #GolfChat experience allows me to connect and relate to golfers around the world, and perhaps that is why I enjoy it every week. Because golf, whether you’re playing as a single on a quiet morning, or part of a tournament scramble with people you do not know, has a strong relational aspect to it. Each week is a little different for me. Sometimes I dive right in and engage and others weeks I can simply observe. Like the game of golf, it is a new experience every time. I appreciate it allows me to engage and meet other golfers from around the world. So crack open a cold drink next Tuesday at 8pm EST and join in, even if only to observe. It’s a great community but that is not a surprise, after all, we’re golf enthusiasts (ok, addicts).