The Voice of Virginia Golf

By Jake Weyer

04/25/18

We’ve worked with the Virginia State Golf Association (VSGA) for over 20 years to help it communicate with members and prospects through its bimonthly member magazine, Virginia Golfer. We asked Editor Chris Lang to offer a little insight into life as the magazine lead for a busy association, and the impact of content on the group’s goals.

Being an editor can mean a variety of things these days. Explain your role within the Virginia State Golf Association and Virginia Golfer.
While I’m first and foremost tasked with the production of Virginia Golfer magazine, we do a lot more in communications than just print media. We strive to be the voice of amateur golf in Virginia, and we’re in a unique position to do so since we are involved in running or sponsoring so many competitions, which we also cover.

What is the ultimate goal of Virginia Golfer and how do you go about trying to accomplish it?
Ultimately, we want to be the publication of record for the Virginia golf community. Whether that’s telling the stories of professional events that come to the Commonwealth—like the Dominion Energy Charity Classic and Kingsmill Championship—or telling the interesting stories of individual members, or spreading the word about important initiatives that affect golf throughout the state, that’s what we try to accomplish. We try to keep an ear toward our membership and member clubs, always looking for ideas that might interest members throughout our association.

How does Virginia Golfer work as a brand builder or marketing platform for the association?
The hope is that the magazine can reach some non-members and give some insight into what we do as an association. We send copies to all of our member clubs. Especially at public and daily-fee courses that attract the more casual golfer, there’s an opportunity to spread our message through the stories in the magazine.

Why does print make sense for your effort, and what do you do to relay your message online? Do you see further integration or evolution of these platforms in the future?  
I don’t think you can avoid the integration of the two platforms as technology continues to evolve. The way people consume news and media has changed dramatically, even over the last few years. More people are getting all of their news and information from social media or news aggregation apps.Print makes sense because it’s a tangible, physical benefit for readers and members to consume. Social media is an important platform for sharing news and messages of the VSGA’s key initiatives, but like anything else, it’s continually changing. What worked two years ago may not work two years from now. It’s on us to keep up with those social media trends and use them to our advantage.

What are your biggest obstacles as a content producer today and what are you doing to overcome them?
As far as print goes, it’s timeliness. Our magazine is put to bed nearly four weeks before it hits mailboxes. How do you keep information relevant and fresh? A perfect example came in 2016, when Billy Hurley III won the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club. Hurley is a two-time VSGA Amateur champion, so of course, that victory was a big deal to people in Virginia. But it occurred so early in our news cycle that we couldn’t just write about that victory. It was very old news by the time the next issue of the magazine hit mailboxes in September. So we decided on a long-form profile about Billy the person, with the peg being that he finally had broken through for a victory on the PGA Tour. It worked well and was well received.

Touchpoint has worked with the VSGA for more than 20 years. What are the keys to that relationship’s success?
To me, the key is that we know each other’s strengths and work together in ways that complement each other. As I noted above, my background is in print reporting. I have some design experience in my past, but nothing at the level that Touchpoint provides. I’ve learned to trust the excellent editors and designers at Touchpoint, because they make my job easy and make us look great. My strengths are in writing and curating content. Touchpoint makes it all come together and sing. It’s a win-win for our readers.

Check out the digital editions of Virginia Golfer.