Saturday, March 13, 2010
What Makes a Good Golf Blog
There has been quite a bit of talk on the tweet-wire and in other blogs over the past weeks about what makes a good golf blog. I can't think of a better way to voice my opinion on the matter than in my own golf blog. I know I have no right to tell anyone else what they should like, or what's "right". This is about the kinds of blogs I like to read, and conversely about the kind of a blogger I want to be. So, for lack of a better way to organize these thoughts, here are my rules of blogging. Some are things writers should do, some are things writers shouldn't do. Some are basic, some are pretty touchy. They're in no particular order, but the more of them you hit the more I'm going to like your blog. 1) Don't use your blog to try to sell something or some service. I'm not interested. Really, I'm not. 2) Spelling, usage, and grammar. We may be the best hydrated generation in the history of mankind, but we're the worst writing generation as well. I don't need "U r", and I don't need "their" where "they're" is correct. I don't need "here here", when "hear, hear" is the correct response. And know the difference between "effect" and "affect", please. 3) Don't fall for the "easy story" temptation. There was a lot of this going on last year. From KP winning the Masters to Tommie winning The Open, there were easy stories all over the majors last year which did not materialize. As a writer, you have NO RIGHT to complain about how the tournament ends, all you should do is to cover it. 3a) Don't write about Tiger if he's not the story this week. He's the greatest. We know. The fact that he's working with his swing coach right now is not a bigger story than who won last weekend's tournament. When he plays, which he does rarely, he's the story. Other than that, please apply rule 3. 4) Play the game. I play the game. I love playing the game. I struggle with my game. I want to hear about your struggles with your game. This makes it a lot more real. I want to hear about your missed putts and your shots of the year and your shanks and about your solid iron play. 5) Don't be a news-linker. I don't rely on your blog to keep me up to date with the latest and greatest golf news. There are trained professionals who do this a lot better than you ever will. Just because you link to some article from golf.com or Yahoo Golf or GolfChannel with a full five word prefix doesn't make you a good blogger. It just makes you a glommer-onner. If you want to comment on current golf events I would suggest that you, well, actually COMMENT on current golf events, not just link to somebody else's article. 5a) Keep it personal. I can get news and mainstream media from a lot of other places. Your job is to put your personal twist on A) Current golf events, B) Golf history, or C) The state of your own golf game. If you can't do either of these three, you're in the wrong business. 5b) Tell us about your diamonds in the rough. When you do find a cool, unique golf spot on the electronic Internets, do let us know about it, and let us know why you like it. This does NOT include the "Tiger's not playing next week" blog with a link to golf.com. 6) Pictures. Golf is a very visual game. Whether your story is about a golfer or a golf hole, a picture of it does a great deal to carry the story forward. While a pictures may not literally take the place of a thousand words, that particular saying didn't spring out of thin air either. 7) Have a friggin' sense of humor. Golf is a lot like life in this respect: If you can't approach it's ups and downs, it's birdies and sand traps, with an even keel you're just being blown to and fro by the slings and arrows of outrageous golf fortunes. 8) You're not Hank Haney. Unless you're talking about the way a certain technique has helped your own personal golf game, don't avalance us with glorious golf tips and other magic pills sure to cure our slice, yips, duffs, blades, three putts and chili dips. Guess what? You can't fix our golf game through a blog. At best you can tell us what worked for you, and we can then make the decision as to whether to apply that to our game. 9) Don't be TMZ. We love golf, and we love golfers. That doesn't mean we have an immersurable need to know everything there is to know about every golfer's private lives. While it's true that pro athletes who make millions off endorsements for public consumer products don't have a right to request privacy when it fits them, that doesn't mean us golf fans want to know and hear your opinions about every single thing that goes on outside the ropes.