It’s fresh. It’s bold. It’s loaded with technical info and rock star-style imagery. It’s the newly redone GOLF magazine, and its launch is causing a buzz in the world of sports magazines.
“With this issue we set a new standard for our brand,” explains publisher Howard Milstein on Golf.com, “pairing innovative design and photography with the kind of journalistic vigor you’ve come to expect from GOLF.”
Milstein purchased the brand a year ago, with the goal to build on the title’s 60-year legacy.
“The cover and interior pages are larger and weightier to better reflect our commitment to quality and permanence. It’s big, glossy and bold. Despite these extraordinary changes, we’ve stuck to our most important assignment: to enrich and celebrate your game. I know you’ll enjoy it.
“The goal from day one was to build on the title’s legacy — 60 years strong as of this year — by deeply investing my own personal time and resources as publisher (in an era of corporate media ownership, a rarity to be sure) in the pursuit of excellence in content and aesthetics,” Milstein explains.
“The game deserves better. You deserve better.”
That mantra – better – is reflected throughout the design and production of the title, from its vibrant colors to its beefed-up size and weight. And like so many brands in this new era of audience-awareness, Milstein is clear on why these changes were necessary.
“Yes, we have a financial stake in the game,” he writes, “but what really powers our interest is growing and nourishing the life-changing opportunities that are always around the next dogleg. It was none other than my business partner and friend Jack Nicklaus, through his decades of giving, who inspired this approach, culminating just a few months ago with our $1 million donation in Jack’s honor to PGA REACH, a new endeavor by one of the game’s most important governing bodies, aimed at enriching the lives of youth, military and diverse populations via access to PGA professionals and the game itself.”
(I find it fascinating that two major titles in the industry are both leaning into this idea of positive change; last fall we covered the Golf Digest story of Valentino Dixon and how dogged journalism from their editorial team secured his release from prison where he was incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit.)
As for Milstein, he is blunt about where his loyalties lie, noting that they are a golf company, not a media company.
“… make no mistake — our most valuable relationship is with you,” he writes. “Without golfers, the game doesn’t exist. Our reimagined products have just one purpose: to inspire you to practice and play more. To demo and/or purchase that new driver or wedge (something you’ll be able to do on the new site), or book that buddies trip you’ve been putting off for a while. From the very start, our investments have been made with your needs and passions in mind. And I deeply appreciate the investment you’ve made in us. I promise: Big returns are headed your way.”
It’s fantastic to see this approach in action, and proclaimed in such a public way. We’ve been talking about the audience-first approach for a few years now as the best way through the industry disruption. Now we see more and more publishers accepting this idea and living it out in the pages of their publications.
Good work, GOLF. We’ll see you around the clubhouse.