Pinehurst is fortunate to have a history filled with some of golf's most memorable moments. Thanks to people like Alex Podlogar and smart planning, they combine the highlights of the past with marketing opportunities in the present.
Gregg: Alex, give us a little backstory on you and how you ended up at Pinehurst running content and PR.
Alex: My background is in sports journalism. I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1998, and after that worked as the sports editor for two small daily North Carolina newspapers for about 12 years. My family, though, moved to the Pinehurst area when I was starting high school and continues to live here, so even after leaving for college and working in newspapers, I was familiar enough with the area and close enough that I was able often to cover high-profile events at Pinehurst, such as both the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens as well as the 2008 U.S. Amateur. I play golf recreationally, so I know the game fairly well.
About seven years ago, I was anxious to get out of newspapers considering the issues facing the print industry and was able to work as a sports information director at Division-II Fayetteville State University, where I served more of a media relations role and content creator. When Pinehurst had a position open for a social media and content manager in June 2012, I was very fortunate to come on board.
Gregg: Where was that point in Pinehurst’s more recent history?
Alex: My start date was almost exactly two years predating the 2014 U.S. Opens, which obviously gave me a lot of content opportunities. Given a camera and video editing software, I was allowed to chase as many opportunities as I could fathom, and over the next two years found myself using my journalism background to effectively create a wide range of news and feature items. I wrote feature stories around the resort, authored news releases and chased video interviews of celebrities and professional golfers, ranging from Phil Mickelson to Arnold Palmer, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and many more.
During the U.S. Opens in 2014, Pinehurst.com was redesigned for the two-week period to mimic more of a news site with much of the U.S. Open-related content I developed being served in feature blocks. I created much of it myself, but also managed a team of freelance writers and photographers to continually provide a behind-the-scenes aspect to U.S. Open coverage.
Following the U.S. Opens and after assisting in the months leading up to them in a media relations capacity, I was promoted to more of that role, which is what I do today, though I still develop content for and manage all of our social media channels.
Gregg: Speaking of Pinehurst, this is not your ordinary golf brand. What does it take for someone in your role to really understand, appreciate, and master that history as you speak for the brand? What was that learning curve like?
Alex: Fortunately, I spent all of my high school years living near Pinehurst, and the area is so connected to golf that I had a fairly rich background in it before I ever worked here. That said, I find it very important to be able to give a voice and personality to Pinehurst on social media, but one that correctly reflects what Pinehurst is about. You’re right – there’s A LOT of history here, but that’s what I love most about this place. I was a history minor in college, and Pinehurst is blessed with a terrific archival library, so that’s been a valuable resource whenever there’s an opportunity to learn more.
Gregg: Talk about that library a bit. Because a library is only useful if you know when and where to look for things. How does pinehirst weave that history into your content calendar to create timely content like this?
— Pinehurst Resort (@PinehurstResort) June 16, 2017
Alex: Fortunately at a place like Pinehurst, there are significant moments in every era in golf history. A few examples:
And that’s just the golf. We haven’t even hit on the origin of Pinehurst – for example, Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed NYC’s Central Park, designed the layout of the village of Pinehurst – or the historic hotels. Sure, it’s a lot, but in this business that’s a good thing.
Gregg: In your eyes, why is that such a good thing?
Alex: The reason it’s a good thing is because even though Pinehurst Resort is a business, we have a story to tell as well. It helps that in the last 17 years, Pinehurst directed the making of two beautifully done documentaries, which are part of what you’ve seen as content clips like the aforementioned Tweet. But we also write in-depth feature stories, we cover the events that happen here daily and, though it’s not of professional quality, we shoot a lot of and produce a lot of our own video.
Pinehurst, unlike Pebble Beach and Bandon Dunes, does not have sweeping ocean landscapes on its famed holes. But unlike many places, Pinehurst does have such a rich history that it’s been hailed as The Cradle of American Golf. While our website Pinehurst.com may tell you the “Hows” of Pinehurst – how to book a trip, how to get on No. 2, how to get to Pinehurst – we hope our shareable content provided across all platforms are the “Whys” of Pinehurst – why Pinehurst is important in golf, why history matters, why No. 2 is special and why a guest should consider visiting us.
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