The Country Club of Jackson, a 27-hole facility in south central Michigan, considers itself a family-friendly club. The vibe means superintendent Ian Daniels feels comfortable using social media to show more than turf, especially when golf activity slows in the late fall and winter.
“I like to sprinkle in some family stuff,” says Daniels, who moved to the Country Club of Jackson last April after a successful run at the Teugega Country Club in central New York. “I think at a private country club it’s important for members to see both sides of it. It’s not a professional-only account. The feedback I have received is that members like to see the personal side of it so they can understand me as a person as well.”
Family pictures and Clemson football posts are part of Daniels’ impressive Twitter game. But he used his popularity @EanDaniels account — which has amassed more than 3,000 followers — to describe the intricacies of maintaining the fabulous Donald Ross design at Teugega Country Club. He’s resorting to a similar blend of imagery and descriptions to provide turf-level insight into the Country Club of Jackson, which features 18 holes designed by Arthur Hammwho worked as a field superintendent for Ross, and nine designed by Arthur Hills. Daniels also isn’t afraid to enter industry conversations on Twitter.
His enthusiastic and thoughtful use of the platform has landed him a 2023 Super Social Media Award in the Best Twitter Feed category. The annual awards honor the best of turf on social media. All 2023, 2022 and 2021 winners will be recognized at the 12th annual Golf Course Industry TweetUp — #GCITweetUp23 — scheduled for 3 pm Wednesday, Feb. 8 at Aquatrols Booth #2373 at the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show in Orlando.
In advance of #GCITweetUp23, we spoke with Daniels about all things Twitter.
What do you hope others learn from your social media usage?
Honestly, I’m hoping our members learn the dirty stuff that we do, the things behind the scenes they don’t realize. I’m hoping they see their golf course in a light that often they don’t see it in. We see angles and things like the sun coming up in the morning that they don’t see sometimes. There are things that we pick out that maybe the golfer doesn’t think about or see all the time, because we are just on this property so much more than they are. I try to show them a different perspective that maybe they haven’t seen before.
What do you learn from your industry peers on social media?
The main thing that I have learned is don’t compare yourself to what somebody else is doing because you don’t know all the details. Every place is different. Early on when I started on Twitter, I started comparing what I was doing at the course I was at to what other people were doing. I always try to engage and ask questions on people’s posts, and to try to get into a conversation. There are good conversations that happen. I did that as a way to meet other people in the industry and to develop a relationship. But I got into a conversation about wetting agents and later on I was talking to that individual at a conference, and I realized I was working on a 100-year-old, push-up golf green and he had a USGA-spec, straight sand-based green where they are strictly hand watered. It was completely different worlds. I was trying to compare moisture meter readings to him, and I thought, ‘OK, these are not even apples to oranges. These are apples to watermelons.’ The big thing that I have learned is to get into discussions with people but be careful with comparisons. You don’t know the budget. You don’t always know the details and what the expectations are. You have to be careful because you can be really hard on yourself.
What do you see the future of social media being in the turf workplace?
I think it’s going to be something that we continue to do. Unfortunately, our social media preference is Twitter, and I don’t know what the future of that is. There are groups on Facebook. I don’t like them as much. I’m not on Instagram. I’m not on Snapchat. I’m not on these other things. I love Twitter because of what it has meant to our industry specifically. I know some people have migrated to some other social media platforms, and I don’t know how that’s going. I have seen some negative things on Twitter, too, within our industry. It’s not all positive. There’s some negative communication and people not supporting each other. The social media world changes independently of the golf industry. There could be a time we just lose Twitter, so we might have to use something else. I like it because our members and people who want to find me can find me. I’m the type of person where I want people to find me. I don’t lock down an account. Even on Facebook, if members send me a friend request, I’ll accept it. I feel like transparency is the best thing for me personally.
Guy Cipriano is Golf Course Industry’s editor-in-chief.