Golf’s YouTube era — Interview with LPGA rookie Gigi Stoll
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, Feb. 8, 2024
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — I was yesterday years old when I discovered “YouTube golf.” For those of you who are seemingly in the dark, like I was, it’s the latest phenomenon in the game of golf where normal recreational golfers mic themselves up, grab some buddies and play golf while providing their own commentary. One group in particular, called Good Good Golf, has captured the YouTube golf space by storm and created a flat-brimmed-hat, jogger-wearing movement.
Good Good Golf is a collective of six guys who travel around different courses while attempting trick shots and completing challenges for entertainment. But make no mistake about it, these guys are incredibly talented golfers (some are former college players), and they know the rules of golf, which is why I think it works so well. Well enough that they got Golf Galaxy and Peacock to sponsor and stream an event featuring a lineup of popular YouTube golfers and golf influencers to play under stadium lights for a two-man scramble.
A few notable names and pairings were:
- Garrett Clark and Grant Horvat
- AJ and Albert Pujols
- Frankie Borelli and Trent Ryan
- Matt Scharff and Micah Morris
- Stephen Castaneda and Brad Dalke
- Paige Spiranac and Cailyn Henderson
- Johnny Manziel and Cody Yalt
- Ryan Sheckler and Jimmy Hosleton
- Dave Roberts and Pete Wilson
Oh .. .and my brother, Gavin Parker (shameless sister plug!).
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As a spectator, I noticed several things. From the laidback attire to the on-course etiquette, it was difficult to distinguish who the fans were from who was playing … which is not a bad thing, in my mind. Golf has always had this element of separation, the haves versus the have-nots. Though recreational players can use the same equipment and wear the same apparel as professionals, there is still this clear delineation of “you’re not like us” that permeates through professional golf.
And despite the chaos of LIV and the PIF, calling out that mindset was something that they got right in “exposing” the PGA Tour. Golf can be and often is unattainable, and it shouldn’t be—and the PGA and LPGA Tours know this. Which why they’ve included former players as commentators now and incorporated phone-in interviews in the middle of broadcasting as a means to create more humility. Golf fans, especially the more casual fans, are looking to support players, not the tours. They are grasping for straws trying to find a relatable character in the game to emulate and show support. YouTube golfers give them that.
We deserve to have avenues that are fun and silly and make people feel included. Which is why it was so cool to see so many people out and about at this event. Women and their partners, kids with their parents, and, despite the fact I didn’t see many people of color (it was just my family and me … *sigh*), the environment was overall very positive. There were music and food trucks and just good vibes to be shared.
Although I don’t see YouTube golf being a part of my regularly scheduled programming, I am very much here for the space it is taking up in golf and I think it’s here to stay — especially with how much streaming is already engrained into how we digest sports.
Good Good is just one example of many styles of YouTube golf — there’s something for everyone. Whether you want videos exclusively for swing tips or watching people on their journeys to breaking par, the options are limitless (like an all-you-can-eat buffet).
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Five at The IX: LPGA rookie Gigi Stoll on social media, fashion and 2024 goals
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Gigi Stoll is a lifelong golfer who is embarking on a dream born from her dad—who had ambitions of his own to play professionally but gets to watch his daughter accomplish that feat. Stoll left Oregon for the desert, where she played for four years at the University of Arizona and won a national championship with her team.
After graduating, Stoll turned pro and has been competing on the Epson Tour for the last five years, but this past fall she battled it out in the Q-Series to earn tour status on the LPGA in 2024. In my conversation with Gigi, we talked about social media, building a brand and, of course, fashion.
Our conversation was edited and condensed for clarity.
Q: So I discovered you on Instagram and thought your clothes and vibe were super cool — can you tell me a bit about how you utilize social media currently? What type of content do you like to post? Is there anything you want to post more of?
I just like to keep it fun, honestly. I think a lot of professional golfers aren’t too interested in showing that side of themselves. … They have the opportunity to use social media platforms, and they really don’t.
And I feel like a lot of people want to know, you know, just the little things like tips or what people are wearing on the golf course — what’s in style, what’s trendy.
People who are avid golf viewers don’t get that stuff, because a lot of the professionals just aren’t doing it. So they go to influencers or they go to other things. And so I feel that my page is a good opportunity to kind of show both. It’s cool to show just like swag and honestly, just be able to, I don’t know, normalize professional golf, where it’s just like people can relate.
Q: How important is “brand-building” and social media as a rookie on tour? In what ways do you see the LPGA helping you gain more of a following?
It would probably be not so much for the on-course stuff, but behind-the-scenes things like what happens during a typical tournament week that a lot of people don’t know about. Whether it’s like a pro-am, or even just practice rounds or even preparation. Following along, you know, the day in the life.
I know they [LPGA] do some of that, but it would be cool to see a social team that follows us off the course as much as they do on the course and puts in a little bit more effort to push those stories that they’re trying to create.
They are certainly on the right track to doing that, or it’s kind of showing different variations of the everyday tour life of players on tour, but just a little bit more focus would be good, and even including players on the Epson Tour, too, that would be cool.
Q: Speaking of brands and gaining traction … talk to me about Malbon Golf. What’s the story there? How’d you get connected?
I actually used social media to reach out to Stephen [Malbon] way back in 2016, and so he and I were just chopping it up. We talked on Instagram, just like through the DMs, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Malbon Golf. I thought that what they were producing wasn’t like anything that anybody else was producing, and a lot of the clothing had this streetwear vibe to it. I like the way they collab with different brands. I just thought everything that they were doing was so, so spot on.
Around COVID they started sending me stuff, while they started popping off, but I wasn’t an ambassador or anything at that point. But last year on the Epson Tour I got my first win, and Stephen came to me and he was like, “Hey, we would love for you to just be a part of our team, whatever that means, we can figure it out.”
And so last year, we started working together officially. They started sending me a whole bunch of product, and I was stoked because all their stuff is what I dreamed of wearing. We started working together, and I was able to pick out a lot of the clothing that I was wearing. And I told them, hey, I want to wear the men’s line. I am not interested really in wearing the women’s … watching the women’s line wasn’t even a thing yet. [Author’s note: The Malbon women’s collection was released in July 2023.]
I wear a lot of like unisex stuff. It applies to men and women, and I feel like that’s kind of unique in a sense because a lot of girls just wear skirts and skorts and whatever it is, but it’s a new day and age. I feel like unisex clothing and just being able to wear whatever you want on the golf course is super important, and everyone has their own swag.
But I’ve just been super fortunate to work with Malbon. And now you know, we’re in a good partnership and I love everything they make, and I’m super excited to see the stuff that they’re launching in 2024. I’ve heard that it’s going to be the most fire that they’ve put out in a long time, especially with working with a lot of high-caliber golfers, so I’m really excited.
Q: What’s the Gigi go-to golf fit?
Yeah, honestly the Malbon Golf X Nike collabs have been really fire. Anything with the Malbon “M” script alongside the Nike logo on there is my go-to. All their clothes are performance-based, and then I can always throw on a pair of Jordans with them.
And then I probably have like a flat-bill hat on with some Oakleys underneath. That’s my go-to, for sure.
Q: What’s a goal you are willing to share with us for 2024? It can be golf-related or non-golf-related.
Probably the biggest goal is to get a win on the LPGA Tour. That would be a huge 2024 goal of mine. You know, just put in the work and let the results fall where they may.
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