April was Golf Digest’s best month of web traffic yet, with more than five million unique visitors hitting the site. The magazine aims to continue that upward swing this month and beyond with the help of The Loop, a new vertical that went live May 9. The mandate of The Loop is to group together what had previously been disparate blog posts and also embrace topics that lie well beyond the sport’s main fairway.
From Golf Digest digital editor Sam Weinman’s welcome message:
Though it feels like a fairly radical departure, we’ve actually done this sort of thing before. For years, Golf Digest has covered “golf lifestyle,” which at one point meant hand-rolled cigars and profiles of CEOs who frequented locker rooms with deep mahogany walls and leather chairs. Now The Loop is meant for all of us—those of us who change our shoes in the parking lot, who wolf down a beer and a granola bar at the turn, and who spend 18 holes running through a dialogue of sports, movies and underrated hangover cures.
Hired to oversee The Loop is Coleman Bentley, who was previously with Hearst and RedRocket. Among the writers contributing to the latest Golf Digest vertical are Grantland alum Shane Ryan and Jeff Vrabel, a regular contributor to Men’s Health and GQ. Last month, the site launched the branded vertical Golf World.
An example of The Loop spin into other realms is an item by Vrabel titled “A History of Politicians Getting Sports Totally Right.” The headline is tongue-in-cheek, with Vrabel touching on incidents like President George H. Bush asking who Mario Lemieux was during a visit to the White House by the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Ted Kennedy referring to Sammy Sosa as Sammy Sooser.
Here’s more, from today’s announcement:
“The Loop seeks to not only reflect the most intriguing conversations in golf, but the other conversations people who play golf have on a daily basis,” says Weinman. “That could mean Dustin Johnson vs. Jordan Spieth, but it could also be LeBron James vs. Steph Curry or what the hell happened last night on Game of Thrones. It’s all built around the premise that we usually have much more in common than the game itself.”
Adds Golf Digest head of revenue Jason Adel: “The Loop allows our partners to hyper-target a more millennial mindset audience.”