The Good Good Desert Open might not have been tailored to most traditional golf fans. And frankly, it wasn’t really for me. However, I was impressed at the production value of the broadcast, and at how many people made a point to watch live golf played by a group of influencers, celebrities, and, of course, Michael Block. As of Thursday afternoon, the YouTube stream from the event has over 700k views. At one point during the broadcast, more than 100k people were streaming the tournament. For reference, as I write this, ~20k people are currently streaming the first round of LIV Las Vegas on YouTube. I know, I know, some of you LIV fans are going to tell me that’s misleading because of how many people stream LIV tournaments on LIV Golf Plus, but until those numbers are published I’m not going to assume they’re breaking any records over there.
So, what worked about the Desert Open?
First, there is clear demand for well-presented golf broadcasts showing alternative formats. The Good Good featured two-person teams playing a scramble on a golf course comprised almost exclusively of par 3s. (Note: somehow Michael Block did not win.) Not every tournament needs to be a 72-hole (or even 54-hole) stroke play event.
And secondly, YouTube and its 2.49 billion monthly active users are not to be ignored. Last August, Bryson DeChambeau posted a nine-hole match with Phil Mickelson to his YouTube channel. That video has racked up 2.1 million views so far.
Considering golf’s difficulties attracting a younger audience, YouTube provides an intriguing opportunity to meet young golf fans where they are. Good Good’s impressive viewership numbers on Wednesday night may point to where the real growth opportunities lie.
This piece originally appeared in the Fried Egg Golf newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.