The Stuff Question
"Without ads, who would pay for the media, the Good Fairy?"
The April issue has landed with a thud, and the cry you hear is from some readers who are working their way into the editorial. Here's David. "This is the situation that your editorial board has reached with your magazine. Do we want Golf or just stuff? We all know what golf is. And we know that, when we can find the articles, they are pretty good about golf, players, courses, etc... Getting to the articles is getting impossible because of all the stuff. It is eight pages to get to the table of contents which is printed just like the ads so it is easy to miss. There are enough renewal cards to fill my recycle bin. There are enough oversized, thick ads that just flipping to a page is damn difficult. I expect this behavior from those editors of fashion magazines. Not serious sports magazines. Please change. Or I will."
David wasn't alone. Jeff Welch and Joe Bonn both wrote about "annoying" heavy-stock inserts and the number of reply cards. We hear you. In fact, you've long been heard, and Golf Digest has for some time maintained limits on thickness and frequency of inserts. In a huge issue such as April those limits are tested. We walk a difficult line here. The fact that we have Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, Hank Haney, David Leadbetter, Jim Flick and so many other great teachers and players writing exclusively for us—not to mention some of the best sports writers in the world—is due in large part to the great support of advertisers. In May, for example, you will receive a terrific booklet with all of our worldwide course rankings, thanks to special support from Rolex. What's more, and you may argue this, but studies show that you wouldn't like our magazine as much without advertising in it, especially equipment advertising. In the end, you are the judge of whether we suceed in achieving a proper balance between editorial and advertising. Thanks for telling us how you feel about it.
— Bob Carney