Telum Talks To… ParGolf Magazine’s editorial team

Telum Talks To… ParGolf Magazine’s editorial team

The ParGolf website covers a combination of golf news and related lifestyle features. Telum Media recently caught up with ParGolf’s Publisher, Suzannah Gun Palmer and Managing Editor, Malkeet Kaur, to learn more about their editorial style and perspectives on golf-focused content.

Could you share your background in golf journalism and what your role entails?
Suzannah: More than 30 years ago, I was a Marketing Manager for Golf Vacations Malaysia. Back then, my job was to do marketing; however, due to limited manpower, I was often required to represent the company as a media representative. During these events, I was provided with press releases, and my editor would encourage me to take note of any important information not covered in the press releases as well as develop the skill of asking questions. This was the beginning of my journey in the field of journalism.

Malkeet: My unexpected journey as a golf writer began in 1987 when I found a job advertisement for a junior journalist. Little did I know then that it was for a golf magazine. I knew nothing about the sport, so when I was asked to come in for an interview, I visited the national library first to research the game. Since then, I have been writing about the Royal & Ancient sport. As the Managing Editor, I am responsible for curating the website's content, shaping its visual appeal for easy accessibility and browsing. Together with our team, we also look into how to captivate readers by sharing fascinating videos and showcasing enticing golf deals that might interest golfers. ParGolf has embraced the digital trend by ensuring its website availability across various social platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We are also exploring the possibilities of expanding our presence on TikTok. We recognise the growing significance of digital content and are committed to staying at the forefront of this trend.

Could you tell us a story you are most proud of over your career?
Suzannah: I am particularly proud of the transformation of ParGolf. When I took over 24 years ago, ParGolf was a tabloid. However, with the help of an exceptional support team, we successfully revamped ParGolf into a full-fledged magazine. The ParGolf brand is widely recognised and respected within the golf industry.

Malkeet: I vividly recall when my employer entrusted me with my first significant assignment: covering the B&H Malaysian Open at the Royal Perak Golf Club in 1990. Typically, an event of this magnitude would require a team of writers on-site. However, circumstances played out differently, and I was the sole writer available to cover the entire tournament. I took on the challenge, shouldering the responsibility of crafting the main story, exploring the side stories, and even taking photographs. It was a one-woman show. Those four days were a whirlwind of excitement and exhaustion but so rewarding. I realised that I was capable of independently covering a significant tournament. It was also the first time my stories and photographs received a byline.

You have spent most of your media career in golf journalism. How have you noticed your content and audience change over the years?
Suzannah: I have seen some notable changes through the years, both in the content and readers' preferences. While it is important to cover all golf-related articles, we have also noticed a shift in the interest of golfers. Aside from golf news, they are interested in cutting-edge gadgets, apparel, watches, travelling to play on foreign golf courses, the latest automotive trends, and fine dining experiences. So now we have expanded our coverage to cater to these lifestyle topics alongside golf-related content.

Malkeet: The evolution of technology, social media and the shifting dynamics of the golf community has all played a role in the changes throughout the years. Content-wise, there has been a notable shift towards digital platforms. Nowadays, the traditional print magazine has to be complemented by an interactive website, engaging videos, and social media content. The demand for quick, concise and visually appealing content has grown over the years. Information is readily available to everyone these days. Embracing digital platforms has allowed us to reach a wider audience. We need to adapt to these changes for continued relevance.
Media has become more digitalised in the past ten years or so. What have been the challenges in publishing the magazine amidst digitalisation?
Suzannah: In the last ten years, digitalisation has exploded. How we work and how the public receives information has changed radically. Smartphones, tablets and other devices have enabled people to access news or watch events in real-time within seconds, eliminating the need to wait for a physical magazine to be out in the stores. Magazine publishers now have to find innovative ways to engage their audience.

Malkeet: In the past decade, the media landscape has experienced a shift towards digitalisation, posing a challenge for traditional publishing. Perhaps one of the challenges is adapting our content for digital consumption. Print magazines offer in-depth features and long-form articles, whereas digital platforms favour shorter and easier digestible content. Traditional magazines have to compete for attention these days. It is getting harder and harder to capture readers’ interest when there are numerous websites, blogs and social media platforms. For a traditional magazine to survive, it must stand out in the crowded digital landscape.

How has golf changed over the last few decades, and what's your thought on the future of golf magazines in Asia?
Suzannah: Golf has evolved significantly in recent decades, with technological advancements, demographic shifts, and global influences playing pivotal roles. The future for golf magazines as print is bleak. The future success of golf magazines in Asia will rely on their ability to adapt and embrace digital platforms while maintaining the quality and unique value that print publications provide.

Malkeet: Over the last few decades, golf has significantly changed in popularity and dynamics within the sport. Technological advancements and the globalisation of the game have played key roles in shaping these transformations. As for the future of golf magazines in Asia, there are challenges and opportunities. With the digitalisation of media and the changing preferences of readers, traditional print magazines have faced significant competition from online platforms, social media, and other digital sources of golf-related content. However, there is still a place for specialised golf magazines that offer in-depth analysis, exclusive features, and a curated experience for golf enthusiasts.  

Could you share with us more about ParGolf Magazine’s editorial focus and what's on the cards for ParGolf Magazine in the coming months, maybe the second quarter of the year or the remaining 2023?
Suzannah: Most ParGolf editorial has moved on, and the focus has been on our digital platforms for the past 12-plus months. As for ParGolf Magazine, there is a possibility that we may produce a premium issue.

Malkeet: We are focused on maintaining the website and building our social media presence via all the mentioned platforms. As Suzannah said, we will, at some point, publish a premium printed version someday.

Answers submitted by Managing Editor, Malkeet Kaur.

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