Golf Content Creator Summer Willis On Embracing Femininity In A Male-Dominated Space
Summer Willis is an engineer and content creator sharing her love of golf on Instagram. Today, she has over 100,000 followers on Instagram and continues to embrace her femininity and encourage collaboration over competition despite the highly-competitive, male-dominated landscape.
About Summer Willis
Summer Willis of Summertimegolf has been on the golf course since childhood.
She shares, “It was kind of a love-hate relationship at first. My dad really wanted me to play. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t, but the older I got, the more I fell in love with the game.”
As she grew her love of golf, Summer began learning and playing more, leading her to share her love of golf on Instagram in July 2020.
What she didn’t expect was for her platform to blow up almost immediately.
Summer didn’t have set goals for her platform at the time, but she decided to ride with the explosive growth and use it to share about the sport and help more women get into golf.
Summer’s Golf Content
As Summer’s platform has grown, she has shared more golf trips, travel, and experiences with specific golf courses or brands she enjoys.
In terms of strategy, Summer operates on a “content is king” basis.
She explains, “I think high-quality content and a high volume of content is really the key. I really try to consider my audience as well, and sometimes I ask [them], “What would you guys like to see more? What would be more useful? What are some of the golf products and brands that you guys are interested in?” I think as long as you’re doing something you’re passionate about, I think that you can’t lose.”
Another key factor is not caring. Summer explains that you can’t overthink your posts. Sometimes the less perfect posts are the ones that will shock you and go viral.
For example, some of Summer’s most viral videos show her sinking a shot, which her audience loves to see because it highlights Summer’s authenticity and how challenging golf is as a sport.
Making it As a Content Creator
Summer shares that when one or two of her posts hit the explore post, she began to feel like she truly made it as a creator, especially because creators can gain 10,000 or 20,000 followers from that kind of exposure.
Another pivotal moment for her was when she was recognized in public at a golf course pro shop.
She adds, “I started to become more established and felt like I had more to offer brands when I hit the 100,000 mark. I don’t know why there’s something about that, but there seems to be something in the space like you either have a 100,000 or you don’t. I think that shows you have been consistently posting, but I think no matter what your number is, just keep going because you never know what’s going to go viral.”
Embracing Femininity in a Male-Dominated Space
The golf space is highly competitive and male-dominated. However, Summer focuses on collaboration, believing that she and other content creators are stronger working together than competing.
She explains, “I am an engineer by trade, so I’m used to being the only girl in class or the only girl in a meeting in a very technical space or perhaps not being taken seriously. I try to be an advocate by just supporting and growing with the girls, but I think what sets me apart is that I do have this technical engineering background, and I’m from Utah. I know it’s weird, but I’m also blonde.”
Summer adds that few women in the engineering field or golf space are blonde or feminine in their dress. Summer’s blonde hair and feminine outfits are one way she immediately stands out among other golf content creators.
Summer shares, “Embracing your femininity in that space is huge, and I know it kind of sounds silly, but that was a thing for me, especially growing up as an engineer – you’re too dumb, or you’re too blonde or whatever it is – and just kind of breaking those stereotypes and not having to conform to what everybody else is doing.”
Summer’s Brand Work
Summer has worked with a handful of brands, including the activewear brand Renwick. When vetting a brand, she has a specific process she goes through.
“I am very diligent about my brand collabs, and I research them really well. Like I said, I’m an engineer, so I have a spreadsheet with how many followers, what’s their purpose, what’s their passion, and making sure that it really aligns with my vision and my aesthetic and where I’m headed.”
Some of her favorite brands to collaborate with are fashion, activewear, and golfing brands, particularly those creating functional but attractive clothing.
When Summer was growing up, she remembers hating the boxy, unattractive clothing options for golfing, so the emergence of stylish, practical clothing for sports has been exciting for her. As she notes, what you wear does affect your confidence and how you play, so feeling good about how she is dressed is crucial for her.
One of Summer’s favorite collaborations was with an investor in Sayulita, Mexico, who owns a restaurant, bar, and tequila company. To raise awareness for golfing, the investor puts together golf trips and takes golfers through all the must-see spots in Sayulita.
Summer was invited on one of these trips and had a fantastic time golfing and enjoying the excellent food and tequila. Something that made this collaboration stand out to her was personally meeting others.
She shares, “That was one of my most memorable moments and just building the partnership and working with the chefs and the bar owners and having it be more personal than we’re going to send you things to shoot. It’s cool to get to know them, and we went and golfed together.”
A current trend within the golf niche is sharing tips and tricks and specific trick shots, which take great creativity and skill to pull off.
However, Summer recommends that your content is always authentic to you rather than only following trends.
“If I’m actually working on something within my game, I like to share that instead of just trying to do whatever’s the most popular. I also think reaching outside to just do beginner tips and reaching out to all levels, all different types of audiences, and encouraging them to get into the sport.”
Creating authentic content is also important because the algorithm is constantly changing and difficult to keep up with. Summer’s biggest challenge is keeping up with these changes, especially on the many different platforms out there, as well as dealing with hate online.
“I don’t really respond to haters, but [if I do] I just respond with love because who knows if that person is having a bad day, and I feel like that’s the best way to respond.”
In the future, Summer is looking into work in reality TV and more golf trips, golf collaborations, and golf girl getaways. She is also considering starting a YouTube channel to share more in-depth golfing tips.