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5 Questions for Nigel Da Costa,

_Having worked in various online marketing roles for Toronto agencies and internet start-ups, Nigel Da Costa used his experience to help found “”: is a free online destination and membership club where Canadian golfers find the best deals and promotions in the golf industry and is a place for advertisers to speak with this coveted audience._
*One Degree: What’s the story behind*
I’ve been playing golf now for seven years and have destroyed some of the finest courses in Ontario but I quickly noticed prices rising at a rapid pace and lots of new golf courses being built each year. I spoke with a few people in the industry who mentioned the supply was already exceeding demand and courses were struggling to find golfers…and golfers were struggling to find challenging yet affordable places to play.
The only answer to both problems were coupon books. Golfers were able to find deals and golf courses were able create incentives for golfers to visit their courses during slow times. The issue I had with the books is the deals were static. Once the book was printed, no new deals were ever going to be offered and once I used my coupons at a certain course, I couldn’t use them again. Also, many of the deals weren’t relevant. I live in the GTA(Greater Toronto Area) but many of the courses were located more than a three-hour drive from me. Golf courses also found the coupon books restrictive because they often needed golfers on short notice.
There was an obvious gap the web could quickly bridge. On our site we were able to post deals within hours and change and alter them anytime the courses asked. We also started a very popular e-mail newsletter which listed last minute golf deals for our members to take part in. Within a year we had 30 courses working with us (and this number should more than double this year) and our membership is already at 6,000 golfers.
*One Degree: Your business seems to be built around memberships. Can you explain a bit about your business model?*

Our model is membership driven and our revenue comes from advertisers. We are a free service for golf courses and it is also free for golfers to join our program and print our online deals. Golfers are a very coveted demographic right now with large industries such as automotive and financial institutions climbing over each other to speak to this audience. Our web site provides a great permission-based forum for advertisers to do so.
In fact, over the last year the site has changed from strictly offering deals to becoming a destination for golfers to hang out. We’ve added blogs, games and just launched the “Duffer’s Den”:, an online community for golfers to create their own web sites, post pictures, blog and connect with other golfers… consider it a niche focused “”:
*One Degree: You’ve started using blogs to generate awareness of the site. What inspired this approach?*
I actually started the “Illogical Golf Blog”: as a way to drive traffic to the web site but before we knew it, people were sending in lots of comments and suggestions and it took a life of its own. Similar to One Degree, we also started a question series which is getting very popular. We launched with “LPGA golfer and Maxim model Natalie Gulbis”: which still generates a lot of traffic. I considered posing in a bikini as well for this interview but thought your readers might not enjoy it as much.
*One Degree: I find your spin on blogging really interesting – you’re really blogging your own experiences rather than just doing a company or golfing blog aren’t you?*
I wanted to do something fun that would intrigue readers and generate a lot of conversation so I started the “Going Pro Golf Blog”: This is my attempt at becoming a professional golfer with the help of Canada’s National Golf coach. We train and I blog about my experiences and results. From a marketing perspective, I am negotiating with other sponsors right now who wish to be involved. This is a great opportunity for them to advertise through integrated product placement in the actual blog. And since I am such a bad golfer, I should only get better with the help of their products. The blog just launched in January and we have already been receiving a lot of press inquires from both sides of the border.
*One Degree: Did the concept really start out as an idea for a reality TV show?*
It did! 5 years ago we had a pilot shot, sponsors lined up and a television contract in the works. Then Survivor, Amazing Race and hundreds of other reality shows hit the airwaves and over-saturated TV. The was no room for a Canadian-based golf reality show. Five years later we are back. Damn I love the Internet!