How one of golf’s most popular Instagram accounts took off

If you’re a golf fan with an Instagram account, chances are you’ve scrolled by content posted by PGA Memes. Created by Travis Miller, the account gleefully skewers golf culture, news and sometimes even Tour players themselves with a mix of jokey observations and doctored memes designed for viral sharing.

Miller has authored more than 5,000 posts to date, and amassed 795,000 followers on Instagram alone. On this week’s episode of Subpar, Miller sat down with hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz to explain, among other topics, just how his social media presence really took off.

“The first thing that I did was this Count Hissalot,” Miller said, referring to the fake rattlesnake he unleashes on unsuspecting playing partners while filming their reactions. “I started that account, and it went viral instantly. It was on Golf Channel, a couple other outlets picked it up. A lot of pro football players and basketball players were into it. I was like, dude, this is pretty fun. It got me hooked on kind of how to run a social media account.

social media golf
The learning curve: How social media is changing golf instruction
By: Josh Sens

“But the meme account, I literally was just sitting on the couch in my underwear,” Miller continued. “I was living by SMU actually, at the time, in one of those high-rise apartments by the mall, and I love memes, I like to escape from my day. I was working like 60, 70-hour weeks, traveling all the time. So I’d always look at meme pages and find a way to like, relate to my life, my relationship, whatever it may be. And I was like, man, there’s really no golf meme pages. There’s a few memes that pop up every now and then and they’re really funny, but like, there’s no golf meme pages. And so I searched for the name and I couldn’t believe PGA Memes was even available, because a user name can make a big difference.”

Once he created the account, Miller said it took a few tries to find his voice.

“I tried doing some things, to be honest with you guys, the first couple weeks and it just wasn’t it,” he said. “I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was trying to repurpose or aggregate some other content that was out there. Finally, around the Masters, Patrick Reed won — at the time, I didn’t dislike Patrick Reed. Matter of fact, I was like the biggest Patrick Reed Captain America fan boy.”

Miller said that Rickie Fowler was his primary favorite, and he was disappointed that it was Reed and not Fowler who won the green jacket in 2018.

“I just felt this dissatisfaction,” Miller said of Reed’s victory. “It overcame me. I know it overcame a lot of people in the golf world. They wanted to see Rickie win, or someone else win. So I just started making jokes about that. It was real, it was how I felt. It was going after a guy. And he may or may not have deserved it. But at the end of the day, people loved that I was just creating like, real feeling, stuff that people are thinking but won’t say, and going after players.

“The golf community really loved it,” Miller said. “It blew up super fast. Next thing I knew, I had like 100,000 followers within like six weeks.”

For more from Miller, including the Instagram posts he regrets, check out the full interview below.

Jessica Marksbury

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on