Caton Bittner (@catonbittnergolf) has made a splash on Instagram with his honest and transparent golf videos! We spoke with him about his motivations, favorite courses, and golf tips!
1. What attracted you to the game of golf and how were you introduced to it?
I first got started off by my dad just dropping my brother and I off at the golf course as like babysitting when we were pretty young; I was probably 13 or 14 years old. We ended up moving around 15 or 16 and I started working at a golf course for four or five years that was right beside my house called Cedar Brae Golf Club. It was a private course, and I worked in the back shop, drove the range picker around, which is a lot of fun and listened to some music. It was a great job as a high school student! Getting to do that, I also got to play free golf at the course pretty much whenever I wanted after 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. I was able to hit the driving range all the time and go out on the golf course, and I just fell in love with it from there on in.
Golf’s an interesting sport in the sense that it doesn't matter how good you are, how bad you are, there's always room for improvement. When you're starting out golf, it's a bit intimidating for a lot of people, but everyone hits one of those good shots. You're like, oh my God, and it just draws you in. It’s a great environment and it's also a lot of fun to be outdoors. So back then, that's how I basically fell in love with golf.
Now at my age, I'm still in love with golf. I still find it very fun to come hang out with my friends and get to be outside a couple of times a week and I suddenly just started creating these videos and it's just been a ball. It's a snowball that's been rolling down the hill and it's been a lot of fun.
2. What motivated you to start creating content?
Everyone has to be inspired by something, and my first inspiration was watching Eric Anders Lang and Random Golf Club. They do this beautiful shot tracer which I've tried to emulate, and Eric Anders Lang used to play 9 or 18 holes, film them, and post them on YouTube. So I was like, you know what? Let me try doing that. I learned how to make shot tracers and I filmed myself shooting 9 holes and that's kind of how I started off two years ago creating these YouTube videos and just kind of doing a golf vlog.
Eventually, I realized that I was putting a lot of time and effort into this, and I wasn’t getting as many views as I was hoping for. So, I started posting on Instagram as single hole snippets with a voice over and a nice shot tracer, which people weren't really doing at the time.
The other aspect was the transparency of my videos. My parents instilled a lot of honesty into us growing up and even on the golf course when we're just hacking the ball around. My dad would tell us to play the ball where it lies. If it's in a divot, play from the divot, if you lose the ball, count the stroke. That's just the way I've known to play golf. So, when I started posting these things, I was kind of biting my ego a bit because by posting that kind of stuff on the Internet you're going to get some people who are making fun of you, which is fine, but I'm just trying to show the relatable and honest side of golf and I think a lot of people relate to that.
3. Do you have a favorite course or hole that you’ve played?
My favorite course is Cedar Brae Golf Club because that's where I worked, played, and started to learn golf. A new favorite is also one that I played this year, which is Eagles Nest. It’s a beautiful golf course and every hole has certain characteristics that make it really cool to play.
I also enjoyed the TPC Toronto Hoot and Heathlands course. Those two were so scenic, and you feel like you’re in some other part of Ontario as you’re driving into the venue. Plus, the driving range has free golf balls, which I’m an advocate for!
4. What is your ideal golf hole?
It has to be something scenic. If it’s not scenic, it just won’t stick out in your memory. Whether it’s mountains or beautiful water, it just has to be scenic. There’s a TPC par 3 with an island green that really sticks out to me. Out West in Canada especially, BC and Calgary have some beautiful, stunning mountain view courses and anytime you see those on video, it just looks incredible.
5. How does sleep affect your golf game?
Lack of sleep is a big detriment to my game, and I know there's a lot of holes in my game already. So, lack of sleep is not another one I need. Golf is half mental, half physical so if you're not in the proper mental and physical space that morning because of lack of sleep, you're already shooting yourself in the foot.
6. What would be your best tip for new golfers and seasoned golfers?
I think recording your swing is something that I advocate for because there's something in golf where there’s a difference between what you think or feel you're doing and what you're actually doing. I think if you record yourself, you can give yourself your own advice and pick your swing apart by just seeing yourself. I'd say that's one of the biggest things that I did, and I've improved just based on that.
The other two things is for one, if you have terrible golf clubs that are really old, invest in some new ones. I don't mean to go out and spend $4,000 on a set, but go and buy some used clubs from a couple of years ago that aren't going to break the bank. They’ll have much better technology than the 15 to 20 year old clubs that you have.
The last tip is once you feel like you're kind of gaining some steam, but you're plateauing a little bit, think about going through some lessons. You're paying for the knowledge of how to fix your swing which trains you to eventually teach yourself and spot the holes in your swing. It's almost like an educational course when you go for lessons, as opposed to an immediate fix or immediate change in your outcome.
ABOUT CATON'S JOURNEY
For more about Caton's journey, you can find him on Instagram @catonbittnergolf
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