Two Local Companies Bring Innovation to Golf
Forewinds Hospitality and Golf Genius Software are changing the game.
Forewinds Hospitality looks to tackle the industry’s greatest impediment to growth: pace of play. “We’ve analyzed and crunched numbers with every metric possible. We know how long a group should take by their handicaps, how pace of play differs by time or date, and much more,” says Chris Boos, director of golf at Deerfield in Newark, Del. “What we have now is a program that combines that knowledge with technology, analytics and a big dose of understanding human behavior.”
Respect the Pace focuses on meeting golfers’ expectations from the moment they book their tee times by asking, How long would you like your round to take? “If you want a cheaper flight and don’t care about time, you’re OK with a connector flight. If you need to be there quicker, you book a nonstop,” Boos says. “Either way, you know up front when you will start and when you will arrive. Now, golfers can play their own pace by knowing up front what their round will look like.”
With various offerings based on the duration of a round, the course can accommodate the quick golfer, a family with young players and everyone in between. “There’s a mutual understanding that if you commit to a pace, you’re going to keep playing toward that goal—a philosophy of the private club that now comes into play in the public golf world—respecting your fellow player through your play,” Boos says.
New tracking technology will communicate to players about pace. “The concept is actually a bit ahead of the technology, but it’s coming,” says Boos. “We still have to work out some issues and refine as we learn from the rollout, but I really think we are on to something big for the game here.”
There truly is a genius behind Golf Genius Software in founder Mike Zisman. “I was the guy who organized all the golf buddy trips, and if you have ever been on one, there are a lot of nuances of who plays with who and what the best pairings are,” Zisman says. “So from that basic platform, the groundwork was laid.”
Golf Genius software handles the checklist for golf events or tournaments: event registration, payment, event websites, printed materials like scorecards and signage, handicapping capabilities, tournament formats, and some platform extras like live scoring and TV leaderboards.
“We take the headache out of running events and place a new, wonderful tool in the hands of the golf-course clubhouse staff,” Zisman says. “That in itself is a worthy product, but throw in some of the back-end benefits like on-course live scoring, and you have a premier product. With Golf Genius live scoring, you’ll know the minute you pull into the clubhouse where you stand, and can decide if you want to stay around or not.”
Since 2015, Golf Genius has tripled its growth. But 2017 may be a “transformational” year for Zisman’s Wayne, Pa.-based company. Having partnered with the USGA to provide its members with event-management software. Golf Genius had gained 500 new customers as of January. Since then, it’s had more than 1,500 new clients, with a target of 8,000 by the end of the year.
The Golf Association of Philadelphia will offer the product under the auspices of the USGA as a member benefit in 2017.
Similar golf organizations throughout the country are taking advantage of the new Golf Genius-powered USGA software.