If any industry needs today’s technology
giants to work their miracles, it’s golf.
A;er all, golf is much more than 18
holes carved into a scenic carpet of land.
It’s a collection of many businesses, all
housed under one big roof (and one big
;e golf industry encompasses everything from restaurants to retail outlets to
landscaping. And, let’s not forget about
One may wonder why anybody in their
right mind would take on an enterprise
with so many moving parts. But, if there’s
one new element that can help manage
the many components of a golf course, it’s
innovative and dynamic technology.
Still, golf is a bit behind the curve compared to other hospitality industries,
experts say. Hotels and travel are multi-billion-dollar businesses, noted James J.
Keegan, managing principal of Golf Con-
vergence, a consulting ;rm. So operators
in those ;elds have the resources to adopt
the latest and greatest tech gizmos.
But the majority of golf courses generate no more than $1.7 million in annual
revenue, he said.
“;ey are small businesses,” Keegan
said, noting that few course owners have
the ;nancial cushion to pump a fortune
;e same goes for municipal courses,
he said. Cities and towns are reluctant to
fork over money for big-ticket improvements because many rely on general fund
money to augment course revenue.
“;e dominant theme (in golf) is the
status quo,” he said.
But that’s not to say innovators aren’t
using technology to improve golf courses.
“We’re seeing incremental developments occurring,” said Keegan, who used
to own a point-of-sale so;ware company
in the golf market.
Some technologies have become standard in the golf industry. Point-of-sale
and tee time so;ware allow golf course
Tech companies continue to develop new ways to make golf operations more
efficient and profitable, but the industry remains slow to adopt change.
BY MIKE STETZ
operators and managers to run their businesses more e;ciently and to keep track
of customer habits. Courses can communicate with their customers via email
or texts to alert them to special deals and
;ey also can personalize systems to
enable functions such as wishing individual golfers a happy birthday.
Such technology, most of it now cloud-based, can also be used to streamline golf
course operations, including inventory
control, employee scheduling and payroll.
However, rapid consolidation is occurring in that segment of the industry,
Keegan said. Only a handful of major
providers, such as GolfNow, EZ Links and
Club Prophet Systems, are operating in
the golf market today.
And companies such as GolfNow
require golf courses to trade tee times for
services, which means less direct control
of their operations.
Even if a product comes along that’s