superior, golf courses by their nature can
be slow to change, Keegan said. That’s why
he applauds tech companies that keep at
it, even when facing such barriers.
Here are nine innovators that Keegan
and other experts identified as being at
the top of the golf technology game.
Co-founder and CEO
Co-founder and chief
In the Harry Potter books, Harry has a
magical map that allows him to see where
everyone is in Hogwarts Castle. Vanslette
and Nunn have created something similar
for golf courses that’s also a bit magical.
With Fairway iQ, sensors are attached
to golfers’ bags, carts, maintenance equipment and employees, so all their movements can be seen in real time.
Say there’s a gap in play developing at
the seventh hole. By using Fairway iQ, the
course manager can send workers to that
hole to identify the problem and perform
“It allows the course manager to use
resources more efficiently,” Vanslette said.
Operations make up about 41 percent
of a golf course’s costs, so this technology
has broad implications, he said.
For instance, it can track just how effi-
cient workers are at getting their jobs
done. If it takes Employee A longer to
mow a fairway than Employee B, the
course manager knows that Employee A
either needs additional training or is not
up to snuff. The manager can also pin-
point exceptional workers and increase
The system has other benefits as well.
It can help course managers target where
player logjams occur, so operators can
take steps to unravel them and increase
the pace of play.
Vanslette said he believes the concept
can be expanded beyond golf courses.
The firm was intrigued by golf because of
the open space available and because, as
Keegan noted, golf industry innovation
has moved more slowly.
Co-founder and president
It would be hard to find a person with
more knowledge of the third-party bartering system than Loustalot, who worked
for GolfNow, the market leader, and
helped develop its system.
He’s now helping golf courses manage
that arrangement more efficiently. He
doesn’t want to see them taken advantage
of, which is what some critics allege when
operators enter into such deals.
His company tracks a number of key
data points to see how courses are doing
in these deals and allows them to compare
their figures with those of similar courses
that are also using ORCA. The informa-
tion is confidential.
“Every golf course owner and operator
needs to know that decisions being made
about their individual tee time inventory
are based on fact, not fiction,” Loustalot
said. “The best way to do this is by com-
parisons based on trusted data collected
electronically and validated from the tee
Here’s one interesting fact that ORCA
notes on its website: Half of the rounds
booked using third parties are on Fridays,
Saturdays and Sundays.
Pretty popular golfing days, no?
“We are helping golf course owners and
operators bring clarity to their barter relationships,” Loustalot said. “We can clearly
show where the barter rounds impact the
tee sheet. Also, ORCA clearly shows days
and times where the third-party-paid
rounds are played, helping the golf course
operator manage the relationship with
Chris des Garennes
Greens need love. They need pampering.
And caring for them is not necessarily
quick, easy or cheap. For instance, at least
twice a year, greens need to go through a
labor-intensive process called core aeration.
If not, they can get hit with all sort of
bad things, such as fungus and insect
pests. It’s a small margin of error.
“Turf scientists and superintendents
know that nature’s ideal putting surface,
highly cultivated bentgrass or other vari-
ety, cut as short as 5/32 of an inch, has
barely enough grass blade left to sustain
photosynthesis,” DryJect notes on its web-
site. “Every perfect putting green is hang-
ing on a razor’s edge.”
DryJect has revolutionized the core aer-
ation process. Its machine shoots a blast of
highly pressurized water to create a hole,
which is immediately filled with sand and
The process saves both time and money,
company executives say. With conven-