Summer 2014 www.GolfIncMagazine.com 33
But he wants to gain as much of that
occupancy as possible via his online
“You can book on GolfNow and pay a
booking fee or book it on ours and pay no
booking fees,” he said.
COMPETITION IS HERE
Given the clout of GolfNow and its size, it
might seem it is reaching Goliath stature.
Well, it is, some industry experts say.
But that doesn’t mean other companies
are giving up on proposing alternatives,
including providing tee-time marketing
services that don’t include bartering.
Ironically, one of those who started
such a company is Brett Darrow, who co-founded GolfNow. He recently launched a
new online tee-time concern called Play18
Solutions. It doesn’t seek tee times in
exchange for services because that model
grew to hurt — not help — golf, he said.
“Play18 Solutions provides much-needed
remedies to problems that have crippled
the golf industry in recent years,” Darrow
said when the company was started in late
2013. “With Play18 Solutions, our courses
regain control of pricing, customer data
and substantially increase their marketing
effectiveness while protecting their brand.”
Play18 Solutions has growing clout.
It recently reached a deal to work with
the Sports Illustrated Golf Group, which
includes GOLF Magazine, SI Golf Plus,
Another company that’s due to be
launched this summer is OpenTee, which
recently purchased GolfSwitch, one of the
first major online tee-time software providers and marketers.
While GolfSwitch offers bartering, the
new venture will be commission-based,
said John Fechter, CEO of OpenTee. And
it too has clout, having the largest digital
database of golfers — 6. 4 million.
Open Tee wants to end the fragmentation
of online offerings. Third-party marketers
show their inventories but not all that’s
available, he said.
“We’re a proponent of opening up the
industry,” Fechter said.
Even if the alternative offerings don’t
catch on, there still may be further fragmentation in the market. Sources say a
large company is currently looking at the
golf market, and it believes it can compete
with GolfNow even though it is getting into
the game late.
Yes the advances have been amazing,
but, given the twist and turns, some courses
probably miss pencil and paper.