19th Hole

Louie Unga
Operations Manager
Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass
Chandler, AZ

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Golf Goes Mobile

Do you remember the first time you saw that guy at your office book a flight or a hotel room from his phone? I do. I also remember thinking that this type of technology would change everything in this hurried, get-it-done-now world that we live in. The mobile revolution hasn’t touched everyone yet, but even those most determined to resist it cannot deny the flashy convenience that this type of service offers. In the world of daily fee golf course management, facility operators are beginning to see the eye-opening, jaw dropping opportunity that exists in this particular channel.

According to GolfNow.com, a leader in online tee time bookings, 14% of their reservations are booked from mobile phones and tablets. That number is expected to jump to 20% by the end of 2012. Over the past few years, course owners and managers flip flopped on whether to add mobile versions of websites and smartphone applications to their arsenal of online advertising. Statistics like the one above, answer that question and simply cannot be ignored.

Beyond booking reservations, mobile options have changed the way that the game itself is played. Handheld GPS units, long considered cumbersome and clunky in their design, are becoming sleek and modernized. Joysticks and cursors are being replaced by touch screen options, and some have a built-in Wi-Fi feature that allows course downloading without tethering the unit to a computer. Last year a GPS wrist watch was introduced, followed by another with a color touch screen. A new unit introduced this year clips onto the bill of a visor or cap and actually reads yardages aloud from where you are standing. 

Golf instruction is another area where mobile phones are finding ways to creep into the industry. Rumors persist of an Android powered tablet equipped with a camera and accompanying app capable of capturing the golf swing for basic analysis. PING Golf has taken advantage of Apple iPhone’s gyroscope and accelerometer feature to create a putting app.  The app features “putter fitting” as well as the chance to literally compare your putting stroke against some of the game’s best.

There is no question that golf is going mobile and that these advancements are here to stay. Those with the foresight to jump onboard have been the beneficiaries. Your smartphone can book your tee time, give you yardages, keep your score and save photos of your day on the course. 

Seriously…it’s kinda fun.