Enthusiasm for a single portal where the whole operation lives.
Golf industry people tend to use the annual PGA Merchandise Show as a marker for progress and a date on the calendar pinned with big goals. It’s no different for the GOLF Business Solutions team that manages G1.
A year ago at the 2018 PGA Show, there were 10 active users of G1’s facility-management technology package. At the conclusion of the 2019 edition of the Show, the number of golf courses that have chosen to integrate the G1 platform into their operations has well exceeded 500.
Kelvin Wierks, vice president, Business Platforms for GolfNow Technology Products, said G1 is building incredible momentum and running ahead of projections. “And we haven’t really promoted it on a broad scale at all,” he said.
The GOLF Business Solutions exhibit space was large and well-furnished, with seating and modular tables for sit-downs. And yet by the middle of the show’s first day a call went out for more tables and chairs. “By my count there were 133 meetings in which G1 was presented or discussed,” says Wierks. “We talked to people at the show who were telling us, ‘We need G1 right now.’”
G1 is next-generation cloud-based technology for facility management that holds itself to high standards where efficiency and integration are concerned, but seeks to set itself apart by delivering to the golfer a “frictionless experience,” as Wierks describes it. It’s also a smoother ride for the course operator. “We have people who log in and change their rates remotely,” Wierks says. “You could have one course in Florida and one in New York and you’d be able to engage with all the activity at either one in real-time.”
G1 combines all software and operating systems used at a golf facility into one platform. That’s tee sheet, point-of-sale, social media, employee schedules, inventory, payroll, vendor relations, and more—all controllable by an Internet-connected smartphone or tablet, from anywhere.
“At G1's first PGA Show a year ago, we were in the beginning stage and course operators weren’t thinking much about self-registration at the golf course, or pay-anywhere technology,” says Wierks. “Now those functions are part of retailing, generally, so courses are wanting to remove shop counters and put merchandisers with tablets out on the floor.”
For facilities that are G1-driven right now, there’s a steady and frequent release of new features and functionality. Feedback from those active users is one important source of new feature ideas for the engineering team to work on. “For any of the add-on products we devise and build, G1 courses automatically have 3 million consumers using them,” says Wierks. “The job of training the customer to take advantage of one feature or another is already done—that’s a major advantage for any piece of business software.”
The state of the art of management software has been improving, driven by the cloud-storage option (over local servers) and by engineering innovations. It’s a competitive and dynamic category in which the G1 product competes well from a pure technology standpoint and benefits uniquely from its consumer-centric approach and from the huge built-in audience. Look for an upcoming B2B advertising campaign that tells the G1 story in helpful detail and shows a future, in Wierks’s words, “where the whole operation lives on one portal.”