This is the first in a series of articles that are part of a collaboration between our new partner Golf Genius and Proponent Group.
Over the past 10 years, Golf Genius has built the industry’s leading system for tournament and league management. A key reason why Golf Genius Tournament Management has been so successful is the easy and powerful way it integrates with other relevant software in the golf ecosystem.
Golf Genius believes a similar approach is both necessary and valuable in the coaching space. We are already seeing the development of important digital management tools for coaching, training and operation of a coaching practice. Golf Genius believes coaches will need access to these tools in an integrated platform to fully take advantage of the efficiencies and other benefits these important technologies offer. Proponent Group is helping Golf Genius design and develop such a platform.
The article below explains the concept and makes a strong case for how critical an integrated platform could soon become for you as a coach and a business person. We look forward to any feedback you might have to help make this platform as valuable as possible for Proponent members.
The Evolution of Golf Coaching Software is Ready to Take its Next Step Forward
When homes were first heated by furnaces, regulating temperature meant trudging downstairs to stoke the coal, adjust dampers and fiddle with valves. That all ended in 1885, when a college professor named Warren Johnson devised a bi-metal coiled thermostat with a mercury switch. It’s a tribute to scientific know-how and creative problem-solving that his namesake company, Johnson Controls, is a $30 billion multinational today.
But back then homes could also catch fire, and Johnson never thought to invent a smoke detector. Homes were burglarized, but alarm systems didn’t occur to him. The grass needed watering, but there’s no record of the professor tinkering with automatic irrigation. That’s simply not how progress works.
In any area of life, major problems get addressed one at a time, and those individual fixes are considered pretty miraculous when they occur. In today’s lexicon they’re known as “point solutions.”
But you keep adding one point solution to another and the whole tends to become less than the sum of its parts. All those standalone conveniences stacked on top of each other begin to wobble. And that’s just your current challenge—matters will get worse as you envision further add-ons, or try to scale your operation up in size. Costs of discovery (understanding each solution) and working with the different solutions individually expand exponentially, far beyond the incremental benefits achieved by adopting new point solutions.
The frustration of herding all those point-solution cats is what sends people in search of a platform, a.k.a. an “integrative solution.” In the example at hand it would be something like Google Nest, a constellation of zoned thermostats, smoke detectors, streaming devices, audio speakers, wi-fi routers, cameras, smart doorbells and smart locks, all linked together and connected to a hub where it’s monitored and controlled.
Industries that every consumer and every business depends on—freight logistics, for example—tend to be the first to adopt platform solutions. Today the world of cargo transport and warehouse management functions in a sleek, seamless fashion. Software providers to this industry have taken the integrative approach, outperforming what had become a jumble of patched-together software, be it for data management, order entry, inventory search, carrier selection or the myriad other functions.
Golf facility management has reached a stage in its modernization where lots of point-solution technology has accumulated. Software silos have multiplied, causing productivity gains to level off. That’s the set of conditions that sends an industry down the holistic path—first in one segment or another, finally across all functions.
Golf Genius set a goal eight years ago to digitize the management of tournaments and leagues at golf clubs and courses. They designed a platform to transform the experience of managing these competitions and participating in them. Golf professionals in charge of tournaments traditionally took on a host of time-consuming, laborious tasks. Recreational golfers playing in these events had fun, but would have had an even richer experience if, for example, their phones carried live leaderboards, if final scores were tabulated instantly, if there was an attractive portal for signup built into club websites, and if extended match-play competitions had the software magic to support of them.
By 2021 the Golf Genius Tournament Management solution had found a home at 10,000-plus clubs and associations in 62 countries. As Jay Dufty, Director of Golf at Washington Golf and Country Club has related, taking golf competition at clubs into a new digital age has been a game-changer for him and his peers.
“Golf Genius Tournament Management has made life so much easier for our staff, our golf committee, our league directors, and for the golfers themselves,” says Dufty. “Procedures that used to take days and were still error-prone now happen easily and quickly. On tournament day I can spend my time doing meet-and-greet with the players, using my rules expertise to make the event run properly and generally focusing on activities that maximize my value to the club.”
Professionals like Dufty appreciate that Golf Genius TM works seamlessly, but they may not fully appreciate that, in order to work so effectively and efficiently, Golf Genius TM is engineered and coded to interface and integrate with a variety of current and in-development software solutions and technologies.
Which category across the golf facility landscape might next be headed for its “platform moment”? Keep an eye on instruction—more accurately, the whole arena of coaching, training, practice and player development.
This sector has embraced a broad array of point solutions. These solutions include video analysis tools, scheduling, coach-student communications, along with diagnostic tools and player performance data like strokes-gained. But successful teaching professionals have lately been caught in the classic point-solution scenario of fragmented functionality and increasing complication – often adding costs without corresponding productivity gains.
“Knowing first-hand what a difference-maker Golf Genius Tournament Management software has been,” says Bob Dolan, Head PGA Professional at Columbia Country Club, “I was excited to learn that they are working on a new package addressing golf instruction in a comprehensive manner. From everything I’ve seen and discussed, there’s a tremendous amount of potential for coaches to help their students and help themselves with a fully integrated platform for coaching.”
One facet of instruction and training that makes it all the more compelling to integrate is the enormous data pool generated by individual golfer performance—as captured by the glittering array of personal technology available today. Many are predicting that what ShotLink provides for the PGA Tour will be available to recreational golfers in a few years’ time. As we look into the future of the fast-growing coaching industry, look for data dashboards to evolve within the coaching-practice-performance ecosystem to link together, speak the same language and interact with each other based on a minimum of manual data input or migration between Apps. Dashboards could, for example, include goals, actuals and metrics covering the revenue and profit performance of a coaching operation, whether its an individual professional, a club teaching staff or a multi-coach academy.
Nor will the new, integrated software matrix simply tell the story of a golfer developing new skills or a coach attaining new levels of business success. In both cases, through new connectivity and new at-a-glance availability of key metrics, it will help drive both outcomes.
The recent surge in golf’s popularity has been matched by a strong upswing in demand for golf instruction. New entrants to the game and the desire among avid golfers to improve translates into expanding opportunity for golf coaches. Golf Genius is dedicated to providing a next generation software platform to support the business of coaching and the goal of helping coaches develop better golfers.