The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012 - (Page 10)

iPAD APPS iPad + cloud = simpler, cheaper golf operating system? Georgia-based operators save money, headaches with experimental system By Jim Dunlap he technology revolution is, at last, in full swing in the golf industry. Course operators can monitor and manage virtually every facet of their business with computerized technology, from customer databases to tee sheets to retail operations and inventory control to course maintenance. Mobile applications enable golfers to not only check their stock portfolio, email and voicemail, but book tee times, check the weather, follow competitor scoring, log their personal golfing stats or order refreshments. There is no doubting that today’s technology can provide operators with more efficient tools to manage their business. There is also no disputing that there is a price attached, and that in some cases, the complexity of the system administration may put control of vital information flow in the hands of technology providers, not course operators. One Georgia-based course owner/operator, Mike Young Designs (MYD), is part- T P E L LU C I D I S M Golf is a game of discretionary time and money. As much as we want to diversify it (and we should in our strategic and long-term trajectory potential), we haven’t yet found a way to make it as easy to engage for the masses as say, tennis. Public courts, relatively affordable equipment options, relatively low cost of consumables and attire (you can play in your cut-off denims if you so please). As such, we’re both more insulated (the current golfer base which skews older, white, affluent, males) and more subject to the macro forces of the economy on the fronts of income, employment and lifestage. If the blue collar sector melts down as it periodically does, while it stymies our growth, it doesn’t impact the sport as much as other mass-appeal sports. Conversely however, when you get the type of corporate right-sizing, financial markets diving, home values going backwards pattern of the early 2000s, we’re dramatically subject to be one of the 1st things to go when our target population’s income or time get squeezed. nering with Bay Area-based software developer Revel Systems to field test and implement a system using Apple iPads and cloud technology to manage many of their courses’ basic needs in a significantly cheaper and simpler fashion. Young, a veteran golf course designer who has partnered with former PGA Tour player and Golf Channel studio host Charlie Rymer in the MYD course ownership and operations enterprise, said of the trial system, “There are around 16,000 golf courses in the country, but probably 12,500 of those don’t need a big sophisticated POS program, so that’s why we’re trying this system out.” Young’s son Ashley, the driving force behind the initial concept who contacted Revel to implement it, said, “A lot of the software that’s out there is not necessarily bad, but it’s really meant for larger clubs. This helps fill that gap. When you’re not using cloud-based technology, you’ve got to have multiple computers on a server and networking, you’re running cable everywhere, and having to back up your data. With this, I’ve got $500 in an iPad, and can store the data in the cloud, and I can see the data from anywhere. If something breaks, I just call up Apple and get a new iPad and it’s simple to download our data, so there’s no big IT bill.” The MYD group currently has the system installed at one of the group’s owned courses, and plans to install it at their other owned courses or those where they have long term management contracts.The system manages inventory control, employee hours, restaurant and pro shop retail transactions, rounds and revenue tracking, credit card processing, loyalty card tracking and internal communications, all transmitted via iPad using cloud-based technology. MYD and Revel Systems are currently working on adding a tee sheet management component to the system. In addition to substantial savings on hardware, software and IT service fees, Ashley Young said that the system’s ease of operation saves operators considerable time and headaches on employee training. “It’s a really intuitive system,” Young said. “Sometimes I think that some systems have over-complicated the golf business. This one is just more user-friendly, and anything we can do that’s more hands-off is great for us as a management company.” While MYD has saved money with the iPad and cloud system, Young said the added control would be worth it even if the costs were the same. “With the old system, if we decided to change [providers], we’d have to buy a whole new POS system because the old sysAPril 2012 10 The Pellucid PersPecTive

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012

The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012
Golf associations seeking new ways to stem membership decline
Are you the master of your domain?
Military base redevelopment puts golf in limbo
iPad + cloud = simpler, cheaper golf operating system?
March weather impact: Nature’s baffling benevolence continues!
Fore, right! Who’s to blame?
Detroit market holding its own
Course purchase opportunities abounding on Florida’s ‘First Coast’
An uncluttered mind yields Masterful performance

The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012