The Pellucid Perspective - July 2013 - (Page 7)

GOLF COURSE TECHNOLOGY FORE! Reservations sells to GolfNow? Preposterous! By Harvey Silverman T aking a page from the Old Tom Morris character in GolfNow’s recent TV commercials, that’s what many FORE! clients felt when they first heard the news that many refused to believe. To them it seemed incongruous that Harry Ipema, CEO and principal owner of FORE! and the staunchest, most vocal critic of GolfNow’s barter model of business, would sell to THEM. It was tantamount to Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi capitulating to Darth Vader. Why did Harry sell? The easy answer is GolfNow wrote a big number on a check. But there’s much more of a back story than just money. Harry was never one to put his feet up on his desk and think all was well. He was adept at “reading the tea leaves” and what he saw happening was frustrating and disheartening. As hard as he fought the barter phenomenon and attempted to educate and urge FORE’s clients to not succumb, over half of his clients were also GolfNow clients. FORE! developed and offered to clients tools and functionality designed to assist and make more efficient their marketing efforts, only to have relatively few clients agree to pay for, let alone use, these new features. Finally, as a low-cost software provider, Harry faced a challenge of significantly updating a legacy system and getting a fair return on his investment from users accustomed to paying around $1,500 a year. So Harry executed an exit strategy that makes all the sense in the world other than to whom he sold. The shock many of his clients have displayed is palpable. Many people in the industry will miss Harry, primarily for his integrity, willingness to take a stand, and the free beer at the end of the day at the FORE! PGA Show booth. We wish him well. So what do FORE! clients do now? If you read the accompanying Stuart Lindsay article and take his advice, most if not all of you will wait and see. But there are some ready to jettison their FORE! system now, like NOW, even if it means going back to a paper tee sheet and cash register or, heaven forbid, a cigar box. The reason is that many FORE clients had stood arm in arm with Harry in his vocal fight to combat barter as payment for services. His ire was directed mostly at GolfNow, but he also aimed his voice and pen at a broader range of golf service providers like Coursetrends/Golf18 Network, EZlinks, W5 and others. Harry was Moses to many in his customer base, willing to part the Red Sea of barter in the hope of reaching and creating a more promising future for golf course operators. Since the acquisition announcement, the three questions most often asked to Stuart, me and Jim have been, “Will I be forced to pay GolfNow with barter?”, “What happens to my data?” and, “What’s my best option if I choose to replace FORE!?” We believe that the answers, such as they are at this point in time, are: Ask GolfNow; Nothing - it’s safe; and We don’t know. Support for our assertion regarding these answers can be read in Stuart Lindsay’s article. ListServ, while helpful, is not an oracle; particularly as it relates to technology adoption and its use in golf The NGCOA ListServ is a wonderful forum where members can share ideas and concerns, ask questions, and request advice and assistance. It lit up like a Christmas tree in late May at the discovery of a GolfNow video ad that had the Old Tom Morris character calling rates at golf courses “preposterous” and suggesting that GolfNow was the answer to the consumer complaint that golf is too expensive. Many took offense to a perceived slight in how golf course operators price their product. A petition was posted on Change.org demanding GolfNow pull the ad (it was already out of the TV rotation but was promptly pulled from their YouTube channel). The petition garnered a FORE! developed and offered to clients tools and functionality designed to assist and make more efficient their marketing efforts, only to have relatively few clients agree to pay for, let alone use, these new features. www.PellucidCorp.com The Pellucid Perspective 7 http://www.Change.org http://WWW.PELLUCIDCORP.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - July 2013

The Pellucid Perspective - July 2013
Contents
GolfNow buys FORE! Reservations
An inside look at the Fore!-GolfNow deal
FORE! Reservations sells to GolfNow? Preposterous!
PGA of America, Tour (reluctantly) accept anchoring rule
An ominous April for equipment sales
Pace of play campaign picking up speed
June golf weather impact: Flat, but encouraging
Boomers boost Sunshine State market, but clouds looming on the horizon
Cliffs Communities emerge from bankruptcy, Tiger’s course still on hold
Golf fights back, finally

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