The Pellucid Perspective - September 2015 - (Page 2)

golf course TecHNologY EZLinks acquires GolfSwitch By stuart lindsay o n September 8th, EZLinks and their "significant shareholder," the PGA Tour, announced the acquisition of GolfSwitch and their OpenTee retail marketing site. Founded in 1998 by Larry Lippon as an innovative communications platform for facilitating internet tee time reservations, GolfSwitch filed for (1999) and was eventually awarded a meaningful patent (2006) essentially governing the aggregation of tee times from multiple electronic tee sheet platforms housed on local golf course servers. The last two years' operations of GolfSwitch are a little cloudy. Management changes and a series of affiliations announced during that period culminated in a May 2014 press release stating that Lippon had sold GolfSwitch to Open Tee, led by John Fechter. One thing that is clear is that EZLinks now controls the patent that governs much of the current aggregation of tee times on 3rd Party distribution sites. While some industry observers question the relevance of "Clear Solutions to Golf's Business Issues" Visit our website and register for more information and free sample reports at Or, contact Jim Koppenhaver to discuss your unique needs at or 847.808.7651 2 The Pellucid PersPecTive the patent as more tee sheet platforms migrate from local golf course servers to the "cloud," GolfSwitch has been at the center of the growth of 3rd Party tee time distribution through the operation of their own "GolfHub" retail site and royalties paid by other 3rd Party aggregators. The big unknown is how this further concentration of tee time management technology will affect the tee sheet platforms marketed by GolfNow and leading "independent" tee sheet and POS vendors such as Club Prophet, ForeUp, IBS and others. As industry observer Terry McAndrew astutely asks - "The real question is whether it represents incremental revenue opportunities to the courses or simply consolidation in a cluttered and unregulated channel." "Daily Pulse", September 9, 2015 Editor Jim Dunlap of the Pellucid Perspective posed some questions to Laura Dihel, Vice President of Marketing for EZLinks. She reiterated the comments made by CEO Gary Cohen that GolfSwitch technology would continue to be available as a service to all those in the golf industry who want to be represented on 3rd Party sites that need to license the GolfSwitch patent. As we have previously commented, it will only get more interesting to watch what clearly appears to be an escalating competition between GolfNow (Comcast/NBC/Golf Channel) and (EZLinks, PGA Tour) for dominance in the 3rd Party tee time distribution channel. More important is that both entities are also competing to provide the basic tee sheet and POS technology needs at the local golf course level. Will this further concentration of technology expand or restrict the choices available to golf course operators? EZLinks contends that they acquired GolfSwitch and OpenTee in order to foster increased competition in the 3rd party tee time marketing space, (read, give GolfNow a run for its money) and to ensure that course operators would continue to have access to virtually any tee time distribution entity they want to do business with. There may be some truth to that, but it's also obvious that the overriding motivation for the GolfSwitch acquisition was to ensure that you-know-who didn't get the GolfSwitch patent, in addition to getting a crack at the more than 3,000 U.S. courses GolfSwitch reportedly services as possible additions to's inventory. Again, this will depend on how everything shakes out. Will the EZLinks/PGA Tour combination stay true to the best practices they profess to follow and force GolfNow to follow suit? How will the "independents" function and/or react to this further consolidation? Based on what we hear, there may be more excitement coming. We will try to keep you informed even as we continue to wonder when the increased revenues all this great technology and marketing expertise is supposed to create will show up. n September 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - September 2015

EZLinks acquires GolfSwitch
Youth on Course provides win-win for golf and juniors
Breaking News: Golf is getting passed in technology and information use by...farming
Private clubs struggle to combat the “equity club death spiral”
Payment Processing: Are you confused?
August golf weather impact: Weather and stocks decline
Price is right, but demand still lags in Tampa
Is golf doomed to rely only on ‘aspirational’ golfers?

The Pellucid Perspective - September 2015