The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - 2
Digital technology a boon for instructors
Jury still out on"cafe-style" entertainment ventures
By Stuart Lindsay
ince our article last month, I had some more fun learning
about digital golf experiences. Also, I noticed an HSBC
commercial during the Houston Open that featured digital golf simulator games and the Golf Channel is promoting their
new series featuring digital golf. We also were sent an RFP from
a Homeowners Association wanting us to evaluate their current
golf course management company - including their claim that a
recently opened TopGolf facility was contributing to a decline in
golf course revenues.
I was interested enough to want to find out more about today's
digital technology, so I made an appointment to visit a golf professional certified in the use of the FlightScope launch monitor.
There are several golf pros using FlightScope in the Milwaukee
area, but as I scanned the location map on their website, very few
have actualy gone through the FlightScope certification process.
I'm sure the others know how to put the launch monitor to good
use, but I definitely needed a translator for all the stats that I ended up generating, and my golf instructor was extremely helpful.
In the space of an hour, I tried 7 Irons from 5 different models
and measured them against what I have in my bag. We also tried
both steel and graphite shafts for all the new models. I got launch
angles, apex height, swing speed, ball speed, distance and a bunch
more data that made my head's spin rate go up. In short, the
FlightScope provided more feedback than the Toptracer I used
out in Madison last month.
In a nutshell, it was a lot of fun and very informative. The
only thing that wasn't fun was finding out how much distance
another birthday had cost me with my current clubs. Fortunately,
FlightScope was able to show me that some new equipment
could reverse the aging process and which model
was going to send me back the most birthdays. One
model consistently got me 2.5 MPH faster swing
speed than the nearest rival and 5 MPH higher than
my current 7 Iron.
This digital stuff is really cool on a number of levels. Further evidence is Curtis Strange's comments
during the Masters that he wished Toptracer had
been permitted on more holes. He said something
to the effect of "Now that we have it, we can't live
The real question is how these new digital tools
will be deployed and used by the industry. As we
watch the WGF and NGF rush to count digital
golfers as "participants" and the Golf Channel create
programming which emphasizes these digital alternatives, there needs to be realistic assessment of the
impact on conventional green grass golf experiences.
2 The Pellucid PersPecTive
In our last article we talked about the customers visiting TopGolf - there are over 10 million visits, but a decreasing percentage
of customers who already play golf. My visit left me feeling that
TopGolf w/Toptracer was fun, but due to limited flight balls, etc.,
it wasn't a place I would go regularly or use for practice. Toptracer
was another story; my visit to a conventional range was both fun
and a feature I would use to practice. My FlightScope experience was superior to both in terms of feedback and potential to
improve my swing over time.
Then there is the whole "simulator" market. A February 2016
article in Golf Business News detailing a meeting at the PGA
Show with the leaders of "GolfZon" predicting widespread adoption of the GolfZon "café concept" that has developed at hundreds of locations in Korea. Tommy Lim of GolfZon indicated
that US locations were envisioned in Chicago, Dallas, LA, New
York and Orlando. Even though the organizations attending the
2016 meeting are still touting the growth of digital golf, I can't
find a location for a GolfZon Café in the US. GolfZon also set
up distribution in Japan, the UK and Canada several years ago,
but it looks like penetration has been relatively slow. According to a 2011 article on a Jetro website, GolfZon's sales doubled
worldwide from 10,000 to 20,000 units between 2009 and 2011,
but the GolfZon website is currently showing 30,000 units
sold,which means that growth is slowing.
In fact, it looks like About Golf simulators have comparatively
more installations in the US in "café type" settings than anybody
else. We should add that About Golf has some pretty high profile relationships with the Golf Channel and PGA Tour. Other
simulator brands such as Full Swing, HDGolf and OptiSwing
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018
Digital technology a boon for instructors
The age of discrimination
What do Swiss watches and golf have in common?
March golf weather impact: Forgettable month, dismal quarter
Cincinnati operators holding their own
Masters missed a chance to attract new golfers
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - TOC
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - Digital technology a boon for instructors
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - 3
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - 4
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - The age of discrimination
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - What do Swiss watches and golf have in common?
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - 7
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - 8
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - March golf weather impact: Forgettable month, dismal quarter
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - 10
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - 11
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - Cincinnati operators holding their own
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - 13
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - 14
The Pellucid Perspective - April 2018 - Masters missed a chance to attract new golfers