GolfNow

GolfNow is an online booking service for tee times at golf courses. Originally established in 2001 by Cypress Golf Solutions in Scottsdale, Arizona, it was acquired by Comcast via its Golf Channel unit in March 2008. Since Comcast's purchase of NBC Universal, the website now operates as part of the NBC Sports Digital unit.

GolfNow
GN GoPlay
Type of businessSubsidiary
Founded2001
HeadquartersOrlando, FL
Area served
  • North America
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
OwnerNBCUniversal
(NBC Sports Digital)
IndustryGolf reservation services
Employees600[1]
RegistrationNot required
Current statusActive

History

The GolfNow.com domain name was initially used by Chris Ryan and Dr. Tom Giannulli, in Houston, Texas 1999, with the intent to build the first online golf reservation system. Under Mr. Ryan's leadership, the company went on to develop and operate the initial Golfnow.com website (https://web.archive.org/web/20000511133802/http://www.golfnow.com/) til 2001. Funding issues and sluggish adoption of their reservation platform in the era of dial up modems, forced the company to pivot to a more content driven transaction model. Cypress Golf Solutions, which was founded in Scottsdale, Arizona by Brett Darrow and Frank Halpin in 2001, purchased the GolfNow.com domain name.[2][3] The company expanded its GolfNow brand and operations to a larger regional area over the years, and by 2006 it was operating in 17 states at over 600 golf courses.[3][4]

In March 2008, Comcast, owner of Golf Channel, purchased GolfNow. The company's operations were re-located to Golf Channel's Orlando, Florida headquarters.[5][6] That same year, the company facilitated the booking of 2.4 million rounds.[3]

GolfNow extended its services outside the United States for the first time in 2011 to Ireland through GolfNow.ie.[7] In 2013, GolfNow purchased BRS, a booking service in the United Kingdom, along with Fore! Reservations, one of the largest tee time companies in the U.S.[8] As of 2011,

GolfNow offered to acquire competitor EZLinks or its assets. GolfNow hired a former EZLinks employee. In 2012, EZLinks filed a lawsuit over software theft via the former employee.[9]

In October 2014, GolfNow acquired Active Network's golf division. The acquisition added 1,100 courses to GolfNow's service.[10] In 2015, GolfNow facilitated the booking of nearly 15 million rounds.[11]

This is GolfNow’s fourth acquisition in the last 18 months. It acquired BRS Golf, a British tee-sheet service with 750 courses last summer. It also acquired FORE! Reservations, an American counterpart with more than 2,000 golf courses. More recently, it acquired Crescent Systems, which had 300 to 400 clients.[12]

Features

GolfNow offers access to online booking services for over 9,000 golf courses.[13] Users can compare prices of tee times across multiple courses, read user reviews, and book their reservation.[13][14]

GolfNow also offers a mobile app; the free version offers the service's core search and booking functionality, while a subscription-based premium version adds additional features for use whilst playing, including a scorecard, personal statistics, and an "on-course GPS" function allowing access to overhead satellite maps of holes with distance measurements.[15][16]

Impact

The Orlando Sentinel reported that GolfNow has had a positive impact on the business of golf courses in Orlando, noting that the service helped to encourage business during previously "off-peak" dayparts such as the early afternoon. The general manager of Orlando's Dubsdread Golf Club felt that GolfNow had helped customers discover the course among other options in the region, crediting the service for "getting our name and our prices to those golfers who normally would not drive past 15, 20 golf courses to come play golf here."[14] The service was also credited with having attracted existing golfers to new courses, such as the Four Seasons Resort Orlando's Tranquilo, and new clientele to existing courses.[14] Orlando was GolfNow's fifth-largest market in 2015, having generated $14.5 million in revenue from partner courses.[14] There are articles and reviews to the contrary: The Oaks golf course in Kentucky posted a rebuttal to GolfNow's claims of helping the sport, but more directly, the golf courses. The Hot Deals, they claim, are chased by players only wanting to pay the least no matter what, and none of that money ever gets to the golf course. They also claim that very few, if any, customers return unless they again find a HotDeal; which in no way helps with daily operating expenses. The Oaks has ceased to do business with GolfNow. [17]

References

  1. ^ Michael Smith (6 January 2014). "GolfNow.com tees off on expanded push to transform clubhouse experience". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  2. ^ Alan Blondin (30 December 2013). "On Grand Strand Golf: Group of area courses hope new company boosts business". Mertile Beach Online. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Ford Gunter (4 April 2010). "Harmon brothers score with Golf Channel buyout". Houston Business Journal. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Cypress Golf Solutions rolls out golfnow.com in Southern California". World Golf. 11 January 2006. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  5. ^ Peter Kafka (3 March 2008). "Comcast Buying GolfNow.com". Business Insider. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Golf Channel Invests $1.9 Million To Expand Its Orlando, Florida, Headquarters". Area Development. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  7. ^ "GolfNow.com launches in Ireland". Breaking Travel News. 7 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  8. ^ Robert J. Vasilak (12 August 2013). "GolfNow buys British tee time company". Golf Inc. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  9. ^ Darren Heitner (15 June 2013). "Booking Golf Tee Times Gradually Shifting To Online Marketplace". Forbes. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  10. ^ Crittenden, Jack (30 September 2014). "GolfNow acquires ACTIVE Network". Golf Inc. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  11. ^ Schupak, Adam (25 January 2016). "Welcome to the Revolution". GolfWeek. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  12. ^ "GolfNow acquires ACTIVE Network | Golf Inc. Magazine". www.golfincmagazine.com. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  13. ^ a b Sandra Guy (30 March 2012). "Mastering Tee Times Online". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d "Orlando-based GolfNow offers more options, less hassle at courses world wide". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  15. ^ Jesus Salas (20 October 2014). "On-Course GPS and Tee Time Search Available with GolfNow App". Sport Techie. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  16. ^ "Stepping Up Its App". Golf Digestix. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  17. ^ http://www.myoaksgolfcourse.com/our-stance-on-golfnow/
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