Archives for 2014

Will Golfboarding Attract Millennials to the Course?

It’s no secret that golf courses around the country are looking for ways to attract younger players to the game. A much-needed influx of a younger demographic like millennials will not only add to the growth of the game of golf, but it will also keep golf course businesses healthy and robust, but can GolfBoard, named the “Best New Product” at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, bring millennials to the course?

Who Makes up the Millennial Generation?

Millennials, born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, are the largest generation in the U.S., representing one-third of the total U.S. population in 2013. Most are at the beginning of their careers, and will be a driving economic force in the decades to come. Ethnically diverse and well-educated, millennials are the first generation to have grown up with the internet. They are also a generation that grew up with board sports of many kinds. That’s why the GolfBoard promises to energize the sport of golf and bring millennials to the course.

What is Golfboard?

Part golf cart, part motorized skateboard, GolfBoard is a stable 15 inch wide electric board on which the golfer rides in lieu of the traditional golf cart. Easy to master, GolfBoard adds more activity to the game while improving speed of play and allowing users to experience more of the landscape. Its four-wheel drive and turf-friendly tires enable it to easily and safely handle all of the aspects of typical golf course terrain. The battery can last anywhere from 18 to 36 holes before needing to be recharged.

How Does Golfboard Work?

Users stand on GolfBoard like they would on a skateboard, and then shift their weight in whichever direction they want to move the vehicle. Operated with wireless handheld remote control, GolfBoard has two speeds: low (seven miles per hour) and high (11 miles per hour). While riding GolfBoard, golfers can use a stability handle or enjoy a free ride without the handle. They can carry their clubs or use a bag mount.

A Fun Way to Golf

GolfBoard lets people discover golf in a whole new way. It creates a more active, engaged and exciting way to experience the golf course, much like the way snowboarders experience the slopes, skateboarders experience the streets and surfers experience the ocean. With a base price of $3,995, GolfBoard can be purchased by individual golfers or acquired by golf courses to use as rentals.

Are you a Potential Golfboarder?

Let us know what you think of GolfBoard and if you see yourself using it instead of a golf cart during your next round of golf. Do you think innovations like GolfBoard will encourage more young people to take up the game? Tell us in the comments below!

Would 12 Holes Make Golf More Popular?

12-hole-golf-roundFormer mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani set off a firestorm of criticism when he suggested that golf could be made simpler by shortening the length of a round to 12 holes instead of 18. While it would certainly decrease the time required to play, it is nothing short of heresy to purists. But the idea is not as far fetched as most might believe and even has ties back to golf’s earliest courses.

A Game in Decline

Giuliani is serving as a strategic adviser to the PGA and in that capacity, fields many questions about the declining popularity of golf which faces statistics that look rather bleak. In the United States, the number of people who play golf twenty-five times or more per year decreased from 6.9 million in 2000 to 4.6 million in 2005, according to the National Golf Foundation. That decline has a cascading effect on golf courses as well. Course closings outpaced openings in 2013 for the eighth straight year. Viewership is down, sponsors are fleeing — overall a very challenging environment for the sport. But Giuliani’s suggestion to shorten a round is not the first time, in fact one of the greatest golfer to ever play the game has been an advocate of shorter rounds for some time.

A 12 Hole Round Experiment With the Golden Bear

In 2011 Jack Nicklaus created a stir when he organized an event at Muirfield Village with a 12 hole round. As a lifelong advocate for the sport, Nicklaus had been pushing for 12-hole courses since 2007 and even built a few. He felt strongly that the game needed a makeover to be more friendly to new players and pushed the idea into the forefront with his event. In an article with the PGA he said:

“With so many sports and activities fighting for the time and attention of families, we need to think of ways to make our game more attractive and thus more inviting, especially to children and young adults. Perhaps what Muirfield Village is trying over Labor Day can help open a few eyes and a few minds.”

The results were extremely positive. Club officials said that the event brought many first-time players to the course as well as many who had become estranged from the game. Those are two very important groups to reach for the sport to make a comeback.

Time For a Change

There is no single answer to the question of what’s causing the decline. There are plenty of surveys and ideas, but without a clear path the answer will require some creative experimentation. The leading idea is adjusting the amount of time involved to play.

As a society we live at a pace that borders on frenetic, yet golf can take up to 5 hours per round. The 12 hole round is designed to address this disparity between lifestyle and sport. The goal is a 2.5 hour round which is a duration that up-and-coming generations already associate with recreational activities. Lacrosse, soccer, softball, and other familiar sports all hover around the 2-3 hour mark and thereby seem to create an acceptable allotment of time to devote to recreation. Aligning golf to that time frame may make it a much more acceptable alternative.

Change Is Hard, But So Is Obsolescence

Change is always hard, but with a sport like golf, the resistance to changing any aspect of the game can be epic. However in this case, the history of the number of holes per round actually provides some precedence that should make the idea at least worthy of consideration.

While the origins of the 18 hole round have been researched for decades, St Andrews in Scotland is generally attributed with codifying the duration of the round, but it was a process that eased its way towards 18. Their old course had 12 holes laid out in a line and ten 10 of the holes were played twice, once out and once back, making a ‘”round” 22 holes. But the 22 hole round didn’t  stick. Several short holes were combined and The Old Course at St Andrews was reduced from 22 holes to 18 holes. This became the recognised format for the game around the world.

But it started with a 12 hole course and even the first British Open Championship was staged on a 12-hole Prestwick Golf Club. Something to think about for purists.

The Path Forward

There is no easy answer for reversing the decline that golf is experiencing, but something needs to be done. A leader like Nicklaus has enough clout to at least get the golf world’s attention, but more thought leaders will need to get onboard in order to create an environment where changes like a 12 hole round can take hold.

There is also an interesting positive trend in the statistics about golf that may help bolster the movement. The only bright spot in terms of the popularity of the sport is a resurgence in very young players. The PGA Junior League Golf has expanded from 1,500 youth participants in 2012 to 8,900 in 2013, a 490% increase. In 2014, participation doubled (18,000 kids). That kind of demographic may be particularly open to a change in the length of a round since they are just starting out. It’s a long shot but this powerhouse group may present an opportunity to introduce a dramatic shift in the game that could potentially be a pivot point.

What Do You Think?

Have you played a 12 hole course? Do you think it’s a good idea? Some people would say that if it’s a matter of time you should just play 9 holes, while others say 9 is not quite enough. Let us know what you think.

 

 

 

 

Three Great Ways to Use Golf for Business Networking

Group Of Male Golfers Teeing Off On Golf Course

Business is all about connections and while virtual connections continue to grow, their value pales in comparison to a real conversation. Having the opportunity to chat and get to know a person is the first step towards building a working relationship. Business is, after all, often about investing in relationships rather than just products or services, and spending time with key people will reveal a great deal and provide opportunities. But connecting on a business level isn’t always easy. It takes time to commit to networking.  If you have tried networking groups, you know they meet for a couple hours over breakfast or lunch and match professionals looking to make connections in their various fields, but over the course of those hours you will meet many people and rarely get any quality time to chat. Really getting to know someone takes more than a few minutes at a time. That’s where golf can help.

Why golf is such a great networking opportunity.

If you called someone on the phone and asked them for a four-hour meeting to get to know them, they would probably laugh and hang up; but if they accept an invitation to a round of golf, that’s exactly what you will get. A golf outing provides a casual environment where you and the other members of your foursome can relax and spend some time together away from the office.

Do I have to be an experienced golfer?

Many people believe that only low handicap players network on the golf course, but that is not the case. Everyone from casual to seasoned players can enjoy a round of golf while networking, as long as you maintain the rules of etiquette while doing so. Golf is steeped in rules that dictate how play proceeds and how to interact with other players. For example, who takes the first shot at each tee, marking your ball on the green or simply remembering to rake the sand trap after your shot are all important to the game, as well as demonstrating that you care about the game and the other players’ enjoyment of the game.

Etiquette will also indicate character traits that go well beyond the course. How you handle disappointments on the golf course will demonstrate how you react to stress on other levels, since people tend to react the same way to strong emotions in business and in life. Networking while golfing provides your prospective business with an excellent idea of your adaptability, generosity, patience, and sense of humor — all traits that are highly valued in business.

“Golf has a way of returning favors,” pro-golfer Arnold Palmer noted in a story about golf etiquette, “and every piece of etiquette you practice will be repaid tenfold.”

That includes putting on your best face each tee time. Though golf is a casual sport, your appearance shouldn’t be. Respect the sport, and your golf companions will respect you as well. After all, you’re hoping they will make you part of their permanent team or recommend you to their friends and colleagues. Show them you mean business.

How do I connect with other golfers to network?

Being able to play and knowing proper etiquette is a great start, but identifying opportunities that allow you to play with the people you would like to forge relationships with is the most important step towards networking. Here are three great ways to start networking on the golf course.

1. Build a Foursome Outing – Invite a prospect on a foursome that includes one other colleague and an existing customer to build a foursome that will be comfortable and fun. If your fourth member will be a sales prospect, is there someone else in your business he or she would be working with after the sale? Invite that person so the two can get to know each other. Also invite a customer that had similar needs but one that is not a competitor. Make it formal by sending an invitation, and if you plan to use it as a business expense, make sure your boss gives the okay to pay for your guest.

2. Charity Tournaments – Sign up for charity tournaments. These feel-good events are fun and provide a means of raising money for nonprofits in your area. Usually you sign up a foursome, so use the same methodology as described above. There is frequently a banquet or reception that follows, offering more opportunities to get to know people. The experiences of the day provide a great context to start conversations.

3. Just Show Up – Show up at a local course as a single and you will be paired with three strangers. This is more of a random chance, but it is a good opportunity to tune your approach to the course and your conversational skills. You never know who you might end up networking with in a random foursome.

Since your goal is connecting beyond the course, make sure you are prepared. The course is a good place to get to know each other, but serious business talk should be reserved for after round discussions. Have plenty of business cards ready and try to plan time for a lunch or an after round happy hour. Other ideas to incorporate are custom logo golf balls, ball marks, or other paraphernalia that you could offer to other players as a way of keeping your name and business with them…Be creative.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that people play golf to have fun. While it is a good opportunity to connect with people in different businesses, it is, first and foremost, a chance to get outside and enjoy a casual sport. Don’t be too competitive. Let everyone enjoy the round and the benefits will follow. Exercise, stress relief and even a little networking, all add up to make a golf a great addition to your life. Get out there and play. 

What is the Ryder Cup and How is it Played

What is the Ryder Cup and How is it Played?

The Ryder Cup is a spectacle on a world scale.  It is the golfing equivalent of the World Cup in Soccer.   While the format is obviously different; the tension and excitement that comes from having teams from around the world competing for a cup in one sport is similar.  Unlike the “Major” events in Golf such as The Masters, the US Open, the PGA Championship, or the Open Championship which are all competed on an individual basis.  The Ryder Cup is all about team golf.  Quite simply, it is Europe against the United States…  And who doesn’t want to beat the United States. 

How does the Ryder Cup work?  Striker Golf GPS was designed for groups and outings to play Ryder Cup Games and Formats on the mobile app and can be followed on a specially created Tournament Web Site ( more about that later )

How is the Ryder Cup played? 

The European and US teams have 12 players each chosen by a captain.  It’s up to the captain to decide who he wants to play in the 28 matches that are played over the three days of the competition.  Winning a match earns one point and whichever team reaches 14½ points first wins the Cup.

How do you win a match?

Strokeplay golf, like you see at The Open, is all about the number of shots. Whoever takes the fewest wins.  In contrast, the Ryder Cup is a matchplay format. The winner is determined by the number of points they win rather than the number of shots  that they take.  Each hole is worth one point;  If Phil Mickelson takes five shots and Rory McIlroy takes four, then Rory wins the hole and earns a point.  The score is plus one for Rory ; or generally referred to as Rory being one up.

But If Mickelson and Rory take the same number of shots, then they earn half a point each.  This is referred to as Mickelson and Rory being All Square.

So after 18 holes whoever has the most points wins the match and earns a point toward  their country’s total.

What kind of matches are there?

The most exciting thing about the Ryder Cup is that in addition to head to head individual matches, there are two 2 on 2 team matches call fourball and foursome matches.   Fourball is basically two on two best ball match play.  Whichever player takes the least shots, wins the hole for their team.  Foursomes ( alternating shots ) are even more exciting as both players share the same ball and take it in turns to hit it. 

Matchplay encourages more aggressive play as players are looking to win the hole outright. It’s all about beating your opponent.  If your opponent hits a bad shot, then you can play more safely.  But if they hit a good shot the pressure is on to try and match them.   In the fourballs each team has two players going for the hole. Players can afford to gamble as they look to take a winning advantage and make a birdie. In foursomes it’s very different, that’s when you need consistency. You need to keep the ball in play and avoid making mistakes.

The pressure in the Ryder Cup is different than the pressure felt by the players in the other Majors.  First, the Ryder Cup is a team event where the your play directly affects your teammates.  Second, the players are playing for the pride of their countries.  The United States team is obviously playing for the United States, but the European Countries are playing for the pride of Europe. 

Striker Golf GPS

Striker Golf GPS was specifically designed to accommodate tournaments and outings to play Ryder Cup Games.  The unique Live Scorecard will score both matchplay and strokeplay tournaments including Fourball ( 2 man best ball ) and Foursums ( 2 man alternate shot ) as well as standard individual match play. 

Keeping Score with Striker Golf GPS – 2 Great Ways to Do It

One of the most common questions we are asked is “What is the preferred way to keep score using the Striker Golf GPS mobile app?”

Well, the answer is – It depends!

There are two ways to score within Striker, and you can switch from one to the other simply by changing your phone position.

Striker Golf GPS Scoring Options

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GPS Screen Scoring – One great advantage of Striker over other golf apps is that we allow you to enter your score and all of your stats without ever having to change screens.  When the phone is in the vertical position on the GPS screen, you can press the Strokes button and a number pad will appear from which you can enter your stroke count for the current hole.  Once entered, it will automatically display the entry pad for your number of putts, and then continue on through the other stats.  With this one-screen method, a player can enter their score and all of their stats in LESS THAN FIVE SECONDS!!!  No more excuses for not keeping your stats.  They will help you improve.

Scorecard Scoring Method – If you prefer to enter your score via the traditional scorecard, or you are scoring for more than just yourself, simply hold the phone in landscape position and the display will automatically change to show the scorecard.  Just tap the cell for the hole and player you want to score and a scoring banner will appear at the bottom of the screen.

It’s that simple.  As always, please contact support if you have any additional questions.

Win the Hottest Golf Balls on the Planet

Golf balls come with different covers, compression, cores and even dimples. The only thing they seem to have in common is their shape!

So what’s the right golf ball for you? It can be pretty confusing for the average player to choose, but the answer is really quite simple… [Read more…]

Golf is Not Too Expensive to Play – It Is Just Too Expensive to Start

golf equipment and course

Have you ever asked yourself how expensive is it to get started playing golf?  The short answer is that it is very expensive. I started examining the costs of playing golf because I realized that good golfers, as compared to mediocre players and beginners, have VERY different theories about why the number of golfers is decreasing in the United States and around the world.  Obviously, the reasons are multifactorial, but a large reason is that golf can be cost prohibitive just to get started. [Read more…]

Can We Call Tiger Woods the Best Ever Without 18 Majors?

This Blog is largely excerpted from an AP report right after Tiger’s Announcement that he is not only unable to play the Masters but will also likely sit out the rest of the 2014 PGA season due to back surgery.  There was no commentary to this report, but it lists in great detail the LONG list of injuries that Tiger Woods has endured over the years. [Read more…]

There is No Reason Why Interest in Golf “Should Be” Decreasing!

golfer

  1. It is one of the only sports you can play as you get into your 80s and 90s.
  2. It is one of the only sports you can play as a family whether it is a young family or an old one.
  3. It is one of the only sports where you can think of it as a walk in the park.
  4. It is one of the only sports where you can speak complete sentences without catching your breath.
  5. It is one of the only sports where you can make a business deal without catching your breath.
  6. It is one of the only sports you can play without having to run a 4.3s dash.
  7. It is one of the only sports you can play with your arm around your honey at sunset.
  8. Golf is one of the only sports you can play around green fields, sand, and beach.
  9. Golf is one of the only sports where you can play against yourself.
  10. Golf is like an “open marriage”. You might start with a twosome but leave with a foursome.
  11. Golf is one of the only sports where you every phrase can be construed as a sexual innuendo.
  12. Golf is one of the only sports where your dad or mom can beat you with a club without going to jail.
  13. Golf is by far the most interactive sport you can spend with your children, wife– hours of family time.
  14. What other sport besides golf can you spend hours interacting with your children, wife, or family?
  15. You get to play with a ball… and some of them are colored.
  16. It’s a game you can play for a lifetime.
  17. Golf is the most fun you can with your clothes on.
  18. Golf does not require a high degree of physical fitness to play well.
  19. A solo person can go to any course and be joined with other players. Golf is like a dating service.
  20. Golf is the only sport where a handicap is desirable.
  21. Golf is a sport where you get out of work to play a Charity Tournament… but it really is just like playing golf any other day.
  22. Golf is great as it fosters competition, etiquette, integrity, honesty,… and even math.

 

Decline in Golfers Around the World — What’s the Cause and What can be Done about it?

junior golfThe forecast for Golf around the world is unfortunately one of doom and gloom.  The growth in the United States, Canada, and Europe are either stagnant or decreasing annually.

Many reasons have been provided for this decline including the costs of playing golf, the decline in the economy, or even slow play and long rounds; but one can argue that one of the more significant reasons is the decline in the interest of junior players  or millenials who find that golf is just not Fun and Engaging.

And the challenge, according to the National Golf Federation is to make golf more attractive to this segment of the population [Read more…]