G1 platform means a new golfer experience

Cloud-based, but that’s just the starting point

Innovations marketed to luxury hotels in the 1920s included the NCR motorized cash register, the Sloan tankless toilet and Hoover’s first upright vacuum cleaner. Overall efficiency was boosted by these inventions, though none of them offered a way to improve customer service.

When room service debuted in 1931 at New York’s Waldorf Astoria, you had back-office efficiency combined with a compelling upgrade to the guest experience … now we’re talking!

That kind of talk these days within golf course management circles is all about G1.

You devise a digital management platform that can deliver these benefits only if you start out with customer-centric focus—that’s indeed how it was in the planning and development of GolfNow One – or G1 for short. G1 is next-generation cloud-based technology for golf facility management that holds itself to high standards where efficiency and integration are concerned, but seeks to set itself apart by delivering a “frictionless experience,” as Kelvin Wierks describes it, for golfers.

“People didn’t know they needed Uber until Uber came along,” observes Wierks, who is Senior Director, Business Platforms, for GolfNow Technology. “Streamlining everything the consumer does throughout the economy is a sweeping trend, and we know golf courses will benefit from it immensely.”

As a business management platform, G1 combines all software and operating systems used at a golf facility into one platform. So that’s tee sheet, point-of-sale, social media, employee schedules, inventory, payroll, vendor relations, and more—all controllable by an Internet-connected device, from anywhere.

Explaining the mindset and mission behind G1 development, Wierks differentiated between a vendor that can improve an operation at the margins versus one determined to bring game-changing differences in how a course serves its customer. “We’re about helping an operator grow their business, not just run their business.” he explains. “A course partner of ours should measure G1 on whether it brings in more customers and influences customers to return more often and spend more on each visit.”

On the “spend more” question, some early evidence is in, namely beverage-cart revenue at Peoria Pines Golf Course in the Phoenix suburbs. Scott Richmond, GM of Peoria Pines, is just finishing his second month as a G1-powered facility and already has made an upward forecast for beverage-cart sales. Actual revenue for that category in the fiscal year now closing is $50,000—but he’s projecting a 25 percent increase for the 12 months upcoming.

“This industry has 99 percent of beverage carts out on the fairways using cash, which absolutely holds down spending compared to what we’d get if payments could be made by credit card,” Richmond says. “In one month using G1, I saw that proven out. As a result that revenue line on our 2018-19 budget went up.”

Chase McGowin, GM at Twelve Stones Golf Club outside of Nashville, Tenn., also touts the efficiency of G1 with his course’s beverage cart operation. “Everything we sell automatically gets pulled out of our inventory, so we know where we are at any given moment,” he said.

McGowin doesn’t stop there, saying G1 also has improved his check-in process. “We now have a much more efficient system,” he said. “Our starter used to have to walk back to the pro shop to resolve any situation – causing us to fall a tee time or two behind. Now, with a tablet in hand and the G1 platform, he can solve those types of situations right there on the tee.

“It just makes things more efficient. Golfers are playing in a more appropriate time frames and they don’t complain about slow play.”

Other dynamic shifts and upgrades in customer experience with G1 will be welcomed on the golf side of his business as they develop—but for now, Richmond says he also loves the changes he’s seeing in his restaurant operation. Servers at Peoria Pines are taking meal and drink orders by tablet and staying on the floor to continue serving customers instead of heading toward a point-of-sale terminal at the bar to make entries.

“Incorrect orders, missed items and delays in getting the orders in front of the cooks—that all happens when you’re using paper and pen then getting interrupted on your way to the terminal,” says Richmond. “That’s not happening anymore, which has produced a lot of positive results. Customers get a better experience, the servers are less stressed and we can turn tables faster.” One unintended positive is better tip money, which further adds to employee morale. “A digital restaurant check has gratuity options automatically generated, and what we’ve found is that patrons all seem to choose the middle option, 20 percent,” Richmond says. “That’s increased the average gratuity from 15 percent to 21.5 percent.”

Josh Brunet, general manager of Eagle Lakes Golf Club in Naples. Fla., is another early adopter. “The G1 product has been an excellent asset to our company and we’re excited about its potential to take us to the next level,” says Brunet. “We’ve been able to use G1 to seamlessly integrate our tee sheet, give our staff the mobility of a tablet to operate more efficiently, and the marketing tools also are integrated, so it’s extremely valuable to us.”

Brunet is expecting his G1 experience to only improve, based on GolfNow’s strategy of building it with a feature package that’s foundational, not maxed-out, and directing its team of 15 dedicated engineers to make upgrades quickly and regularly based on partner feedback. “You can always find new technology out there, but a lot of companies provide it to you and disappear,” he says. “With GolfNow and G1, we’re in constant communication. Their support is best in the business by far.”

That’s a nice compliment, but only fitting when a course partner commits to a new management platform. They should expect its provider to makes things so easy and satisfying for them that it feels just like room service.