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September 2018

Egull’s Tweaking The Tee-Sheet

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By Scott Kauffman

In 1995, Pascal Stolz was at the forefront of a technological golf equipment revolution when the former TaylorMade worldwide vice president of marketing helped introduce the Burner Bubble to mainstream golfers. Nearly 25 years later, Stolz hopes another technological twist on the game will drive equally as much change in green fees and tee sheets.

When it comes to golf, time or lack thereof, is certainly one of the game’s ongoing obstacles to growth. Consequently, the traditional 9- or 18-hole greens-fee-based economic model turns off many golfers. But Stolz, CEO of upstart technology company eGull USA Inc., believes his mobile-based eGull Pay Golf App is the solution.

EGull Pay Golf App allows courses to monetize the time-pressed modern-day golfer by allowing them to play and pay  “hole-by-hole.”

“Golf is the only sport one can’t play for one hour,” Stolz says.

Stolz calls his technology the “Uber of Golf.” Basically, once a golfer downloads the free app, the smart phone’s GPS tracking capabilities precisely monitors in real time the holes played and bills. Besides empowering golf courses to generate new revenue in unused tee-sheet inventory, or recapture lost revenue due to inclement weather, eGull notes the technology doesn’t require any additional staff or investment by the operator.

Cheating is alleviated via real-time tracking. If golfers purposefully shut off the app, they are charged for the full 18 holes.

Stolz sees eGull Pay as a win-win because the course still keeps control of the inventory by establishing the hours open for play and the course sets the price per hole. Golfers simply check in at the pro-shop and the app does the rest.

According to Stolz, courses have no set-up or monthly fees for the service, and thus have “zero risk.” The app provider makes its money through a straight revenue share with 80 percent going to the course and 20 percent going to eGull Pay. Stolz added his company covers all credit card fees and other financial costs associated with the service.

Since its official launch earlier this year, eGull has more than doubled its U.S. client base, being used at 55 courses as of July, including from eGull’s home state of California and in Illinois and Wisconsin. For example, Milwaukee County Parks introduced the technology to its golfers and reports positive returns.

“From an operator standpoint, we have lost countless 18 rounds in Q1 due to weather. It’s very difficult to recoup these full rounds with 18-hole full price rounds,” said Chet Hendrickson, golf services manager for Milwaukee County Parks’ 14 courses. “EGull Pay gives us an opportunity to drive incremental revenue to fill gaps in our tee sheet and recoup lost rounds one hole at a time.”

Scott Kauffman is a golf business writer and the managing director of Aloha Media Group.

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