SkyGolf already is a leading manufacturer of GPS rangefinders, but it’s venturing to become much more.
Calling it the next Facebook would be a stretch, but the company has stumbled into the creation of an online golf community that stands to transform SkyGolf – and the way its consumers interact with one another.
SkyGolf CEO Richard C. Edmonson is the first to acknowledge that his online venture still is in a beta phase and won’t hazard a guess about its revenue impact. But he says early results have been so promising that an official launch will occur “pre-Father’s Day.”
“We’re opening a portal to the game’s future,” he says.
What Edmonson realized SkyGolf possessed was a database of 300,000 avid golfers – consumers who have purchased his company’s SkyCaddie rangefinders ($249-$399) and pay annual fees ($29.95-$59.95) to access its library of course maps. As a membership benefit, he created a website where SkyCaddie users can share their golf experiences.
“When the game ends, your passion doesn’t. We’ve created a community where you can continue your passion,” says Edmonson, who added that his idea was validated by the success of nikeplus.com – an online running community that has united runners from around the globe.
Nike’s site helps runners in various ways, including charting mileage and times, offering training programs, selling products and staging activities.
Edmonson envisions doing the same for golfers at his online community, Club SG (clubsg.skygolf.com).
Among services already available or in development:
• Shot tracking: Golfers can “replay” their rounds online, reviewing every shot they’ve hit via graphic displays and performance statistics. Users also can allow fellow members to view their rounds. “A college coach can see how everyone on his team played a course,” Edmonson says. He adds that it’ll serve as a tool to help members explore new courses to play.
• Clubfitting: Golfers can upload their swing data, such as ball speed and spin rate, and receive recommendations for equipment best suited for their games.
• PGA professional directory: Members can find teaching pros, schedule lessons, provide reviews and make referrals.
Says Edmonson about Club SG: “It’s going to be a place to learn.”