Club Trends: New Age of Club Technology

Summer 2018 | 19 By Bridget Gorman Wendling KEEPING PACE AT CONWAY FARMS Adopting Technology for a Traditional Game C A S E S T U D Y C onway Farms Golf Club (CFGC) in Lake Forest, Ill., features a 7,288- yard, 18-hole Tom Fazio course that opened in 1991. The mission to which the club has remained steadfast—to continu- ously advance the traditions of golf, including fast play, no tee times, walking the course with a caddie, respecting fellow participants, and supporting championship golf—is a prominent facet of the club’s culture and success. According to a 2016 USGA Survey, 74 percent of golfers believe that pace is crucial to the enjoyment of their round, and Conway Farms fully agrees. To support their mission, while ensuring an enjoyable, seamless golf experience for members and guests during the 18,000 rounds played each year, Conway Farms recently began using Tagmarshal’s golf intelligence technology to monitor pace of play, enhance player experience, and maximize staff efficiency. Initially, Head Golf Professional Andrew Adamsick, PGA, wasn’t convinced that the course really “needed” pace-of-play technology, but, seeking to stay ahead of the curve in provid- ing members with the best golf experience, he set his skepti- cism aside and researched some of the products in the market. Ultimately, they decided to go with Tagmarshal, and the unobtrusive GPS tracking tags and easy-to-use data analytics have made adopting the technology into their operations a simple, gratifying process. HOW IT WORKS The Tagmarshal technology applies algorithms that are based on findings and trends from 900 million data points tracked across the more than 200 courses partnered with the company. The entire CFGC course was mapped during a weeklong “calibration period,” whereby data was collected for approxi- mately 70 zones, and the course flow and player movement on the course was identified. This calibration also checked per-hole times and zone times against set-up information provided by CFGC staff, and corrected any assumptions based on the data reality. Within 30 days of signing with Tagmarshal, the set-up, training and calibration were complete, and the full system went live. CFGC has 40 Tagmarshal tags, which are GPS trackers that are clipped onto the caddies’ bibs before the round begins. Members know that rounds are expected to be completed in about four hours, with an official course goal time set as four hours and six minutes. Conway Farms staff can access the live map from computers, tablets and phones and track caddies as they walk the course. Based on course algorithms, on-screen icons will change colors to inform the group and the marshal of their pace. A green indicator means on-pace, orange indicates delayed play due to a group ahead, and a red tag indicates a slow pace. “Our staff is now armed with real, objective data about the pace for each round, which eliminates subjectivity from the Photos courtesy of Conway Farms Golf Club