NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Gary Cohen, Chief Executive Officer
Laura Dihel, Chief Marketing Officer
Chris Kapcar, Chief Technology Officer
EZLinks is a leading developer of golf course technology, originally starting as the sport’s first third-party tee time network before partnering with the PGA TOUR and continuing to grow into an industry powerhouse by adding technologies and software that help courses and clubs operate more efficiently and better market themselves.
EZLinks is still known primarily for its tee time booking engine TeeOff.com, which is the official tee time site of the PGA TOUR. The website (and app) offers a half million tee times at more than 3,000 courses across the United States. It has continued to grow in popularity as the percentage of tee times that are reserved online increases year after year.
EZLinks was founded in Chicago in 1995 and the following year aligned with its first course management company. Today, the company partners with 20 of the largest management companies in the golf industry.
The EZLinks reservation system in 1997 expanded to a 24/7/365 operation and hasn’t changed since. The company has been a part of a number of other noteworthy milestones within the sector: introducing credit card pricing to allow golfers to hold tee times (1998), releasing a golf-focused point-of-sale solution (2001), and offering dynamic pricing that allows greens fees to automatically adjust based on tee sheet utilization (2011).
In 2014, EZLinks re-launched its tee time distribution site as TeeOff.com and the following year the PGA TOUR entered the online tee time marketplace through an affiliate investment in the company. EZLinks in 2015 also purchased GolfSwitch, expanding its reach of tee times to more than 200 regional, national and global resellers.
“EZLinks’ robust capabilities helped Davie just in time for our busiest time of year,” said Dave Harris, the director of marketing at Davie Golf & Country Club in Florida. “We made the transition right in the middle of tourist season, and 71% of site traffic in January was from new users. Plus, we had visitors from 50 countries outside the U.S.”
With the additions of IBS Club Software (golf course management software) and Distinct Software Solutions (market technology) in recent years, EZLinks is further expanding the technology it can offer golf courses, private clubs and golfers.
Gary Cohen, who joined EZLinks as CEO in 2012 after executive roles with AOL, MusicNow, Six Degrees Capital Management and Redbox, has said the company’s culture of innovation and growth makes it feel “like a decades-old startup.”
Last year, TeeOff.com eliminated booking fees, a noteworthy move that PGA TOUR chief marketing officer Ty Votaw said contributes to the tour’s commitment to growing the game by “appealing to a new generation of golfers who are used to buying most everything online without the added expense of fees.”
With technology billed as “powerfully EZ,” EZLinks continues to help a wide range of golf facilities — daily fee courses, multi course operators, resorts, municipalities or private clubs — fill their tee sheets, market more effectively and drive revenue.
EZLinks has continued to increase the number of courses that use its booking software (making further headway into the private club market with the IBS acquisition) and helps facilities market more efficiently by gathering and analyzing personal information about their customers. In addition, more and more courses are using the company’s software to adjust rates in real time – dynamic pricing – based on factors such as demand, time and weather.