NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Mike Zisman, President/CEO
Chris Kallmeyer, VP of Operations
Nick Wolfe, VP of NA Sales
Craig Higgs, Managing Director, Golf Genius UK
Alex Tandrau, Co-Director of Development
Flavia Grosan, Co-Director of Development
Golf Genius Software’s mission is to provide golf professionals with the best tournament management system in the industry. The company’s mantra is less work (for the golf staff), more fun (for golfers) and more revenue (for golf operations).
The platform managed over 8 million rounds in 2017 and, thanks to a partnership with the USGA, will be available in more than 10,000 golf facilities across the United States.
The company was founded by Mike Zisman, who has a background in enterprise software and a long career in building and managing successful businesses – Soft-Switch, Lotus Development Corporation and IBM among them. Zisman is a passionate golfer and it was his interest in solving scheduling problems that served as the genesis for Golf Genius.
Zisman, who has a Ph.D. in Decision Sciences and was on the faculty at M.I.T., was always the one tasked with organizing his group’s golf trips. He worked with a professor at the Wharton School to create a solution – and the result was an early version of the software called Golf Trip Genius. From there, the company added golf leagues and then built up the software needed to run complex tournaments with sophisticated requirements at private clubs.
“We were quite successful with that and started working with the USGA, which has now adopted us as their product in this space,” Zisman said.
“People don’t realize how much is involved with a classic member-guest or other tournaments,” Zisman adds. “As a chemical engineer, I often say to people, ‘you don’t care how complicated the refrigerator is, you just want to know that the beer is cold and the milk is okay’.
This is the same thing. As a golfer, you don’t care about how much work it is to put these tournaments together, you just want to show up and play golf. That’s the way it should be. But setting up these things can be very complicated. They’re changing all the time.”
Golf Genius has seen slow but steady growth over the years, but the partnership with the USGA is a game-changer for the company.
Golf Genius is now providing golf tournament management software to almost two-thirds of all U.S golf facilities. It’s significant penetration of the market, as the management software powered by Golf Genius replaced the USGA’s previous Tournament Pairing Program (TPP) for all State and Regional Golf Associations and their member clubs that use the GHIN handicapping system.
The mission of Golf Genius is “less work, more fun and more revenue,” but the company also has a unique opportunity to grow the game by creating more playing opportunities. Additionally, Golf Genius is helping outing coordinators raise significantly more money for charity by introducing elements such live scoring, TV leaderboards and event websites.