NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF
Mike Zisman, President/CEO
Chris Kallmeyer, Vice President of Operations
Nick Wolfe, Vice President of NA Sales
Lou Lombard, Vice President of Finance and Administration
Craig Higgs, Managing Director, Golf Genius UK
Alex Tandrau, Co-director of Development
Flavia Grosan, Co-director of Development
Golf Genius is the world’s leading supplier of golf tournament management solutions and works with over 60% of all U.S golf facilities, more than 8,600 in total.
Golf Genius’s cloud-based software managed approximately 21 million rounds of golf — providing both tournament management and handicapping solutions — over the past 12 months to private golf clubs, public courses, resorts and associations in over 40 countries.
It’s penetration of the U.S. market is significant, 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 State and Regional Golf Associations were newly recognized in 2018 as Allied Golf Associations.
Golf Genius Software’s mantra is less work (for the golf staff), more fun (for golfers), and more revenue (for golf operations).
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. A passionate golfer, Zisman’s interest in solving scheduling problems 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.
That success led to its partnership with the USGA in 2017.
“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, and the partnership with the USGA was a game-changer for the company.
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.