Del Ratcliffe, Founder Kodology - PITCHcrm, joins Mike on The Tech Caddie podcast
Episode 7

Del Ratcliffe, Founder Kodology - PITCHcrm, joins Mike on The Tech Caddie podcast

Del shares his background as an entrepreneur and his life in golf. He discusses the history of Seven Jars Distillery and the discovery of buried treasure on his family farm. Del talks about entering the golf business and the importance of technology in the industry. He shares his experiences with EZLinks and Fore Reservations, as well as the development of Kodology and Pitch CRM.

microphone icon

Del Ratcliffe

simple clock icon

1hr 6min

green horizontal play episode button
spotify icon greenround red youtube play buttonpurple apple podcast icon

Description:

Summary

Del shares his background as an entrepreneur and his involvement in the golf industry. He discusses the history of Seven Jars Distillery and the discovery of buried treasure on his family farm. Del talks about his transition into the golf business and the importance of technology in the industry. He shares his experiences with EZLinks and Web Market, as well as the development of Kodology and Pitch CRM. Del emphasizes the significance of marketing automation and his partnership with Lightspeed. In this conversation, Del Radcliffe discusses the evolution of golf course management software and the challenges faced in the golf industry. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the golf customer and creating a user-friendly CRM. Del also talks about the integration of Pitch CRM with Lightspeed and the benefits of dynamic pricing. He highlights the use of technology in golf course operations, such as QR code ordering and table service. Del concludes by discussing the resistance to change in the golf industry and the potential for technological innovations in the future.

Takeaways

  • Del's diverse interests and entrepreneurial spirit have led him to various ventures, including the golf and distillery industries.
  • The history and heritage of Seven Jars Distillery, rooted in Del's family's involvement in the liquor business, adds a unique element to the brand.
  • Del's experience in the golf industry has highlighted the importance of technology and its impact on operations and customer experience.
  • The development of Kodology and Pitch CRM demonstrates Del's commitment to creating innovative solutions for marketing automation in the golf industry. Understanding the needs and preferences of golf customers is crucial for developing effective software solutions.
  • Integration with existing point-of-sale systems can enhance efficiency and provide a seamless experience for golf course operators.
  • Dynamic pricing allows golf courses to maximize revenue by offering different rates based on demand and customer preferences.
  • Technological innovations, such as QR code ordering and table service, can improve the customer experience and streamline operations.
  • Resistance to change is a common challenge in the golf industry, but embracing technology can lead to improved efficiency and profitability.

As Promised:

Link to Seven Jars distillery: https://sevenjars.com/

Google reviews of Seven Jars

Magic Clips:

The Strategy Behind Colin Read's Golf Tech Fundraising

Colin Read, co-founder of Whoosh, discusses his background in golf and entrepreneurship, as well as the challenges and opportunities in the golf tech industry. He emphasizes the importance of improving member and guest experiences, as well as staff workflows, through technology.

microphone icon

Colin Read

simple clock icon

48min

USGA's Scott Mingay talks GS3 golf ball and Deacon platform

Mike Hendrix interviews Scott Mingay from the USGA. They discuss the development of the GS3, a golf ball that measures green speed, smoothness, and firmness. The GS3 is used by golf course operators and superintendents to improve the playing experience and make data-driven decisions about maintenance practices. The conversation focused on the GS3 ball and the Deacon course management system. The Deacon platform is a cloud-based system that integrates data from various sources to help golf course superintendents make informed decisions.

microphone icon

Scott Mingay

simple clock icon

58min

Golfspot - Your Single Point Of Truth

Menno Liebregts, founder of Golfspot, discusses the challenges of managing customer data in the golf industry and the need for an integrated solution. He shares insights on the company's journey, customer base, funding, and expansion plans. The conversation highlights the importance of open platforms and the impact of data on decision-making in the golf industry.

microphone icon

Menno Liebregts

simple clock icon

37min

Jason Pearsall about Building Club Caddie, Autism and the Future

Jason Pearsall, the founder of Club Caddie, shares his journey of building the company and the importance of understanding the day-to-day operations of a golf course. Jason has the unique perspective as a golf course owner as he purchased Warren Valley Golf Course in 2022. Club Caddie started as a food and beverage delivery system called Golfler, but quickly evolved into a full clubhouse management software. Pearsall's experience as a golf course owner and operator have allowed him to build a product that solves real problems for golf course operators. The company has experienced significant growth and success, winning deals with management companies and continuously improving their product.

microphone icon

Jason Pearsall

simple clock icon

1hr 11min

Overwhelming Support for LA City Golf New $10 Player Deposit Tee Times

Kevin Fitzgerald, Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the Southern California Golf Association, provides an update on recent meetings regarding the implementation of a pilot program for golf tee time bookings in Los Angeles. The Golf Advisory Committee and the Recreation and Park Board of Commissioners both endorsed the staff recommendation for a $10 non-refundable deposit per player when booking a tee time.

microphone icon

Kevin Fitzgerald

simple clock icon

34min

ezLocator founder Jon Schultz conversation on The Tech Caddie podcast

Jon Schultz, founder of ezLocator, discusses how their solution helps superintendents find the daily optimum hole location and enhances communication within a golf facility. ezLocator now include AI to improve the customer experience.

microphone icon

Jon Schultz

simple clock icon

35min

Inside the LA City golf tee time controversy

In this episode of the Tech Caddie podcast, Mike Hendrix speaks with Kevin Fitzgerald, the Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the Southern California Golf Association, about the intersection of golf and public policy. Included is the TikTok video from Dave Fink which helped expose the gray market on the KaKao app, used by hundreds of golfers to score the best tee times available at the LA City municipal golf courses. Aaron Gleason from Golf Geek Software, discussed their solution called FairPlay Guardian, which uses machine learning to detect fraudulent activity in tee time bookings. Matt Holder from Loop Golf emphasized the need for operators to understand the pricing pressure and revenue management opportunities in the golf industry.

microphone icon

Kevin Fitzgerald, Aaron Gleason, Matt Holder

simple clock icon

54min

Aaron Gleason, Golf Geek Co-Founder, announces FairPlay Guardian

Aaron Gleason discusses the issue of reselling tee times at LA City Golf courses and how Golf Geek's FairPlay Guardian technology can help detect and prevent fraudulent activity. He also spoke about the importance of knowing the conversion rate of a booking engine and how marketing automation can help increase revenue.

microphone icon

Aaron Gleason

simple clock icon

29min

Kevin Fitzgerald from Southern California Golf Association

Mike Hendrix and Kevin Fitzgerald, the Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the Southern California Golf Association have a conversation about golf in Los Angeles. They discuss the role of the advisory board for Los Angeles City Golf Courses and the intersection of golf and public policy. They also peer into the issue of reservation systems and online brokers in the golf industry and specifically the City of Los Angeles.

microphone icon

Kevin Fitzgerald

simple clock icon

43min

Matt Holder from Loop Golf clears the air on The Tech Caddie podcast

Matt Holder from Loop Golf joins the podcast to discuss Loop Golf. Matt talks about the early days for Loop and mistakes made along the way. Mike and Matt go into detail about tee time scraping and how Loop helps golf courses.

microphone icon

Matt Holder

simple clock icon

29min

Don Rea, golf course owner and VP, PGA of America talks tech

Don Rea joined Mike Hendrix on The Tech Caddie podcast for a conversation about the technology Don uses to run the golf course he owns in Mesa, AZ - Augusta Ranch Golf Club. Don is the VP of the PGA of America and he speaks about operating technology from that perspective and from his knowledge gained as a podcast host with Jay Karen, the Executive Director of the NGCOA.

microphone icon

Don Rea Jr.

simple clock icon

48min

Del Ratcliffe, Founder Kodology - PITCHcrm, joins Mike on The Tech Caddie podcast

Del shares his background as an entrepreneur and his life in golf. He discusses the history of Seven Jars Distillery and the discovery of buried treasure on his family farm. Del talks about entering the golf business and the importance of technology in the industry. He shares his experiences with EZLinks and Fore Reservations, as well as the development of Kodology and Pitch CRM.

microphone icon

Del Ratcliffe

simple clock icon

1hr 6min

Morgan Kimmins joins Mike Hendrix on The Tech Caddie podcast

Morgan Kimmins from Springfield Golf Resort in Chandler, Arizona discusses their use of Lightspeed technology and the impact it has had on their business. He highlights the benefits of Lightspeed's punch pass feature and the ease of use of their booking engine. He also discusses the importance of communication and the use of technology for frost delays. Morgan emphasizes the value of support and training provided by Lightspeed and the positive experience they have had with their customer service.

microphone icon

Mogan Kimmins

simple clock icon

42min

Dave Vanslette joins Mike Hendrix on The Tech Caddie podcast

Dave Vanslette, Founder and CEO from FAIRWAYiQ discusses the evolution of the company and its focus on data and automation in the golf industry. They have developed hardware sensors and software solutions to optimize golf course operations and enhance the player experience. They are focused on reducing friction and improving efficiency in the golf industry through AI and automation. The company has a strong customer support system and aims to provide value to golf courses of all types

microphone icon

Dave Vanslette

simple clock icon

51min

Brendon Beebe formerly foreUP CTO

Brendon Beebe, former CTO of foreUP, discusses his experience in the golf industry and building a successful company. He emphasizes the value of bootstrapping, hyper-focusing on specific market segments, and building a flexible system to meet the needs of different golf courses. At the end of the episode, Brendon asks Mike about how he would compete with GolfNow if he was to build a tee time aggregator and how he would use GolfNow if he was a golf course owner.

microphone icon

Brendon Beebe

simple clock icon

51min

Allison George Toad Valley Golf Course

Allison George, a golf course owner and operator, discusses her experiences with various technology platforms in the golf industry. She shares personal updates, including her involvement in the golf industry and her use of technology in her golf courses.

microphone icon

Allison George

simple clock icon

55min

Dathan Wong Noteefy

Noteefy is a waitlist software that aims to help golfers play more golf and golf courses make more money. The product allows golfers to set their preferences for tee times and receive alerts when those tee times become available.

microphone icon

Dathan Wong

simple clock icon

36min

Tyler Arnold Eagle Club Systems

Tyler Arnold, CEO of Eagle Club Systems, discusses the company's golf management software and its success in the industry. He highlights the flexibility and simplicity of their system, as well as their focus on customer support.

microphone icon

Tyler Arnold

simple clock icon

35min

Transcript:

Mike Hendrix (00:00)
Del, welcome to the Tech Caddie podcast. Let me introduce you a little bit here. So you're a longtime operator, but I think more than anything, I think of you as a classic American entrepreneur. And so why don't you introduce yourself a little bit of the people that aren't familiar with what you're up to, and then we'll take it from there. Sure, Mike. Well, you know, again,

I think that part of my problem when I'm described as an entrepreneur is that the problem I have is I just like doing a lot of different things. I enjoy doing things. Technology has always fascinated me, but then so has being out on a bulldozer or a mower, just about everything about golf. Golf is just a great career, as you know. You meet so many wonderful people and you're not knowing each other for a long, long time in golf. And so you know what I'm talking about in terms of just the quality of people and the different.

backgrounds and we all kind of share that love for the game of golf. It's kind of a unique business in that way. I've got my fingers in a lot of other businesses as well, but nothing's quite like golf in terms of having the, first of all, it's not a big business. It's relatively a small business and most of us that have been in it for as long as I have, certainly you kind of know a lot of people that are in it. I run into people all over the country.

that are in golf and that we've got, you know, if we don't know them directly, you're the only one or two connections away from, from having a close relationship with those people. That is for sure. You certainly, there are names in the game that people recognize. And when I say game, of course, I'm not talking about playing. I'm talking about operating and owning and that kind of thing. You're, you know, this is a new podcast, right? We're six episodes in. Your name's already come up at least two times.

Uh, and, and so, uh, I thought it was post office wall, man. That's what it is. So I, so we, we know this about this podcast, though we have a lot of, um, junior and I think some senior technologists that are watching, I get feedback from people saying, Oh, I'm so glad you asked this about the technology or that. So understanding kind of who's watching. And I want to say to them, we're going to get to the tech, but Dell's an interesting person.

And so he's got his fingers in a lot of things. Like he said, Dell, talk to us a little bit about Seven Jars and I'll just set it up for the people who don't know. Seven Jars is a real distillery. It has an amazing heritage or lineage. And it's, and it's, I, Dell, you tell me, but is it fair to say it's located in Charlotte or where should I say it? Yes, yes, we're in Charlotte. And I am, I am located in Charlotte, so Charlotte, North Carolina.

Mike, for those that aren't familiar with me, I am a third generation native of this area. My daddy's daddy was here. He was actually from a town that's a little ways away from here, about an hour away. So for three generations, you know, we've lived here in this area. My grandfather grew up during a very hard time during the Great Depression and my father was born in 1911. So he also was a kind of depression era child.

So Seven Jars kind of is a spin -off of something that they were involved in back then, well, even over a hundred years ago now. And that was the liquor business, you know? Yeah, it's interesting. A lot of people have trouble with this map, but just between you and your father, just because the way things worked out, just between you and your father, you cover over a hundred years of American history. And so, yeah. Yeah. And then you throw my grandfather in it, it goes back even farther than that, because Papa, as we call my grandfather, Papa, who I never met, he passed away before I was born.

He was a bootlegger and he was bootlegging, you know back then before Prohibition hit there were a lot I mean there are a lot of people that were making whiskey you could make whiskey and it was illegal and a lot of people did that North Carolina was unique in that we were part of the Bible Belt and so we had Prohibition before the rest of the country did the Prohibition actually started in North Carolina in 1909 so a lot of the a lot of the smaller makers like that, you know was time for still

kind of tough even before the Great Depression hit. So even as early as the early teens of 1900, you know, a lot of people were still making whiskey because you used corn back then. Predominant thing that they use, it was corn liquor and corn was pretty abundant. They all grew corn. But at the same time, you what you sold an air of corn for was nothing compared to what you could sell pint of whiskey for.

So, and it didn't matter if it was just in a clear quart jar or if it was in a, you know, a bottle coming from Jim Beam or somebody like that. Whiskey was whiskey. And certainly when they went in and enacted the prohibition locally here in North Carolina, it kind of boomed as far as a small cottage industry of people making their own booze basically. So, Papa did it. My father grew up in that timeframe and he was, he,

He actually ran some of Papa's moonshine and delivered it and all during the Great Depression. But then he, after Prohibition was lifted on the national level in 1933, my father kind of shifted it. And instead of running bootleg whiskey, he still bootleg, but instead of running moonshine, which was locally made, he actually bootlegged what they call tax paid liquor, same stuff we drink nowadays. Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, those stories started back up. And I can attest that. So I went to Appalachian State.

And so for people that don't know, this is in the mountains of North Carolina. Some people don't know North Carolina has mountains. I can attest that in the late 80s, they were still making white lightning in the woods of Boone, North Carolina. They're still making it up there as we sit right here talking. I'm telling you, it is available up there. Moonshine is still made, white liquor is still available. And this was still just kind of an offshoot of that. So getting back to the seven jar story, and again, I could spend the whole...

podcast, you have to speed me up and get me through this part. But you know, Seven Jars is a fascinating source why we started the distillery because my father got in the golf business just kind of as a whim. He loved golf. He liked to play golf. He knew a lot of people that played golf and a very good friend of his ran another golf course here in Charlotte. And so daddy had a farm that was really on the outskirts of town. And so he built Paradise Valley. It was a little nine hole golf course with a nine hole par three.

And so that was kind of his livelihood. He got out of the liquor business in the mid fifties. Really interesting story about all of that and how that came about as well. But he got out of that business and kind of went legitimate. He got into real estate and he developed real estate. He sold real estate. He got in some other things. And one of those was the golf business. And so he built this little golf course, which is where I was born and raised and how I first got started in the golf business. And he also built, um,

like nightclubs and whatnot, right? Because I always thought to myself, that was the first introduction to like human entertainment for your family, right? And that golf is, I say to people all the time, golf is entertainment. It's what are you doing with some disposable hours in your life, whether you're going to a club or you're on a golf course, there's some similarities there.

Well, pretty much everything that we do in our family heritage is all around entertainment. You know, daddy, that's what he did. He provided entertainment, you know, whether it was through the alcohol that he, he kind of imported into the area. You know, we were still dry here in Mecklenburg County all the way up to 1947. All right. And so he was bringing this product in the, what I call the tax pay liquor. He was bringing that in and bootlegging it. And he supplied all of the liquor houses and all of the speakeas is in the area by bringing this stuff in. They brought it in by the tractor trailer load.

You know, yeah. And so he had some interesting stories on that, but he did, he had a nightclub that was right in the center city of Charlotte. And on the second level of the nightclub, they had a full blown casino, you know, they had craps and blackjack tables and all that was part of the part of the library. Again, part of the entertainment scene. Right. And so the seven jars story, if you can share, then we'll get into the tech, but essentially your father left you a treasure to dig up. And so, yeah, we didn't even know about it. You know, and again, the whole time that I was born that we, I grew up hearing the stories. I, I,

Daddy was a fascinating storyteller. He would tell about bootlegging and running moonshine and running tax -paid liquor and having run -ins with the law and other bootleggers and everything, but we weren't allowed to talk about it because that was before. So he would sit around the dinner table and tell these stories, but we were not supposed to go out and tell the stories into the community. And then he passed away very unexpectedly. I was 18 years old, still living at home, still in school as a matter of fact. And...

Daddy passed away very unexpectedly and it was very devastating to my mother. She had a hard time with it, Mike, and it took her probably it was I'd say a year and a year and a half after daddy died. She came to me one night and she said, your father buried something out here on the farm. And this was the family farm. We called it the farm, even though it was a golf course at that time. And she said he had he had something he left that he wanted the family to have. And she said, the good news is I know he buried it. The bad news is I don't know where he buried it.

She had an idea. So, and we went out looking for it. Now she was also very adamant we couldn't do this in the daytime. We'd have to go out at two o 'clock at night and she held the flashlight and I took the shovel and we would try to dig and try to find what daddy had left for us. And it took me almost two years of digging to try to find it. And the way we actually found it was we had sold the property. It was under contract to be sold. And I told her, I said, before we sign the deed, I don't care if I've gotten to dig up this whole place.

I'm going to find what daddy buried for us. And so I did. I had a crawler loader. That time it was a little crawler, not a big one, but a small crawler loader. And so I told her, I said, I'm going to go out and take that and just dig up everything. And if anybody says and asks me what I'm doing, I'm just going to tell them we're doing soil testing for the new buyer. So that was our plausible story. So she said, OK, that'll work. I'm in for that. She said, but we still got to do it at night. So that didn't raise any suspicions at all. Because you were.

You guys were good, honest North Carolinians. You don't do that kind of stuff in the daytime. We were out there at 2 o 'clock and we went back to the very original spot where she first thought that it was buried. And again, she didn't really know what it was. And so we had this crawler loader and I'm out there at 2 a .m. She had a flashlight and she was directing me. And so I went down with the bucket on the very first scoop when I brought it up like this. She started waving the flashlight. I could see the flashlight going. So I jumped off the machine, ran around to the front and lo and behold there,

buried in the ground, it was seven mason jars, and they were covered in aluminum foil. They were all wrapped up in aluminum foil, and the lids were all rusty and everything. And so in those jars, he had put in what was basically, it ended up kind of being almost the business plan for his idea. Again, he was a child of the Great Depression. And he and my mother both, until the day she died, they were convinced that one day the Great Depression was gonna return, and we'd go back through that economic hardship.

And daddy always believed that the way to take care of the family, we could always go back into the liquor business and we could always go back into the gambling business. So I had all of his recipes in there for making everything from moonshine to bourbon, what made good whiskey, what made bad whiskey, how to do it. We had recipes for all different kinds of stuff from, and it wasn't just whiskeys, it was wine.

I was making wine when I was seven years old. He taught me how to make wine and everything. So we had all of these recipes. Plus we have tips for opening up a casino. Here's how you run a casino. Here's how you look for cheats in a casino. Here's codes that they will use. It was all this stuff and everything. It was great. It was the whole thing. And of course, back then, this was in the 80s when I actually dug the jars up, but we didn't think anything about it. It was very difficult to get licenses as a distillery back then. There were no craft distilleries. There were no craft.

breweries, you know, that that whole micro breweries thing had not even started yet. And then when they started making beer, and it became kind of a fad to do that, you know, it wasn't long after that, that distilleries started popping up to micro distilleries or craft distilleries. So we started looking into it and realized, hey, you know what, this is something that we can do. And we've got, we've got all these recipes, we knew I won't tell you how we knew, but we knew they were good. You know, we knew that this stuff was actually good. So I said, well, listen,

I'm going to confirm they're good. I'm headed down to Hilton head in just a week and a half or something. And we're, and we're stopping. So we're going to stop at seven jars and, and, uh, and then we're going to share for people that are listening, we're going to share some of the links to this stuff in the show. Cause I think, I think people would be interested. I mean, for, for, for everyone that's, that's here today, Dell, you, I think you guys are selling classes, right? Mixology classes and whatnot. And it's really, it's really cool what you guys are doing.

Well, it actually teaches distilling too. The laws regarding distillation are still very strict. You have to have a DSP permit. You can't technically own a still. You're not supposed to have a still. It's still illegal without a DSP permit. So the perspective of distilled alcohol is very different than just regular beer and wine that are more traditional, just fermentation products. OK?

And so the laws are much more strict on it, but we still teach habits that you can come in and we can teach class because you're in a bonded area where we're actually have to steal and so you can do that. So yes, we do that. We got into this really honestly, Mike, to tell the story and you know that you've heard the story so many times we've talked about it. I wanted people to know about the whole history of our family and the unique thing. So it's been a vehicle for us to really tell the story. And that's why I think it stuck with me.

Yeah, because there is a real story to it, right? There is, you know, I talked to a lot of different golf course operators and I, people that have worked for me, they get tired of the story, but you know, so many of their parents farmed the land and then the, and then the land became a golf course. There's a story in there. There's a story of America in there. There's a story of being a small business owner in there. And it's when you can get that story out is I think when you really start to get track.

That's why we did it. And I'm going to tell you a sequel that you probably haven't heard yet because this is something that's transpired in just the last couple of years. Okay. Because coming back to that whole story and how things are, um, my grandfather, who I mentioned, you know, was, he was also a moonshiner and all. I've got an article out of the Charlotte news from the 1920 Charlotte news. All right. The title of the article is drunk hogs found on a farm. That's the title of the article in the, in the newspaper. All right. So the story is Papa, my grandfather,

They caught him with liquor in his car. All right. And so they arrested him and put him in Maine Post bond. Well, they knew he had a still someplace. And so he knew they were going to come out and raid his farm. So he posted bail. He made it out to the farm before they could get together enough people to come out and raid the farm. He moved the still to a neighbor's property, but he had a mash batch that was ready to run. And that was just as illegal as having to distill because it still had alcohol in it. So he poured the whole mash batch into the hog troughs.

So when the police showed up, there was no steel, there was no mash, but the hogs had eaten all of the mash and they were drunk. So they actually charged him with having drunk hogs on the farm. All right, now here's why this is kind of a sequel and kind of a fast forward. That happened in 1920, all right? That farm was way out of the county in the county of Mecklenburg County outside of the city of Charlotte, all right? My father years later had tried to go and buy that.

property because he wanted to have that farm back in the family name. And through an unfortunate series of events that happened that included me getting bit by a dog, he didn't get to meet with the guy who owned the property and he sold it to a developer and lo and behold, property got developed. So we didn't get the family farm. All right. But in 2021, I had an opportunity to buy a golf course. All right. And this golf course, this is one of the golf courses we own in Charlotte. Okay. This golf course was located in

one of the largest golf communities in the state of North Carolina. It's called Highland Creek. There's 5 ,000 homes around this golf course. Okay. And it turns out a lot of people didn't know this, but I knew it. Okay. That the golf course was on a portion of what my father's father's original farm was. So after we bought the golf course, I didn't do this before, but after we bought the golf course, I took my grandfather's deed that we had a copy of where he owned the farm and I had them plat that out.

over where the property is. And the farm that we now own as a golf course was on the part of the Highland Creek golf course, very near where the clubhouse now sits. So that whole story about the drunk hogs and where that seal was, we now own the property where that happened. That's great. Along the golf course is where that seal was located. So again, coming back full circle to your point, you all about that story, you know, and for us,

That's more important than the business. You know, we have, we have loved telling that story and sharing it with people and people resonate with that. I can imagine. Yeah. So, okay. So explain to us when you start to be, obviously the family had a golf course, but when do you start to take on a role of leadership within golf and, and you know, where your, where your decisions are really impacting the business. When does that happen in your life? Well, you know, the, um, I mentioned my father died when I was 18 years old.

Okay. Um, and that was very unexpected. Uh, at that time he still owned the paradise Valley golf course. It was under lease to a golf operator, but that lease was coming to an end and that golf course operator had bought another golf course. So I was the only male in the family. And just like you said, you know, we had a family farm. He had built a golf course on it. It fell on me as the only male in the family to basically run the golf course. So that way, and I had grown up on the golf course. I knew everything about it, you know, and knew, knew a lot about how to run it, even though.

I was only 18 years old. So that's what I did. That's okay. So, so really at a very young age, you're starting to make decisions that, you know, impact some people's jobs impacts the bottom line and that kind of thing. At what point Dell, do you start to realize that technology is going to matter in this business, right? Or that maybe if we adopt technology, the business can accelerate or whatever. When do you think that that starts to occur to you that technology will matter?

Well, you know, I've always been a fascinating, a fascinated student of technology, Mike. You know, I think I bought one of the first RadioShack TRS -80 computers, you know, and was sitting there trying to learn how to do things on that. I remember one of the big technological advances we had was when they came out with electronic cash registers. And, you know, we had the old kind that you actually put the numbers in and you pulled the handle down and it rang up, you know, the things came up and it dinged and everything. And that's how you rang up a transaction. Well, they had the electronic.

cash registers and you could use PLUs, they were called price lookups. I remember, I remember PLUs. So I've always been kind of a fairly early adopter of technology and trying that stuff out. I bought the cash registers, I did those type things, but the real, for me, the real crux happened in the mid 90s, when computer technology went from what was basically DOS based to...

the Windows type environment, you know, graphic user interfaces. And I remember when they were talking about the GUI, that was a big term back then, you GUI interfaces, because the graphic user interface changed how people interacted with a computer. And I remember going to the PGA Merchandise Show one year and a gentleman by the name of Harry Ipema there. And Harry, you know, Harry had the Fore Reservations and that was in the very early days. I mean, Fore Reservations was...

very on the cutting edge of what the technology was. And so, you know, talk with Harry a little bit and he did a demo of Fore Reservations and I was hooked, you know, and we bought into Fore Reservations and we had Fore Reservations for many, many years. And did you attend because we've talked about this on the podcast, too. Did you ever attend one of Harry's conferences? Yeah, one of the best, probably one of the best running user conferences I've ever been involved in. Totally agree. Totally agree. Like there's a gap right now in golf.

for that, you know? Well, you know, they did a really great job. And I've told, I mean, I tell every tech company and I work with a lot of the technology companies out there. You know, I tell all of them, I said, we could model that, you know, that's one of the best things that a software company and I don't care if you're, it doesn't matter if you're a point of sale vendor or whatever your product is, you know, it was very much driven by users. And the one reason that Fore Reservations made such a leap and stayed such a great product for so long,

was because it was built off of what the users were telling them we want to see in the product. I agree. Yep. I agree. And they focused their whole development path was focused on what came out of those user groups. If you attended one of those, you came away not only did you learn more about what software could do and how to operate and get the best out of it, but you had input into the things that you would want to see in the coming year. Right. And they did. So it was great. Yeah.

You know, there's so many startups right now in golf. I hope some of them hear this and just start to think to themselves, huh? Maybe there's something there. You know, maybe, maybe we should. Okay. So you're using Fore Reservations. Um, um, what did, when you, you know, obviously I was, I was at golf now we bought Fore Reservations. We renamed it GolfNow Reservations but in your run, when did you leave for reservations? What'd you move to? Well,

We were, I'll tell you the big move from Four Reservations was when I got into multi -course operations, okay? We had multiple facilities and Four was great for standalone facilities. It was server -based, you know, had to have it on your laptop or your property. And in those days, you know what, really, one of the things that I was looking for, I was fortunate enough to have multiple properties in the same general geographic area.

Okay. So I wanted to merge database. I knew and understood the value of having not only emerged database, but being able to do loyalty across multiple properties. You know, if you had a loyalty program at this property, you needed to be able to offer it across all of the properties in your portfolio. Okay. Let me interrupt you real quick. So at what point, I mean, like who knows, right? Who remembers, but when do you think you actually started to be aware of like what loyalty was and that that was going to matter long -term? When do you think that that started to kind of

work into your business? Well, for me, it was probably the late 90s. I want to tell you, Mike, I honestly, and I'm not trying to say that, I honestly, I saw what I kind of felt like was the coming bad cycle for golf in the late 90s. And one of my reasons then was not so much because we were building so many golf courses. Ultimately, we pointed the finger at building so many golf courses. We built a golf course a day for 10 years.

Build one a day, right? That's all our problems. That's right. Yeah. But the reality was we not only built those golf courses, what we were building were difficult golf courses. We were building 18 hole championship golf courses and churning them out at one to two a day. Okay. The average golfer could not play those golf courses. They were, you know, they were designed for sick for less handicappers to really enjoy.

And at the same time we were doing that, we were closing a lot of the traditional golf courses that people had learned the game on, you know, par three golf courses. Back then, you know, par threes became a stigma. You didn't want a par three golf course. They're making resurgence now with the popularity and everything, you know, and we were closing what I called the bunny slopes. And for years I called it the bunny slopes out there, you know, where people go to learn. And my analogy was, Hey, just think about what would happen to the snow skiing business if they closed all their bunny slopes and all they did was build double down and most difficult. That's right. Yes.

The existing skiers would love it, but where is your next generation of skiers going to come from? If they come out and they play golf course and they feel like they got beat up, they had a bad experience, a cost of an arm and a leg to do it, they're not coming back. And now I think Topgolf has helped with that, right? They've kind of filled in. Topgolf, Top Tracer. You've got the cradle, the impact of the cradle and the hay and the...

you know, there's the threes down in South Carolina right there, you know, in Greenville, there, there's kind of a resurgence of the par three concept and that shorter golf experience that you don't have to go and do a green grass experience. Okay, so, so let's go back to so you leave for I don't know this, I'm just going to guess you leave for and you go to EZLinks but maybe you went, you didn't want that time, you know, he thinks was the only one out there that really offered an integrated.

concept of how you can manage multiple facilities and have the cross platform for a loyalty program. Okay. So that was Andy Weeks. And so Andy builds this. And it's interesting for people that don't know, Harry and Andy, both in Chicago, Illinois, but, but Andy really builds the next generation thing. Right. And to your point, he can do multi courses.

He's also got this whole call center thing going on. He really builds a more sophisticated solution to the problem. It was an end to end solution that nobody else really had at that time. And you might remember the first efforts that they were doing. This is before a lot of this happened before the internet was really a thing. And some of their first multi -course operation actually used microwave. There were microwave transmitters between the courses to kind of correlate that data. It's amazing. Yeah. You look back now and you think, wow, but.

But then the real big breakthrough in that was when we were able to start housing all of that data and they were the original cloud -based T -sheet. The T -sheet in the EZLinks was a fantastic product. It was really great. We went with the EZLinks and a lot of the guys that were with the EZLinks I still work with even to this day, and Andy did a great job and he split off with the call center and everything, but some of the other guys that stayed there and -

You know, Kurt Albertson, Kurt and I have been good friends, we're made good friends to now. And Mike Brown, you know, Brownie is, when they started, you again, you talk about the user experience and everything, okay, Brownie came to, Mike Brown came to Charlotte and did an installation for me on the golf course. And we literally, it was a thing, we got the keys to the course at 5 p .m. and we had to open the next morning at 8 a .m. as a new owner, new operator and everything, you know.

So we came in, Mike had all the computers, image and everything ready to go. And we literally did pull an all nighter between he and us setting up the whole system. So we'd be ready to go the next morning. And one of the benefits that Mike had, a good hire on Andy's, but one of the benefits Mike had was he actually was a PJ Pro. He could really relate to you being an operator. He knew golf, but he also was so good on the technical side. And so that night after...

the after we got to the end, we finished up about 4 a .m. So we had some time. So I said, what do you want to do? He said, let's go get something. So we went to Waffle House. And so we sat at Waffle House. And Mike, he said, so what do you really think we need to be working on? And I said, well, the real next step that we need is online marketing. I said, we need a better online marketing tool. We need a way really to control pricing in a dynamic manner. And this is back in the early 2000s. Okay, when we had this problem 2000.

six, I think five or six like that. And so on the back of a napkin in Waffle House, you know, we sketched out and I told him what I wanted a dynamic pricing tool to do on a napkin in there. And from that, they took that back and they built Web Market. I don't know if you remember the EZLinks Web Market. Of course I do. I competed against the Web Market every single day. So yeah, I knew it. So just for the sake of time and whatnot. So now you're starting to really get deep into it, right? And you're a customer, but at some point,

You must have said to yourself, I think I'm going to do this on my own. And you, you found what I believe we call Kodology and Kodology ultimately builds a brand called PITCHcrm, but take us through the beginning of Kodology and kind of how that happened. Sure. Yeah. So we were, we were working on, you know, we got the, and again, the, the, the, the web market took a long time to get, you know, actually working at them. It was great, but we were still lacking.

the marketing tied into that from my perspective. Back then, a lot of people still do this. If you were doing email marketing, you had your database that's in your point of sale system, but then you had MailChimp or Constant Contact, or you had some type of an email server provider that you had an account with. You would have to download your contacts out of this one, import them into the other one, de -duplicate them, filter them. In a lot of instances, you had to go through -

Let me, let me just interrupt because I think, I think this is important. Now, Harry would say, no, no, no, Dell. I have that in for reservations, but I think, I think someone like you, certainly I can speak for myself. I would say, I know Harry, but looks matter, right? The customer experience matters and I, and the way this messaging looks represents my brand. And so I care about how this stuff looks. Yeah. And it's not just how it looks. It's the deliverability of it. You know, it is the,

To be honest, it's the efficiency of it as well. There's a lot more to doing email marketing than just sitting down and saying, okay, I want to send out a blast email to everybody. And I'll tell you what really got me going down the path that I was going down with this. It's because I started getting, even back then I was buying stuff from Amazon. Now we're into 2010, 2011 is the timeframe that we're in and everything. You buy something from Amazon.

Three days later, I get an email that says, hey, Dale, we noticed you purchased so -and -so. Other people that bought this, bought the same thing, looked at these things. Next thing I know, I'm buying that stuff too. I know there is not somebody sitting at Amazon watching what I'm buying and sending these things out. They've got it figured out. They've got a computer that's doing all this stuff. And so I said, I want the ability to automate my email marketing. OK?

And nobody had that. Nobody in golf had that. And nobody has it really, quite honestly, to the level of what we built with In -Pitch. So I was fortunate enough to have one of my good friends and customers at one of my golf courses is from India and was in the software development business. And so I went to him and I said, you know, I want an email marketing platform that syncs up with my point of sale. All right. And I don't want to have to do this download and.

upload and de -duplicate and then worry about, you know, all of that stuff and having to do that every month. I want all that done, but I also want to pull in all of that transactional data. I want to know everything about this person. I don't want it, not just their email, not just their phone number, not just their address. I want to know when do they play? When do they book? How do they book? You know, who do they play with? What do they buy when they're in my shop? I want all of that. And I want to be able to trigger email marketing sends off of that information.

And I want to be able to do it automatically. And I said, can you do that? And he goes, no problem. I can build that for you. Okay. So I learned something or valuable lesson, Mike, and you've been around the left foot up to where you know, okay. Every software guy out there will tell you, Oh yeah, I can build that. It'll take me about six weeks. You know, I'll have that for you in six weeks. Okay. Five years later, right. Right. I'm trying to get it there. You know, you've got something going, but that's the software business, you know, and it's a,

The other thing I didn't realize too, and this was kind of what happened even with as good as it was with four up, not four up, with Fore Reservations, but everything out there, the market is always evolving. When you get in the software business, it's not a sprint. You don't get a sprint and you cross the finish line. It is a marathon that never ends. You will be developing from here on out because if you don't...

Sooner or later, either the technology that runs what your software is, is going to become obsolete or somebody is going to build a better widget and they'll outpace you in the market. So you've got to keep reinvesting in that. Agreed. We originally started that with the original Pitch CRM with the EZLinks group. And there were some problems with it in the fact that the T -sheet was cloud -based, but all of the point of sale system was server -based.

and it resided at the golf course. So we were getting tee sheet data, but we weren't getting the point of sale data. So I was all critical, obviously, you wanted to know the behavior of the big step. Yeah, big step on that. And so then, you know, as the years went on, everybody was evolving, I got to introduce to light speed and

That was actually at that time, it was Chronogolf, which was not part of Lightspeed, you know, and the two gentlemen that founded that I was introduced to them. And again, actually, Kurt Albertson made that introduction, you know, Kurt was working for them at that point and they were working, Chronogolf was working on and using the Lightspeed point of sale system as the backbone of what they were doing. You know, the T -sheet was built on the backbone of the Lightspeed point of sale. So I went to them and we looked at their architecture and the way that they were, they had a great API into their system.

The light speed point of sale is awesome. It is an amazing point of sale. And what they had done, I really liked a lot of what they had done. So we showed them our product and they were impressed with what it could do. And this was a very rudimentary version from what we have right now. I look back now at what we had and I think, wow, how did we even think that was a good thing at the time? But we've entered into a partnership with them and part of that was rebranding what we originally called

with with when we were with EZLinks, it was Chrono Pitch. I'm sorry, it was Pitch CRM. We then went to Chrono Pitch because Chrono Golf, right? But then once Lightspeed acquired Chrono Golf, Lightspeed really they didn't they didn't keep the Chrono Golf. Now it's it's it's Lightspeed Golf for the T Sheet product. So we kind of went back to our original thing and we're no longer a direct you know, like named in terms of what. And so today,

I think, but Pitch CRM has over 200 golf courses that are using your product. We have over 600 courses around the world using our product. And we've got some great golf courses that use it and they're all light speed clients and they're really, and it varies just like anything else. The other thing too, there's a real critical component here and you know this having been in this world and sold in this world. Okay.

Golf is not an early adopter industry. We don't have a lot of people who are wanting to be on the cusp of innovation and technology and everything. And in a large sense too, a lot of them don't even want to be bothered with it. They don't have time. I mean, particularly now we're a little bit better off, but we're still a labor intensive operation. Most people don't have time to go back in their office and sit there and create emails and send them out and put time into doing these marketing. So I want to...

I always say to people, uh, uh, lots of people in golf, frankly, they, they, they hold the operator in contempt that the operator doesn't do these things. And I can't tell you how many times I've been in a meeting and I've said, it's not that he doesn't want to, he doesn't have the time. That's right. It's important to understand who your customer is. Right. And if you don't understand that as a technologist today, or as a startup in golf today, you gotta go learn that.

because it's very important. Well, and that was one of the problems with all the big CRM programs that were out there. And we looked at all of them back when I started all this, you know, and there were a lot of them that could do what we wanted to do, but A, they were very expensive and B, they were very complex, you know, and it would take years for somebody to learn or even hire somebody to program those systems to be able to do what I wanted, which was something that was very simple, very easy to use.

not necessarily set it and forget it, but it's certainly to reduce that workload of being able to take your communication strategy, whatever it is. Now, my course, I might have a totally different communication strategy than you would have at your course, and our buddy Bill over here, he's got totally different, we're all got different customers, we're all got different ways we approach that. So we needed the flexibility to be able to be that diverse answer, but yet still be efficient, still be easy to use, and do as much in terms of automation of that as we can. So that's what we've.

worked out over the years. And we've tweaked it now we've done again, kind of using a lot of the feedback, you know, my first 30 clients. Wow, it was like, you know, they came up with things I never would have even thought of doing, you know, we never would in a million years, I wouldn't have thought of it, but they were great ideas. So, Del, can I ask you today for someone to use pitch, right? Or and I think that's what you're calling that's the sounds to me, that's your slang for it. You call it pitch. Do you have to be a light speed customer or?

or not necessarily? Well, for you to have the integration, Lightspeed is the only one that we have that full integration with. Now we do have a version that we've released that's a standalone version. We actually just released this this quarter, this first quarter of this year. And we call it a non -integrated version. And it's a direct competitor to MailChimp and Constant Contact and things like that, where you can upload a database. Now we still have some efficiencies built into Pitch that...

they don't have in some of the big ones, okay? One of them is actually cleaning your database, all right? That was one of the things too that I was so frustrated with, you know, because not just your staff making errors, but people give you wrong emails. You know, if you take the average golf course out there, they have some really bad data in that system. You know, they've got bad emails and everything. And if you just upload that into one of the bigger email service providers,

they will throttle you back. If you go and check the first number of those emails that are bad, and God forbid you might have a spam trap in there, and then they will throttle your account, they will tell you, take your list and go get it cleaned. You'd have to take that list, you have to go through a process, pay somebody to clean it all, and that's something you'd have to do on a regular basis, because you're always getting new information in, and if you don't clean your database, it will really hurt your sender score.

And that's a whole other thing that a lot of people don't even realize, you know, that you're getting into. If you've got a system that's not really engineered for delivery and a lot of, and unfortunately, a lot of the embedded software is that's in the point of sale system. They just don't have the resources to put towards that delivery. You know, you get into a situation where your emails are not being delivered at the rate that they need to be delivered. So that we do, the minute we get, and it doesn't matter whether you upload a list, it doesn't matter whether we get a contact coming out of your point of sale system.

We automatically vet that for you. You know, we will see and we will clean your list for you. You know, it's excellent. Now let me, let me ask you, would you, and maybe, maybe Lightspeed owns part of, of pitch, but I mean, there's so many new startup T sheet companies, right? There's startup this, there's startup that. Would you integrate with someone else and maintain two integrations or is that not something you guys would, would entertain? I wouldn't say we would never.

do that, okay, that's certainly not something that we would ever rule out. You know, one of the real challenges too, Mike, this is something a lot of people don't understand about the golf business when you talk about software for golf, okay? Golf is not a huge industry for software development, okay? And the software that you have to have to run a golf course is actually very complex, okay, because you have to have the reservation component in the tee sheet. You have to have a point of sale, that's a fully functional point of sale that can maintain inventories and do pricing.

You have to have some form of a really a live distribution system, the booking engine. You have to have a way where you can distribute these tee times out. You have to be able to integrate within your marketing and be able to do email marketing. You have to be able to run a food and beverage operation. There are a lot of golf courses out there that you can take an off the shelf retail point of sale system and run a snack bar. But if you're doing...

If you're doing more complex restaurant functions, for example, if you're using modifiers on, you know, you've got hamburger and you want to add lettuce, pickles, onions, and all that kind of stuff. You can't do that through a traditional point of sale system. You've got to have one that's really engineered for food and beverage management. If you're doing table service, now you're adding a whole other thing, you know. And so, and all of this needs to talk to each other. It needs to be integrated in a way so that it works seamlessly for your reporting, you know. And so, it's a very complex.

set of software that you have to have. But yet we've only got like 15 ,000 golf courses here in the United States. Right. So speaking of software, because I went and looked at some of your golf courses, it didn't look like you were a hundred percent light speed, but maybe, you know, maybe I'm wrong. We like to do this, uh, what's in the bag, uh, thing on, on the, like, you know, we talked to Alison George about it. We talked to Morgan Kimmins about it. Maybe it's different for different golf courses that you have, but walk the listener through like,

Hey, if I own a golf course today, this is what I'm using. You know, here's my booking engine. Here's my point of sale. What's Del Radcliffe using essentially to run his business today? These golf courses. Well, one thing first, let me address the very first part of what you said right there. Now, you know, we have, we've got a number of golf courses that we manage. Okay. Some of these golf courses we manage that we actually own. All right. And some of them we manage for third parties. And, um,

In some of the third party situations, the owner of those properties, we run the golf course the way the owner wants it run. And if they have a specificity of what they want for it, it doesn't matter if it's the software we use or the shirts we stock in the clubhouse, we run the golf course the way that we are told to run. And a lot of multi -course operators, it's very common. I don't know any of us that have one software and, hey, this is it. I agree.

but you know and two you acquire properties sometimes it's easier when you acquire properties to stick with that vendor certainly for a while and then you do a conversion you know one of the things that people don't understand too about golf when you change your golf management system I don't care who it is it's like having open heart surgery in your business you know you're doing it while your while your heart is beating you know and so we try to do it in the shoulder seasons we try to do it in all times of the year so there's times when you stay with a product for longer than you would prefer so

And again, the Lightspeed product, and I'll tell you this, and again, I don't want to come across as a commercial here, okay, but we built this thing to integrate with Lightspeed in a way that provides us efficiency of operation, and it works. I will tell you that, it works. And so that's obviously my preferred method of going. Now it might work because, hey, this is the way I want to run my business, and I designed it for us to do it. But the automation and marketing, and we've got tools with inside of where you literally can see,

what those emails are producing in terms of revenue. Because remember, we've got that point of sale information, that transactional data that we're bringing in. And so we don't just have to have a link. Traditionally, if you're using a third party email service provider, you have to build a whole, basically a whole tracking channel to be able to follow through to when someone does some kind of a consummated sale with you. You got to follow them all the way through to when they book a tea time with you. That's right.

With us, we can kind of shortcut that process. We can send out an email and we can say, okay, when did this person book based on when that email went out? So we don't necessarily have to follow that click that goes through to the website and then follow on that website all the way through to when the conversion happens. We can actually see, okay, this person didn't play golf with us in the past 180 days. They got this email from us and lo and behold, the next three hours they booked the tea time. Got it.

That's why that's one of the shortcuts that we kind of take in the system. Okay, but walk me through the bag walk me Light speed obviously pitch, you know, we use pitch we use pitch bookings for the bookings because we could do dynamic pricing through that We've got a lot of things that we can do to manage its bookings. I just want to help you pitch bookings is a booking engine

It might look a lot like another booking engine out there, but you have a branded booking engine that you call... It's a white label. It's a white label. Yes. A white label, another booking engine out there. And, you know, very good one. And we've looked at a lot of them. You know, we partnered and it's great. It works with what we need. We've integrated that into the Pitch platform too, in a way so that we're able to collect data.

You know, and again, that's one of the real big things. So data is where it's really at. You know, everybody we've talked about this for many years. You've got to be able to warehouse that data. OK, just did a big story. Dell, we ranked the booking engines in golf, right? One through 22. And we talked about why. Why does this even matter? Well, data was a key component of that, right? You've got to have a great booking engine so you can collect this data the right way. So, yeah, right. That you know, that that's one of the things, too. You know, not tell everybody I'm not, you know, I don't mind.

commenting on something when they do something really well. There have been some really great booking engines out there, you know, and the golf now booking engine is a very good booking engine. You know, people like to use it. That's one of the reasons it's so popular. It's not just about the pricing. It's easy to use. It shows them information they want. It's sufficient for them to use. So you want to have a booking engine that not only gives you what you want, but it also needs to give that end user what they're wanting in the experience. That's right. Let me just interrupt here because, and I don't know when you say golf now, if you mean...

out on the marketplace or what, but I will say to operators, one thing that's happening that you might not know is happening, right? One thing is happening is different booking experiences are resonating with golfers. And when the golfer realizes he can buy the exact same tee time, I mean, at your golf course, Mr. Operator, he can buy it here, here, or here. He's going to go to the book, the, the, the, the most convenient form of booking that there is. And you say, Mr. Operator, you should even know.

that your booking engine needs to be more convenient than even the phone. Yes, right. And that's where you want to start to think about these things. Well, one of the things too, people will pay for convenience, you know, they will pay for convenience. It doesn't have to be the least expensive way of doing something. If it's the easiest way, they'll gravitate to that. I agree. And that's why I didn't say money, right? It's about experience. It's about like, three, it is it do I have my tea time that that's what they care about. Yeah, look at the success.

DoorDash, Instacart, those type of companies. I mean, it's exorbitantly more expensive to go through them than it is to get in your own car and drive up to McDonald's and get a cheeseburger and bring it back, you know? But they still are flourishing because people will pay for the convenience. You they won't have to do that. So, and you know, that user experience is very important in the booking process. Okay. So your light speed point of sale, your light speed T -sheet, we could probably do a whole nother product. Would you ever consider building your own T -sheet though? No, I wouldn't.

Okay. So your light speed point. I know it is. I know, I know, I Yeah. Yeah. Your light speed T sheet, your light speed point of sale, your pit, your pitch bookings, book booking engine, your PITCHcrm for let's call it golfer communications. Does, does pitch include SMS? We, uh, we do. Yes. Okay. All right. So that's where you are for that. What about websites?

What about what we do our website? We do our websites. We host our own websites through Kodology. You mentioned Kodology earlier and just for everybody to understand, Kodology is kind of the parent umbrella company. OK, and under that we have several software products. OK, and one of the services that we got into very quickly is even with pitch being as what I consider to be very user friendly and much more efficient to to use another email marketing platforms. We have a lot of our clients that say, you know what? We just don't have time to do it. Even even as good as it is, we don't have time to do that. So.

we do offer managed marketing services. And our team, they're very knowledgeable on the software because we work with it every day. So we can actually operate it more efficiently than someone else. So we've started offering these services. And websites are, there's a lot of different ways that people approach websites. A lot of them have their point of sale provider. There's some of them that bundle that in with them. Others might have their,

you know, nephew who has coded software and he does their website for them. There are obviously website companies out there that do that work, you know, and so we've become real flexible in how we do that, you know, but our best thing for us is to be able to manage that and host that ourselves. You know, we use, we use GoDaddy for hosting. Okay. And so that's interesting. I'm using GoDaddy to host. I have a website called permanent teatimes. I'm hosting on GoDaddy, but I

but we built it with a developer in WordPress. So I understand. I understand. If you're not building WordPress nowadays, you know, I don't know what you're doing. Yeah. But that's okay. And then, and then are you an app? Like, do you think golf courses should have an app or where are you with mobile apps? Yes, I like, I like mobile apps, but I'll tell you one of the complexities about apps is

And for us as multi -course operators where we have different owners and some of these owners are in the same markets and everything, you know, it really gets into a what we have not gone down the path quite honestly yet of being an aggregator of tee times. Okay. Although you do own in my notes, you own charlottegolf .com pretty nice URL to own. Frankly. I have Charlotte public golf .com. You know, we've got a lot of good URLs out there and you know, this goes back to my days. I mean, we've owned some really, really good.

URLs. Yes. Yes. And it goes all the way back to the days of, well, even before, you know, back to the days of Cypress Golf, okay? Before we had Golf Now and everything, I had Golf Now, but it was in Play Golf, Play Golf Now. I had Play Golf Now. I was doing a television show at the time. I had Play Golf Now.

And then we started morphing that. I started trying to do that. We were trying to go regional with the television show we were doing. So I did play golf Charlotte. I was doing it regional play golf Charlotte, play golf Columbia, play golf North Carolina. You know, we were celebrating something like that. Speaking of marketplaces in golf now, did you ever use last minute golfer? Oh yeah. Okay. Yeah. Well, you know, I will tell you, only in the very beginning and I quickly stopped using it. And I'll tell you why. Okay. The whole idea, and this was one of the big conversations I've had and you and I may have even had this conversation. Okay.

I don't like the concept of discounting for last minute purchases. You're training your customer base the wrong thing. You're training them that there's a reward if they wait to book, okay? I want it to be the opposite. I want it to be a penalty if they wait to book, okay? So if you have something that's based off of last minute golfer, then they're expecting, okay, if I wait, I'll just go in there and just see what's available and buy whatever that is because I'm gonna get the best deal there.

Our whole thing, and this is part of what we've integrated into our strategy. If you want the best deal at our golf courses, the sooner you buy and commit, the better deal you're going to get. Amen. Amen. Let me ask you about that just because there's a lot going on with reservations right now. Are you requiring credit card down or, you know, some golf courses are letting a group of four essentially squat on four different tee times in the same town. And then at the last minute deciding which they're going to use, how are you?

managing that hiring. Yep. Well, again, coming back to our strategy, which is directly geared towards that, because you're if you're in a market, you're managing multiple courses. This goes all the way back to the Eastlake State. We saw that very same thing happening. You know, Fred and Sam and Barney go out to breakfast on Saturday morning, and each one of them has got a time reserved at a different golf course. And they got it. Let's go here today, you know, play there. So we caught on to that real quick. So our strategy now.

But you still have to be reflective of some golfers are, and we know this, some golfers are really time conscious. They will pay to get the time that they want. Others are price conscious. They don't really care what time they play, but they want the best deal. So you need to be able to offer something for all of those people out there, which is where the whole dynamic pricing algorithm comes from, you know? And also pitch.

Right? Yes. Good that you know the details of these people and that's what the CRM is about. We do that. We track all of that and we know that and we market based on that. You know, there's this whole strategies that we can go into. We can talk about for hours on that too. But for our strategy for getting these, you know, these, these, these different types of golfers booked on the tee sheet early enough, if you come to our website and you book, you can book a tee time. You pay a booking fee to just book a tee time.

Okay, now it's not significant. It's two and a half dollars, $2 .50, okay, to book that tee time. But you'll get that tee time at rack rate, okay? Now there's a little bit of skin in the game. And that actually, even that little bit of skin in the game keeps them from going out and booking three or four different times, okay? I agree. If you want a discount, now we do discount. And there are times when you can get a better rate. I think that no matter what business you're in, if you don't discount, you're losing because we are...

Everybody has sales. You go out and buy a Mercedes Benz. Guess what? They got, they got sales going on. You know, the sale is always on and you know, COVID kind of threw some of that off, but right. But the whole idea behind marketing is everybody wants a deal. Nobody wants to overpay for something, you know, so your strategy should always be, you set your rate in a certain number and let people think they're buying below that number. And the number they're really buying at is really what you want to yield for that. That's That's right. So that actually just for whatever it's worth, that's part of a well -designed booking engine.

Is that a well -designed booking engine like helps the golfer understand the value they're receiving and yeah. That's right. And that value equation is different for different people. Just like I said before, some people are willing to pay a lot more for a specific tee time. And I got, I got a comment on that, but I want to finish my other statement here. If you want to get that better rate, you have to pay in full at the time of your purchase. You pay for the whole amount at the time of the purchase. Okay. And that way we've got the money.

You're committed, you're all in. You're the pig in breakfast. The chicken is involved in breakfast, but the pig is committed to breakfast. You're committed to breakfast because you got the whole leg in there. So our thoughts on that are, if we get them to, you can always get a deal. And that also helps you when you've got somebody complaining about your prices. If you say, you have one of your golfers that says, wow, I'm not gonna pay.

whatever your rate is here, you can say, you know what, if you really want to get the best deal, here's what to do. Go to our website, if you go there early enough, you book in advance, you can get some great deals. And we do, we put some really great deals on there. Not every rate, not every round is priced at that. But if you're early enough and you're the first ones there to commit and you buy and you pay for it in advance, you can get a rate that's gonna be cheaper than anybody else that walks through the door. And so we've got an answer for everybody.

I wanted to, we did talk, we did a, I did a panel down at the PGA show this year with Don Ray and we had... Cathy, I think? Cathy Harbour was on it, yeah. It Cathy Harbour and Don and I, we talked about dynamic pricing. I was really surprised, you know, a lot of people kind of have the idea that if you're doing dynamic pricing and you're kind of in your peak periods, you're jacking your price up, you're gouging people, you're taking advantage of them. No, that's not so, you know, that's...

Gouging is when people have no other choice and you're charging them a fee that's exorbitant for what it is. Okay, if you've got market demand and you're getting top price based on what the market is demanding, that's not gouging. You know, somebody's willing to pay that price. There's nothing wrong with charging them that price for whatever it is you're selling. And you know, I use this example in that talk. Okay, if you're selling your house, okay, and you put your house, let's say you list your house for $600 ,000. Okay, and if you get 10 offers in,

And one of them is at $600 ,000, but two of them are at $800 ,000. Are you going to tell the guys that offer an $800 ,000? Fellas, I appreciate it, but I'm going to take this one because he's paying what I want here. You know, I don't want to gouge it. You know, no, you're going to take the higher price. And so if someone's willing to pay that price, that is what you should be doing for the good of your business. What I have learned in a long run of selling dynamic pricing is it's actually that they just don't like change. And when I say they, I,

there's just a lot of operators that aren't comfortable with change, right? And so it depends, you know, they might, they might put it in a different bottle or explain it a different way, but at the end of the day, I think it comes back to change and change is hard for some people. It's hard for some people. There's, there's a fear too of, um,

being the first one to do it. If you're in an area and nobody else is doing it, you know, and being that first one that takes the dive and then you start getting bad comments from your golfers or they go someplace else and say, hey, I'm not gonna go there. I don't like the way they're pricing stuff. You know, there's that fear as well. But the reality is, you know, the concept of dynamic pricing, we always talk about it in our industry of maximizing the revenue that you can get for that particular round of golf. But we have to understand on the other side of that, we have to market it as,

giving you the best price for the time that you want to play. Yeah. There's a, there's a, there's a new book out Dell called game changer. And it's all about, it's all about pricing. And there's this concept in game changer specific to the world of dynamic pricing. There's this concept in game changer about making sure that there's shared value, even in dynamic pricing. So in other words, you don't gouge somebody to where they're never going to come back again, but you do make sure that the merchant can win.

and the customer can win. That's exactly it. And you have to market it to that. You're not going to try to, you don't want the, and I've seen this, I've actually seen this in some market golf course. You don't want to say, hey, we now have dynamic pricing. You don't want to market the fact you have dynamic pricing. What you really want to market is, hey, we've got, so that you can get the best rate for you. For when you want to play, you can get the best rate for you. And again, we've got some courses that we've done some really interesting things on for long lead bookings.

Okay. And destination markets. Okay. If you're with a group of guys and you're traveling, you know, three or 400 miles and you've got your hotel reservation, you know, you're going to be there on these specific days. If you want to play this golf course at 9 a .m. on the Saturday that you're there, those people are willing to pay a premium over the guy who's right down the street who says, gets up and says, Hey, you know, I'm going to go play this morning and play around the golf. That's right. Those people that are willing to pay that premium, there's nothing wrong with charging them that premium for the ability to do that.

Okay. And listen, I think people need to hear this more often, but those golfers are still really happy to have gotten the tee time they wanted. They're not, they're not mad. They're not a high rate. They're not, they're not mad. Now everybody complains, everybody complains about the price that they pay for stuff, you know, and Disney has done a real good job of this lately. They have just jacked their prices up so high. Everybody complains about how expensive Disney is, what a poor experience it is, but guess what? They're still packing them in.

You know, the people are still going and they're still paying those prices. People will complain about prices. You can't let that be the determinant of what your pricing strategy is. You have to look at what is your actual utilization. You know, if you get to the point where you're seeing your participation go down and your utilization go down, maybe pricing is one of the things that's affecting that. You have to kind of look at that. You know, it could be a number of other things. It could be conditioning on the golf course. But here again, even in that, you know, dynamic pricing is going to help you set your rates.

at what that demand is out there. And I've had people tell me, well, dynamic pricing really only works in high demand situations. That's not necessarily so. Dynamic pricing will be a very good tool for you to really see what is the appropriate price for my golf course. It will allow you to yield the highest price that you can. Now, the problem may be the price you want to yield is higher than the highest price that you can currently yield because of that demand. If demand's not high enough,

There's nothing you can do that. That whole thing of price elasticity kicks in. You know, you can go, once you get below a certain point, it doesn't matter how low you go, people are not going to, they're not going to play. Um, you know, you can get away for free and you're not going to have people come and play. Um, and so you have to watch those things. So for people that are listening, we do now have, I have to admit two weeks ago, this wasn't the case, but we do have a listing for PITCHcrm on our website, right? So people can go and learn a little bit more about PITCHcrm and.

Obviously, hopefully they can get in touch with you and whatnot. Thinking about technology outside of website, app, point of sale T -sheet, but maybe technology on the golf course. Are you using a fairway IQ or are you using, I don't know, the par three camera stuff that people do for hole in ones? Are there any other pieces of technology that you feel like are important to your business?

You know, for us, yes, it varies from course to course. We've done the par three cameras. You know, that's a there are some courses that are very well suited for that. There are some that aren't. You know, we've learned that that kind of is a very market specific type thing. And depending on what the particular clientele is at your golf course, we have an interesting product that we're using now through Lightspeed. And there's some others out there like this. I'm not trying to just that one particular thing, but it's called Order Anywhere.

And we put a QR code out on the golf course. So you can shoot the QR code on the ninth tee, for example, and that order comes right into our food and beverage component in our kitchen. So that that food is ready for when the golfer makes the turn. It saves them having to call in. They can get the entire menu. They can do the order they can pay. So it's all prepaid. All they have to do is walk in, grab it and go.

And that's been very good. We actually have one of our properties that has a beer garden. We have outside table service. We've got several. We have outside table service. And every table has its own QR code. So we shoot that QR code. The meal is delivered right to your table. It's much more efficient because now we don't have to have a server come and take the order and then come back and deliver drinks, then come back and deliver food, and then come back and take payment. It's all done on the app. It's one trip from the kitchen to the table to deliver the food and beverages and everything. It works really well.

I think that's one of the benefits. I think that's one of the benefits of the size of Lightspeed and the footprint that Lightspeed has overall for their business. Meaning what I'm getting at is they just serve so many restaurants. They're going to have some capabilities like that. It often makes me wonder, Dal, how long until other big restaurant point of sale companies decide to get into golf, right? That they say that there's a place where I can grow my total addressable market, my TAM.

and really add a new sector to my business. Lightspeed seems to have figured that out. Be interesting to see if other people go that route as well. But I'll tell you, one of the problems with that, again, comes back to that thing that I mentioned earlier, and that's that golf is not a big market when you're looking at software development. When we develop pitch, and I'll be honest with you, I didn't develop pitch with just golf in mind.

Okay, it's built to be able to expand into the retail point of sale marketplace. We are integrated with Lightspeed, their point of sale, the retail point of sale. And we are already actively now on the retail side of things. We're looking at other point of sale systems to go into to do this integration, you know, and there's certain verticals where it really applies very well to and restaurants. Restaurants don't use email marketing, quite honestly, you know, they're not real big.

consumers of email marketing. You will see some of them do text messaging, but they don't really see the benefit of it. Number one reason is they have a very difficult time, as we do in golf, collecting the email data and connecting it to the end user, which is one of the great advantages of us using the Order Anywhere. When they use Order Anywhere or any app -based ordering system, we get the email address, we get the name, we get a lot of that data that we capture, and now guess what? We start using that as marketing. That's...

That has been a game changer for us on the food and beverage side to be able to do it actively, email marketing and very good email marketing to our restaurant customers. Restaurants and a lot of food service are really leaning a lot more towards social media type marketing efforts, Facebook and kind of almost point of decision type things. Somebody's looking on Facebook and they say, oh, here's so -so let's go eat here tonight. Or people take a picture, people become your own marketing of social media.

of what they're eating and put it on the Facebook page. Other technology, sorry go ahead. Well I was just gonna wrap up, but if you've got another tech piece that we should get in there, let's do it. No, no, I'll tell you, technology, it touches so many things in golf anymore, and there's some things out there that show a lot of promise, but I'm not sure how soon we're gonna see it. We're talking about using technology to replace labor in a lot of instances, and if we can do that,

then absolutely, we want to do that. But then you also have that personal touch, that personal interaction that you don't want to lose. GPS software controlled turf maintenance equipment is another big hot factor out there right now. And that's been out there and been working on, it's been in development for quite a long time. And I think that a lot of the...

A lot of the stuff that you mentioned, you know, the startups and things that are out there are very interesting. Um, are they, you know, are they going to really jail into something that is, you kind of, uh, the new and coming thing where time's time's going to tell time will tell. That's right. Well, listen, so, so we didn't even mention, but I, you're the president in the North Carolina golf courses. So you should be thanked for your service there. Right. I mean, that takes time. I'm sure people appreciate the fact that you do that.

Um, but you've been a, uh, you've been a good friend and, uh, you're really somebody for, I just think so many people in golf to look up to, uh, you're a guy, you kind of, you kind of back up the talk, right? You're a guy that you've got ideas, but by God, you delivered on them too. And, uh, and that's impressive. So, um, I can't thank you enough for, for coming on and you made my weekend.

I appreciate it. It's always good seeing you, always good talking with you. Like I said, I'm sorry, I tend to go too long on these things. That's what everybody tells me. I talk too much, but it's fun to me. I enjoy it. I certainly enjoy talking with you. We've spent a lot of good conversations over everything from booze to computers. Yeah. Well, great. Hopefully I'll bump into you. Yeah, man. We will. All right. Sounds great. Thanks a lot.

00:07

Host

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

00:43

Tyler Arnold

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

01:34

Host

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

01:50

Tyler Arnold

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

illustration of woman opening envelope of a newsletter delivery - icon format