We spoke to Foresight Sports Europe Director Edward Doling to find out how the company behind the best-selling GCQuad launch monitor has plans to add their technology to driving ranges worldwide.
How do you feel the Total Range solution will change the modern driving range?
We’ve seen the explosion of activity of what the Americans like to call the entertainment range. Drive Shack, who we provide the technology for, and Top Golf are proving to be incredibly popular. There’s a real appetite from our client base to be able to add this entertainment element to their facilities. It’s brilliant for golfers and non-golfers alike. With that broad audience, we can help range operators get the best return on their investment.
What are the benefits of
Each unit sits within the driving range bay. We’ve brought the same accuracy from the GCQuad to the driving range. And because you only need to move the ball a couple of feet to be registered by the unit, it means every shot in the bag can be recorded, all the way down to putting. This means every single golfer or non-golfer who has a go will be able to see the shots measured and have fun with one of the game options. On the flip side the data is so accurate that if you’re a serious golfer you can go to a Foresight powered range because you know you’re going to get reliable shot data. The data from every shot hit gets stored in the cloud on FSX Live, which is a free service and you can really analyse that data. Ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, we give you all the ball data. We’re giving golfers access to accurate numbers that generally they’ve only been able to get during club fitting and lessons. You can then share that data with your pro to see what you need to work on going forward.
With Total Range you can start small and add the technology to just three or four range bays and we are really flexible in how you build up to a full facility. The fact it can be added to existing ranges means there are no barriers to entry from a range operators’ perspective. There are even options for temporary use on grass ranges which can be moved indoors in bad weather.
You’re also rolling out GCHawk. What are the advantages of that system?
The GC Hawk is ceiling-mounted. The big advantage of that is the flexibility of the unit. It really appeals to high-end commercial venues where there is a lot of traffic in the simulator bays. It has the other advantage of being usable by left and right-handed golfers without any moving of the unit. The system is clever in that it doesn’t need you to press anything, it automatically knows if a left-handed golfer is using it. The simplicity of the unit means you can actually forget that you’re using the technology, it’s so natural.
How have you upgraded the FSX 2018 software?
FSX 2018 has had the fairground expansion pack added. Anyone buying now or upgrading their software will have this included. It’s a gamified experience based around the fairground games of our childhood. For example, popping water balloons and a putting game based on skee ball that is really good for kids. We’re trying to find ways to engage golfers of all standards and include total beginners to give them the buzz of success on a good shot.
How are ranges monetizing this technology?
Drive Shack are rolling out more driving ranges across the USA this year. There are big ranges opening in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore that will have every bay fitted with our technology. And so far, rather than the traditional pay by basket size model, driving ranges are switching to an hourly fee. It takes its lead from the bowling alley model where owners know how long a typical game will last. We also released a new back-office software suite for range operators and indoor golf facilities that works alongside the front desk operations. As you take payment it generates codes for range bays to give users their allotted time. You can observe in real time how long each bay has been hired out for and, how long until their session is over. You can tell new customers that they might have a 5 or 10-minute wait and direct them towards the bar in the meantime, as you’ll know exactly when the current customers are going to finish. We also provide management reporting software to determine usage numbers and return on investment statistics.
As well as offering technology to the pros, as a company you work hard on educating people on how to get the most out of their systems.
Education is a massive part of any new technology and we’re still always learning. There are almost 20,000 GC units worldwide now and we’re discovering new insights from information our users send back to us which is amazing. Our core education program is called PEAK and Level 1 is now available online to any of our customers. We recommend that new customers do the online course before they even receive their units to have a better understanding of how to get the most out of them. Alongside that, we’re also running a series of workshops around our Europe and Middle East territories. Four of our Guildford based team are certified PEAK trainers and lead these workshops. Level 2 launches shortly, and Level 3 is in the works. We will be hosting other events over the course of the year, including some with Liam Mucklow (pictured left), founder of The Golf Lab and recognised as one of the best fitters and coaches in Canada. He understands the relationship of golf club, swing and ball arguably better than anyone else on
How are you helping the pro make these systems more attainable?
We’ve always offered monthly finance packages to assist with capital outlay. Now we’ve added a 90-day deferred payment scheme. The 90-day period allows our customers to be profitable from day one to ensure they can hit the ground running. That’s incredible. We believe this new finance option makes a lot of sense from a business point of view and while bringing Foresight technology to your business requires an investment, with the correct model we’re confident that everyone will make a serious return on that investment.