Hate slow golf? Your course needs Tagmarshal


South Africans Craig Kleu and John Willmore hate slow golf, as do a lot of people. But these two hate it so much they designed a solution that attempts to eradicate it altogether.

The pair, along with co-founders Bodo Sieber and Tom Davies, resolved after yet another “excruciating round of slow golf” to come up with a solution to allow golf clubs to address the issue. Tagmarshal was born.

The solution is state-of-the-art pace of play tracking technology, which provides golf course managers with the tools to actively pursue a faster pace of play.

“It is the only system in the world that can provide round timing stats allowing managers to discern between delayed and slow players and the creation of pace of play profiles for each membership,” Kleu told Disrupt Africa.

Aside from their own personal irritation, the founders believe they are addressing a serious issue through technology. The popularity of golf has been in decline for the past decade, with the primary reasons for this the fact people have less disposable inome but also the sheer amount of time it takes to play a round.

Kleu said other sports have implemented technology, so why not golf?

“Why was there no technology to sort out this growing golf problem? Most others sports use software and technology to improve efficiencies and performance, why was there nothing in the golf space?” he said.

“Surely material revenue could be unlocked for courses, costs saved and the golf experience improved drastically?”

Tagmarshal’s management system is designed to do just that. It tracks golfer movements whilst playing a round reports on slow play during and after the game. Evaluating each four ball’s progress and playing time, it alerts managers to potential slow play problems in order to prevent bottlenecks. Managers can therefore keep better track of marshalling staff, improving efficiencies.

“Tagmarshal has a unique algorithm that calculates the actual pace of each member course by mapping it into over 50 zones,” Kleu said.

The company is already making sales, ploughing revenues from its subscription-based model back into the business. The system was designed, developed and extensively tested in South Africa at partner sites Westlake Golf Club, Mowbray Golf Club and Wanderers Golf Club over a three-year period starting towards the end of 2011, and the company is now well into expansion to its main target market – the United States (US).

“During 2014 we established a key relationship with US Open 2017 hosts Erin Hills, signing them as our first US customer,” Kleu said.

“Implementation took place in May and June and Erin ran the system continuously through their season, successfully impacting round times and reducing slow play incidents.”

Tagmarshal does not plan to stop there.

“We plan to expand into all the major golfing markets in Europe and Asia and are currently in talks with potential distribution partners to make that happen,” Kleu said.

So, sick of slow golf? Ask your course manager to give Tagmarshal a try.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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