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Online Exclusives

April 2019

Golfpay Offers Direct Connections

By Scott Kauffman

For a lot of course operators, one of the growing channels used for tee-time reservations are third-party companies. Of course, many facilities develop and use their own online booking engines — to gain greater control over consumers and greens fees — and some still count on old-fashioned phone systems.

Now, a new Scottsdale, Arizona-based entrepreneur who “loves golf and solving problems” wants to broaden the industry’s traditional channels and help enhance revenue by taking courses where today’s tech-savvy consumers want to conveniently be (think text messaging as an example). The answer, according to Dale Merritt, is his “omni-channel” Golfpay platform, now in its second generation after being introduced at the PGA Show in 2018.

“Nothing against third party companies and they’re popular channels,” Merritt says. “But we saw a need to help elevate the brand of the golf course. … Our platform’s designed to get more golfers to book direct with a better overall customer experience.
“We give the golf course brand new tools. They can white label at the golf course and they can promote all the different channels you can get through Golfpay and it’s branded under their course or company.”

Golfpay’s patent-pending platform or “ecosystem” encompasses a variety of channels commonly used by consumers, including Interactive Voice Response (IVR) options that does not require internet, popular messaging systems like Facebook Messenger, web-based Golfpay Chatbots that can eventually route inquiries to staff members and the ever-popular Short Message Service (SMS) and Multi-Media Service (MMS) text messaging systems.

Most importantly, there are no apps to download and deal with, reducing technology “friction” that frustrates many consumers. Plus, the Golfpay-generated bookings show up in the course’s tee sheet just like Golfnow would, Merritt adds, “so they don’t have to worry about all these different channels out there because we maintain the channels.”

Ultimately, Golfpay’s platform improves and unifies the customer experience across an array of channels that consumers are familiar with and prefer in many aspects, according to Merritt. For courses, more convenient channels that customers can use for communication means an increased likelihood of that consumer doing business with you.

Merritt says an estimated 136 courses are currently using Golfpay at an average cost of $300-$400 per month.

Undoubtedly, Merritt sees an increasing amount of “conversational commerce” being done through artificial intelligence-driven text messaging. Something other industries are using with great success, namely hospitality businesses like restaurants and hotels.
“Golfers can have conversations through text messaging, book tee times and pay for them, purchase merchandise and check in. … We have a bunch of conveniences,” Merritt says. “That’s really the future. That’s really where all the (tech) investment is going.  Not only with how people communicate through messaging. … But businesses are starting to do business that way because people are already there.”

Scott Kauffman is a golf business writer and the managing director of Aloha Media Group, and is regular technology columnist for Golf Business. You can contact him with tech news at


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April 2019 Issue

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