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December 2021

Metolius Golf Makes ‘Big Data’ Marketing Moves

By Scott Kauffman

In a 2012 book titled, “The Human Face of Big Data,” science writer Michael Coren is quoted as saying, “Every century, a new technology – steam power, electricity, atomic energy, or microprocessors – has swept away the old world with the vision for a new one. Today, we seem to be entering the era of Big Data.”

While Coren’s comments might be hyperbole to some, there is no denying we’re seemingly swimming in never-ending waves of data these days. Simply put, “Big Data” is a term that describes the accumulation and analysis of information – all those data streaming in, for instance, from global satellites to billions of sensors to every click of a computer and the ubiquity of cellphones and other smart devices that consume our daily lives.

As the book’s co-creator Rick Smolan describes it, (Big Data) is “an extraordinary knowledge revolution that’s sweeping, almost invisibly, through business, academia, government, health care and everyday life.” Now, self-described data geek and former longtime golf professional Ross Liggett is trying to help golf owners and operators make better sense of this growing stream of data through his Fort Collins, Colo.-based company, Metolius Golf.

The vision for Liggett’s new golf startup is to help public courses and private clubs “make data-driven decisions, engage customers, operate efficiently and grow revenue” in a more effective “real-time” manner by leveraging custom cloud-based marketing and information technology in areas of business intelligence, email automation, social media and more.

Liggett and his team dedicated a year building, beta testing, and refining Metolius’s cutting-edge software and services with more than a dozen U.S. facilities prior to Metolius’s official launch in April 2020, including properties controlled by his former employer, Landscapes Golf Management.

“Since the Great Recession, we have seen an explosion of cloud-based tools and platforms,” says Liggett, whose extensive golf background includes director level sales and marketing positions with Intrawest Golf, KemperSports and Landscapes. “Some businesses have been able to invest in these tools, but small businesses like golf courses and private clubs have largely been left out.  We are here to level the playing field.”

One of Metolius’s more compelling product offerings is Cloud Connect - a customizable business intelligence and reporting platform that delivers and displays data from any facet of the facility’s business, ultimately designed to give decision-makers the ability to see “real-time” data or trends through the simple click of a cloud-based dashboard.

Equally as important to the real-time nature of the data, Liggett says, is the fact that course managers not only can make more effective business decisions, but timelier strategic moves compared with the traditional task of poring over piles of printouts and/or reports that usually results in paralysis by analysis.

As someone who spent much of his career working in the not-so-tech-oriented golf business, Liggett knows full well about the value or need for this type of disruption, even amongst the largest of corporate golf empires where he previously worked. And that explains the genesis for his upstart company, an idea that began germinating during his tenure at Landscapes while serving as director of marketing/revenue management from 2014-19.

“All of these business decisions that were in my purview, supporting a property in making strategic decisions and growing the business...I felt like I didn’t have the tools I needed without having to get a bunch of manual reports and mashing them all up,” Liggett recalls. “I was just spending all of my time doing that, and I was spending none of my time actually using that information to help the properties achieve better business results.”

Self-described as the “Switzerland” of technology solutions, Liggett’s company is compatible with three of the major tee-time/point-of-sale systems, including Club Prophet and Lightspeed (formerly Chronogolf), and Metolius has deals in the works with four other companies. Annual costs for the fourth-generation business intelligence dashboard now offering proprietary weather benchmarking and other key performance indicators: about $3000 per course.

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