When Todd Chant was developing his software for golf tournaments, he was worried about the narrow path to market. But he’s come up with a strategy that broadened his path to the width of the friendliest fairway.
Chant is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sydney-based Easy Golf Tour, whose software helps golf courses administer the tournaments they hold several times each season. The strength of the sales strategy is its partnership with the National Golf Course Owners Association of Canada (NGCOA), which has 1,300 members across the country.
In an interview, Chant said the company is now working with three paid customers and making sure all the kinks are ironed out. It is also marketing the product through the NGCOA, which is allowing it to reach more customers with greater ease than it could through individual sales calls.
“In the next six weeks or so, we’re hoping for 40 to 60 golf courses to sign on,” said Chant, who was in Halifax after meeting course owners and managers at an event at Chester Golf Club. He added the company is looking for steady, not hasty, progress as “we want to make sure the roll-out is smooth.”
Chant has a long history of developing software for the golf industry. For 18 years, he has operated an IT company that carries out projects for golf courses. Clients kept coming back so he began to canvas them on what they wanted in a software product.
“We worked with the courses to build something they wanted – not only did I ask them what they wanted but I also asked them what they didn’t want,” he said.
The result is an integrated platform that simplifies the whole process of staging a tournament. The system lets course members sign up for a tournament, and arranges and announces the draw, so all golfers know when they’re teeing off. It posts scores online, and notifies players of special messages. It can even send the media the results of a tournament.
The software is a white label product, meaning it can be used on any club’s website without members knowing outside software is being used. As well as tournaments, the product can be used to organize golf leagues, which have become popular among golf club members.
“We try to automate all the tasks that take up their [golf course employees’] time,” said Chant. “It’s all about making it easier for the golf courses so their staff do what they’re supposed to do – spend more time looking after their members.”
The system will be used this weekend at the Lingan Golf Course’s Spring Thaw tournament and will be rolled out at other tournaments throughout the summer.
Easy Golf Tour, which won $50,000 at last year’s Spark Innovation Challenge, now has eight employees, including Chief Marketing Officer Pat Laderoute, a member of the Professional Golf Association of Canada.
Chant and his brother Kevin have so far been bootstrapping the company and are working on raising $300,000 in equity funding.