By Scott Kauffman:
By most accounts, Covid-19 has been no match for the booming golf course business. But there is one aspect of the business that continues to confound course owners from coast to coast: the labor workforce.
Or lack thereof.
One new tech company trying to help alleviate the leisure industry’s labor woes is Jonas Software Company’s Club Caddie. Canada-based Jonas Club Software has been the leading technology software solutions provider in the private club world since the early ‘90s with more than 2,300 clubs using its server-based system.
Now, after the acquisition of Club Caddie, Inc., in February 2020, Jonas is taking its newest golf management software to the public side of golf, with the fundamental difference being Club Caddie’s cloud-based technology.
According to Club Caddie Founder/CEO Jason Pearsall, his new cloud-based technology not only helps drive greater efficiencies in every part of a multi-faceted golf facility, but the automation and artificial intelligence integrated in the software also helps courses address the ongoing labor crunch.
“We enable the employees to work from home,” says Pearsall, quickly noting this is one way courses can thrive in the continuing hybrid ‘work-from-home’ environment. “Literally, you can book a wedding from home; your membership director can work from home…
“The accounting software synchs into the cloud with the accounting system. So the staff can do 90 percent of their jobs now from their houses, where they couldn’t do that before from a server basis.”
And Pearsall, who started Club Caddie eight years ago before selling it to Jonas, knows first-hand how this type of technology can help courses navigate challenging labor conditions, having been a course owner himself at Flushing Valley Golf Club in Michigan.
In fact, after selling another tech startup and subsequently buying Flushing Valley in March 2016 with three other partners, Pearsall quickly realized the need for a better way of managing his semi-private facility after adopting six different technology platforms.
So Pearsall began developing Club Caddie as a technological means to better manage the club’s wide-ranging business operations, from tee times to banquets. Pearsall jokes the software solution also helped maintain marital bliss because his wife was the frustrated club wedding coordinator.
“Consumer habits are changing,” adds Pearsall, who was a guest speaker at the recent NGCOA Golf Business Conference in Orlando. “So now what we’re seeing is golfers, just like everybody else, want to buy everything online. (In golf) the starting point was tee times. But it’s so much more than just tee times now. It’s ordering food and beverage; it’s buying gift cards online or equipment. And you’re even buying memberships online so membership directors are no longer entering all the data manually.
“One of the things my wife and I used to fight about is: Somebody comes in to get quoted for a wedding and it would take her a week to price it out. To write everything up and send out a proposal. And by that point they may have already made another decision. So we started building this solution where in a matter of minutes right when she’s talking to someone you automatically get all of the data you need. Then, boom, you hit a button and a proposal’s in their mailbox and you’re ready to pay.”
Ultimately, not only did Flushing Valley capture more of this convenient impulse type of purchasing, Pearsall says, there was another familial benefit: happy wife. Whether that club employee ultimately is your wife or not, this type of tech solution couldn’t be more profound than now.