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NBC SPORTS GROUP ACQUIRES EZLINKS GOLF, EXPANDING DIGITAL PORTFOLIO OF GOLF-RELATED LIFESTYLE BUSINESSES

Nov 20, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 20, 2019) – NBC Sports Group today announced it has acquired EZLinks Golf, a PGA TOUR-affiliated company, including its online tee time marketplace for golfers and its technology platforms, business solutions and customer service for golf course partners. The addition of EZLinks will complement NBC Sports Group’s existing portfolio of golf-related lifestyle brands dedicated to enhancing the golf experience through technology, including GOLF Business Solutions, GOLFNOW, and GOLFPASS.

“As an innovative leader that is at the intersection of golf and technology, NBC Sports continues to invest in our portfolio of golf lifestyle businesses to better serve golfers and golf courses,” said Will McIntosh, executive vice president, NBC Sports Digital and Consumer Business. “Incorporating the technology and services of EZLinks into the comprehensive digital solutions we already offer will enhance our ability to help golf courses operate more efficiently and make the game more accessible for golfers.”

For more than 20 years, EZLinks has provided software and services that power the unique operations and marketing needs of the golf industry, as well as TeeOff, an online tee time marketplace for golfers. EZLinks brings deep experience in working with independent golf course operators and management companies, as well as resorts, municipalities, and private clubs, and its addition will further bolster GOLF Business Solutions’ comprehensive offerings for golf course partners.

“Like GOLFNOW, EZLinks has been committed to maintaining an open platform for golf operators,” said Gary Cohen, chief executive officer of EZLinks Golf. “The combination of our two organizations will only enhance that shared commitment as we work more closely together to serve the needs of our clients and golfers everywhere.”
 

NBC SPORTS’ PORTFOLIO OF DIGITAL BUSINESSES ARE DRIVING INNOVATION AT THE INTERSECTION OF SPORTS AND TECHNOLOGY

“Simply put, our strategy is to make golf more accessible, simpler and more enjoyable to play by using tech and services that help better connect golfers and golf courses,” said Jeff Foster, senior vice president, GOLFNOW and Emerging Businesses. “Teeoff and EZLinks Golf will round out our comprehensive portfolio designed to help courses elevate the golf experience at their venues and to better serve needs of the modern golfer.”

NBC Sports’ portfolio of lifestyle businesses is tailored to the specific needs of passionate participants and valued partners looking to enhance the experience of playing sports:

  • GOLF Business Solutions offers course partners access to a portfolio of business-to-business solutions and technology, highlighted by:

    • G1 and GOLFNOW Reservations, which are golf course management and point-of-sale platforms developed for courses’ technology needs.
    • GOLFNOW Central, which provides marketing, engagement and reputation solutions.
    • GOLFNOW Payments platform, which allows a golf course to seamlessly accept every form of payment from everywhere at their facility.
  • GOLFNOW, an online tee time marketplace featuring more than 6,000 golf courses in 24 countries, making it easy for golfers to find a course that best fits their taste, budget and needs. GOLFPASS+ members receive additional Play benefits, including no booking fees, cancellation protection and 25% more rewards points.

  • GOLFPASS digital membership program, co-founded with Rory McIlroy, which offers exclusive benefits and perks encompassing the things golfers love to do most – Play, Learn, Shop, Travel, Watch. Now available in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, and Australia.

  • Shop with GOLF, an e-commerce platform giving golfers new ways to engage with their favorite brands, shows, personalities and content, and an integral part of GOLFPASS’ Shop benefits. The platform is a partnership with NBCUniversal Ad Sales.

  • SportsEngine, the leading provider of Sport Relationship Management software, serves more than 1.2 million sports teams and 40,000 sports leagues, resulting in 16 million coaches, parents and athletes using the platform. SportsEngine is the largest integrated amateur sports technology platform in the world and provides SportsEngine Safety, the largest youth sports background screening and abuse prevention training company in the market.

  • NBC Sports Gold, a direct-to-consumer live streaming product, features tailored passes across Premier League, PGA TOUR Live, Notre Dame Football, cycling, track and field, snow sports, ice skating, rugby, Pro Motocross, and Premiere Lacrosse League. NBC Sports Gold is powered by Playmaker Media and is available on Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex, Apple iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and online at NBCSportsGold.com.

  • Rotoworld, the industry leader in fantasy sports information as the highest-trafficked site, which features news, headlines, fantasy columns and premium draft kits via the web, the NBC Sports mobile website, Rotoworld Fantasy News app and two paid Draft Guide mobile apps for football and baseball.


About GOLF Business Solutions
GOLF Business Solutions is a complete spectrum of business-to-business services offered by the family of golf brands within the NBC Sports Group portfolio. Building off the recognition and trust of the GOLF Channel brand, the offerings of GOLF Business Solutions are designed to meet the comprehensive needs of businesses interested in investing in golf, helping them to become more efficient and effective.

About NBC Sports Digital
A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Sports Digital provides sports fans with live streaming of premier events that air on NBC, NBCSN, GOLF Channel, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, Telemundo, including the Olympics and Sunday Night Football; sport-specific websites that provide 24/7 news, scores and updates, including Mike Florio’s ProFootballTalk and Peter King’s Football Morning in America; best-in-class fantasy sports information through Rotoworld, the No. 1 fantasy sports information site; hyper-local coverage via websites and apps for the nine NBC Sports Regional Networks; and NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer live streaming product that offers fans extensive access via 18 individual sport ‘passes.’ Additionally, NBC Sports Digital includes SportsEngine, an amateur league and team management platform; GOLFNOW, the leading online tee time marketplace; and GOLF Business Solutions, best-in-class business-to-business products and services. NBC Sports Digital also owns and operates Playmaker Media, a technology service that provides end-to-end support for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions. The Yahoo! Sports-NBC Sports Network, a digital content and promotional partnership, constantly ranks among the most-trafficked digital properties in all of sports.


Women's Golf Day

GOLF Business Solutions partners with Women's Golf Day

May 02, 2019

Supporting women in the game of golf

ORLANDO, Fla.(May 1, 2019) – Celebrating women in golf, GOLF Business Solutions has partnered with Women's Golf Day to support its June 4 event and the organization’s efforts that encourage women and girls to get more involved in the game.

"Our team works continually to provide solutions for our partners, and collaborating with Women's Golf Day to provide our partners with unique access is one of those solutions,” said Jeff Foster, senior vice president, GOLFNOW and Emerging Businesses. “Growing the game through increased female participation is good for everyone, and the attention we will help to create for this day is another step in the right direction. We hope to see hundreds of new golf facilities participating in 2019."   

As part of the partnership, GOLF Business Solutions will launch various marketing initiatives to encourage GOLFNOW's 7,000+ golf course partners to host Women’s Golf Day activities. Providing an incentive, registration fees will be waived for all GOLFNOW courses that utilize its Plus  service – a $79.99 value! All other GOLFNOW partner courses will be receiving a 20 percent registration discount.

Women’s Golf Day is a one-day, four-hour experience that is becoming a global movement. It combines golf with social and networking activities and allows every woman the opportunity to explore the various golf-related options in her local community. Over the past three years, the event has been hosted by more than 900 venues in 52 countries. It has engaged a community of more than 50,000 women. 

The rapid rise in the number of women playing golf isn’t just a trend. It's real evidence that women have become an important segment of the game – not only socially, but economically as well. Savvy golf course operators already know this and over time have taken steps to accommodate the needs and wants of the female golfer.

Courses utilizing Plus should contact their GOLF Business Solutions representative for directions on how to register for free.

Other GOLFNOW partner courses who wish to participate in Women’s Golf Day can click here for more information or register to host the event with the code GOLFNOW2019.  

 


NBC Sports Group Launches GOLF Business Solutions

NBC Sports Group Launches GOLF Business Solutions

Feb 28, 2019

NBC SPORTS GROUP LAUNCHES GOLF BUSINESS SOLUTIONS, PROVIDING SINGULAR SOURCE FOR ALL SERVICES OFFERED BY ITS FAMILY OF GOLF BRANDS

Comprehensive Business Solutions from GOLFNOW, GOLF Advisor, Revolution GOLF, GOLF Academy, GOLF Am Tour Now Consolidated Under One Umbrella Brand

GOLF Business Solutions Website Launches Wednesday, Jan. 23, During PGA Merchandise Show

NBC Sports Group today announced that business services once offered separately by its GOLF brands portfolio will combine under one umbrella brand called GOLF Business Solutions. The new GOLF Business Solutions will be formally introduced at the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show, displaying at booth #2173 and located adjacent to GOLF Channel’s Morning Drive stage.

As a comprehensive offering of solutions designed to help any business looking to connect with the sport of golf operate more efficiently and effectively, GOLF Business Solutions simplifies the way companies like GOLFNOW, GOLF Advisor, Revolution GOLF, GOLF Academy and GOLF Am Tour have previously served their partners. Once offered separately by each business, GOLF Business Solutions will provide the complete spectrum of services for virtually any need within golf, including technology and operations, brand management, advertising, sponsorships, event planning and management, content development, and more.

“GOLF Business Solutions is very much a customer-centric brand, built on the recognition and trust GOLF Channel has earned as an innovative leader within the golf industry for more than two decades,” said Jeff Foster, senior vice president, GOLF Business Solutions. “Whether you’re a supplier, instructor, resort operator or any business looking for a solution within golf, we’ve made GOLF Business

Solutions a destination that is relevant and purpose-built to support their business needs through best-in-class technology, marketing and services.”

One of the primary points of connection for customers of GOLF Business Solutions will be a new website, which has launched in beta, with an official debut on Wednesday, Jan. 23, in conjunction with the PGA Merchandise Show. Easily navigated, it will feature information on a broad spectrum of services relevant to various customer categories, including:

  • Golf Facilities: technology and operations, purchasing, consulting and support, marketing for golf courses, practice ranges and other off-course facilities.
  • Instructors: brand management, consulting, website design and management for golf instructors.
  • Suppliers: distribution, advertising, partnerships and content creation for product companies.
  • Golf Outings: event planning and management; marketing support for charity/fundraising and/or professional outings.
  • Hospitality & Tourism: operational support, technology and marketing support for resorts and other travel destinations.
  • Media: TV and digital exposure through partnerships, advertising, sponsorships, content integration.

GOLF Business Solutions’ website also will include The Index, featuring compelling and relevant business-to-business editorial content that will offer information, insight and thought leadership designed to help professionals working within the golf industry run their businesses more effectively and contribute toward their success.

This tailored content for golf industry professionals will include informational tips, best practices, online learning series, white papers, podcasts and video, including roundtable discussions featuring leaders from all segments of the industry.

About GOLF Business Solutions

GOLF Business Solutions is a complete spectrum of business-to-business services offered by the family of golf brands within the NBC Sports Group portfolio and managed by GOLF Channel. Building off the recognition and trust of the GOLF brand, the comprehensive offerings of GOLF Business Solutions are designed to meet virtually any need of businesses interested in investing in golf, helping them to become more efficient and effective. Included are services offered by GOLFNOW, GOLF Advisor, Revolution GOLF, GOLF Academy and GOLF Am Tour.

-NBC Sports Group-

Media Contact:

Dan Higgins
GOLF Communications
Dan.Higgins@golfchannel.com
407-355-4018


GOLF Advisor reveals most-anticipated ‘Best of’ list of the year

GOLF Advisor reveals most-anticipated ‘Best of’ list of the year

Feb 22, 2019

Top 50 Golf Courses in the U.S. Determined by Reviews from Recreational Golfers

This Year’s Top 50 List Includes Eight New Courses in the Top 10; 22 New Courses Overall

GOLF Advisor has revealed its annual list of Top 50 golf courses in the United States, the website’s most-popular and most-anticipated list determined by recreational golfers who shared their reviews throughout the year with the online destination for traveling golfers.

Unlike golf course rankings published by industry insiders who have access to golf courses the public may never have the opportunity to play, the GOLF Advisor Top 50  list is totally consumer driven – by recreational golfers, for recreational golfers. Ages, handicaps and budgets of golfers using the website run the gamut, so the more than 825,000 reviews GOLF Advisor has accumulated showcase the golf course characteristics that are the most important to avid golfers across the country, like pace of play, staff friendliness and value.

What makes GOLF Advisor’s Top 50 list unique and interesting is the potential for volatility year-to-year due to changes in consumer tastes. These swings can depend on a variety of factors – anything from course conditioning to new pricing. This year’s list includes eight new courses within the top 10 that were not included last year, and 22 new courses overall.

“This is our fifth Top 50 list since we launched GOLF Advisor in 2014 and the variety of our reviewers continue to evolve,” said Brandon Tucker, senior managing editor, GOLF Advisor. “While the list includes a sampling of bucket-list courses that are delivering on high golfer expectations, a large selection of the list features special, more reasonably priced courses that are excelling in their local or regional market.”

More than 2,800 golf courses of the 144,000-plus courses reviewed on GOLF Advisor in 2018 were considered, having received the minimum 10 reviews to qualify for the Top 50.

“Reading through the reviews, we are seeing evidence of reviewers choosing to book at a golf course based on what golfers like them have to say on GOLF Advisor about the total experience,” Tucker said.

Other lists released this week include:  Top 25 Most Improved Courses; Top 25 Courses Rated by Value; Top 25 Course Layouts in the U.S.; Top 25 Courses for Staff Friendliness; Top-Rated Courses for Pace of Play; Top 25 Courses Rated by Conditions; Top 25 Courses for off-course amenities; and Top Courses by state.

Below is GOLF Advisor’s list of Top 50 golf courses for 2018. An asterisk signifies a course which has never previously appeared on the list:

  1. Bethpage State Park/Black Course* – Farmingdale, N.Y.
  2. Atlantic City Country Club* – Northfield, N.J.
  3. Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass – Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
  4. Tobacco Road Golf Club* – Sanford, N.C.
  5. Pilgrims Run Golf Club – Pierson, Mich.
  6. Black Lake Golf Club* – Onaway, Mich.
  7. Yocha Dehe Golf Club at Cache Creek Casino Resort – Brooks, Calif.
  8. Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort/Snow Mountain Course – Las Vegas, Nev.
  9. Chariot Run Golf Club – Laconia, Ind.
  10. Mauna Lani Resort/South Course* – Kohala Coast, Hawaii
  11. Royal Manchester Golf Links – Mount Wolf, Pa.
  12. Pinehills Golf Club/Nicklaus Course* – Plymouth, Mass.
  13. Rams Hill Golf Club – Borrego Springs, Calif.
  14. Bear Slide Golf Club*- Cicero, Ind.
  15. Blackstone Golf Club – Marengo, Ill.
  16. World Woods Golf Club/Pine Barrens Course – Brooksville, Fla.
  17. Harbour Town Golf Links – Hilton Head Island, S.C.
  18. Seaview Golf Club – Bay Course* – Absecon, N.J.
  19. Kiva Dunes – Gulf Shores, Ala.
  20. Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort/Sun Mountain Course – Las Vegas, Nev.
  21. Ballamor Golf Club*- Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
  22. Barnsley Resort* – Adairsville, Ga.
  23. Waldorf Astoria Golf Club – Orlando, Fla.
  24. Fox Hopyard Golf Club* – East Haddam, Conn.
  25. Prairie Landing Golf Club* – West Chicago, Ill.
  26. Riverwood Golf Club – Port Charlotte, Fla.
  27. Indian Wells Golf Resort – Celebrity Course – Indian Wells, Calif.
  28. River Course at Sevierville Golf Club* – Sevierville, Tenn.
  29. Founders Course at Verrado Golf Club – Buckeye, Ariz.
  30. King and Bear Golf Course at World Golf Village* – St. Augustine, Fla.
  31. Royal Hylands Golf Club – Knightstown, Ind.
  32. Heron Glen Golf Course* – Ringoes, N.J.
  33. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club – Pawleys Island, S.C.
  34. The Links At Union Vale* – Lagrangeville, N.Y.
  35. White Horse Golf Club* – Kingston, Wash.
  36. Whirlwind Golf Club – Devil’s Claw – Chandler, Ariz.
  37. Maderas Golf Club – Poway, Calif.
  38. Lanier Islands Legacy Golf Course* – Buford, Ga.
  39. Harbor Links Golf Club at Sagamore Resort – Liberty, Ind.
  40. Quintero Golf Club – Peoria, Ariz.
  41. Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Club* – Lewiston, N.Y.
  42. Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course at Lake Richard B. Russell – Elberton, Ga.
  43. The Palmer Course at La Cantera Resort – San Antonio, Texas
  44. Pole Creek Golf Club – Tabernash, Colo.
  45. North Conway Country Club* – North Conway, N.H.
  46. Grand Cypress North/South/East – Orlando, Fla.
  47. English Turn Golf & Country Club – New Orleans, La.
  48. Trump National Doral Miami/Red Tiger* – Doral, Fla.
  49. TPC Myrtle Beach* – Murrells Inlet, S.C.
  50. University of Georgia Golf Course – Athens, Ga.

The GOLF Advisor online destination grew rapidly in 2018, expanding services for the avid traveling golfer, including the debut of a GOLF Channel series and the introduction of hosted golfing trips. User traffic to the website hit all-time highs for four consecutive months during the year.

About GOLF Advisor

GOLF Advisor is the ultimate digital destination for traveling golfers, who love to play, travel and learn more about how the sport of golf can be experienced around the world. Featuring more than 825,000 reviews of 14,000-plus golf courses, GOLF Advisor serves as a one-stop, customized experience for golfers of all levels to find honest recommendations from their peers – and to offer feedback of their own – about any golf course they play, anywhere, anytime. The GOLF Advisor portfolio also includes a GOLF Channel travel series, GOLF Advisor Round TripGOLF Advisor Getaways, which are premium travel experiences at world-class resorts and clubs; and GOLF Advisor Club, offering exclusive member benefits and perks. A veteran staff of award-winning writers provides complementary, expert editorial content about golf travel, architecture and history. GOLF Advisor also is home to the popular ”Best of” Lists generated each year from authentic golfer reviews.

-NBC Sports Group-

Featured photo: Bethpage State Park’s Black Course


Momentum accelerating for G1

Momentum accelerating for G1—PGA Show floor buzzes with interest and signups

Feb 08, 2019

Enthusiasm for a single portal where the whole operation lives.

Golf industry people tend to use the annual PGA Merchandise Show as a marker for progress and a date on the calendar pinned with big goals. It’s no different for the GOLF Business Solutions team that manages G1.

A year ago at the 2018 PGA Show, there were 10 active users of G1’s facility-management technology package. At the conclusion of  the 2019 edition of the Show, the number of golf courses that have chosen to integrate the G1 platform into their operations has well exceeded 500.

Kelvin Wierks, vice president, Business Platforms for GolfNow Technology Products, said G1 is building incredible momentum and running ahead of projections. “And we haven’t really promoted it on a broad scale at all,” he said.

The GOLF Business Solutions exhibit space was large and well-furnished, with seating and modular tables for sit-downs. And yet by the middle of the show’s first day a call went out for more tables and chairs. “By my count there were 133 meetings in which G1 was presented or discussed,” says Wierks. “We talked to people at the show who were telling us, ‘We need G1 right now.’”

G1 is next-generation cloud-based technology for facility management that holds itself to high standards where efficiency and integration are concerned, but seeks to set itself apart by delivering to the golfer a “frictionless experience,” as Wierks describes it. It’s also a smoother ride for the course operator. “We have people who log in and change their rates remotely,” Wierks says. “You could have one course in Florida and one in New York and you’d be able to engage with all the activity at either one in real-time.”

G1 combines all software and operating systems used at a golf facility into one platform. That’s tee sheet, point-of-sale, social media, employee schedules, inventory, payroll, vendor relations, and more—all controllable by an Internet-connected smartphone or tablet, from anywhere.

“At G1's first PGA Show a year ago, we were in the beginning stage and course operators weren’t thinking much about self-registration at the golf course, or pay-anywhere technology,” says Wierks. “Now those functions are part of retailing, generally, so courses are wanting to remove shop counters and put merchandisers with tablets out on the floor.”

For facilities that are G1-driven right now, there’s a steady and frequent release of new features and functionality. Feedback from those active users is one important source of new feature ideas for the engineering team to work on. “For any of the add-on products we devise and build, G1 courses automatically have 3 million consumers using them,” says Wierks. “The job of training the customer to take advantage of one feature or another is already done—that’s a major advantage for any piece of business software.”

The state of the art of management software has been improving, driven by the cloud-storage option (over local servers) and by engineering innovations. It’s a competitive and dynamic category in which the G1 product competes well from a pure technology standpoint and benefits uniquely from its consumer-centric approach and from the huge built-in audience. Look for an upcoming B2B advertising campaign that tells the G1 story in helpful detail and shows a future, in Wierks’s words, “where the whole operation lives on one portal.”

Learn how G1 can deliver for your course. 


GOLFNOW and Troon extend tee-time agreement

GOLFNOW and Troon extend tee-time agreement

Feb 07, 2019

Troon to promote GOLFNOW as preferred partner to its golf facilities worldwide via new multi-year distribution extension.

NBC Sports’ GOLFNOW recently announced an expanded, multi-year distribution agreement with Troon, which extended preferred partnership status for the world’s largest online tee-time marketplace with Troon facilities worldwide. This announcement came close on the heels of news in December that GOLF Advisor was selected by Troon Golf Vacations to be its official licensee.

Building on nearly a decade-long relationship, Troon will continue to promote and integrate GOLFNOW’s distribution platform, as well selective services to its managed golf courses.

“Both our companies have grown at a rapid pace since we became partners in 2009, and our relationship continues to be as strong and successful as ever,” said Jeff Foster, senior vice president, GOLFNOW. “The value we provide not only helps Troon-managed courses using GOLFNOW to perform well, but also opens up other opportunities within the GOLF and NBC Sports Group universe.”

Foster points to the Troon Golf Vacations partnership as an example. Other examples have included exposure for Troon properties on GOLF Channel shows like Morning Drive and GOLF Advisor Round Trip, as well as opening doors to host GOLF events, including World Long Drive tour events.

“We value our partnership with GOLF Channel, GOLFNOW and all of the channels brought to bear under the NBC Sports Group,” states Bruce Glasco, chief operating officer of Troon. “Our clubs benefit from the exposure, tools and delivery provided as a result of synergies created – from distribution to marketing via our global relationship.”

About GOLFNOW

GOLFNOW is an innovative technology company specializing in golf-related products and services that is creating frictionless ways for golfers and golf courses to better connect. GOLFNOW operates the largest online tee-time marketplace in the world, offering more than 3.5 million registered golfers a variety of ways to stay connected to their favorite courses and the ability to easily book tee times online and via mobile devices any time of day. With offices in Orlando, Fla., and Belfast, Northern Ireland, GOLFNOW also provides technology, support and marketing services to nearly 8,000 golf courses in 26 countries around the world. GOLFNOW is included in the GOLF Business Solutions suite of digital businesses, owned by NBC Sports and managed by Golf Channel, which is available to more than 500 million viewers worldwide.

About Troon

Headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Troon is the world’s largest golf management company providing services at more than 360 locations around the globe, including 280 golf courses at 246 facilities. In addition to golf, Troon specializes in homeowner association management, private residence clubs, estate management and associated hospitality venues. Troon’s award-winning food and beverage division operates and manages more than 150 restaurants located at golf resorts, private clubs, daily fee golf courses and recreational facilities. With properties located in 35 states and 30 countries, divisions of Troon include Troon Golf, Honours Golf, Troon Privé (the private club operating division of Troon), Troon International and Cliff Drysdale Management. There are currently 60 Troon-affiliated properties featuring 80 golf courses on national and international “Top 100” rankings. Troon-affiliated properties include Bayside Resort Golf Club in Selbyville, Delaware; Kapalua on Maui, Hawaii; Mauna Lani on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island; Pronghorn in Bend, Oregon; Lofoten Links in Norway; and Mollymook Golf Club in Australia. For additional news and information, visit www.Troon.com, or connect with Troon on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+, BlogPress Room, or subscribe to Troon Golf & Travel.