Technology Guaranteed to Make Your Course a Destination
After experiencing some lean years and an uncertain future, the sport and the industry have gone through a rebirth. The golf experience has evolved, and many agree that, for the most part, this evolution has been for the betterment of the game.
Leading the way is the Shark Experience, available in Club Car Tempo golf cars and Precedent models. In partnership with Greg Norman and Verizon, Club Car offers the Shark Experience because it’s an innovation that creatively addresses some of the concerns permeating the golf industry. How can courses combat declining participation? How can they improve the experience of playing golf and integrate two worlds—the leisurely, traditional ways of golf with a fast-paced digital age? How can courses introduce technology that improves the pace of play?
The Shark Experience delivers state-of-the-art features like in-car radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and live streaming sports and news, so your golfers can enjoy a round of golf like never before—and like many who’ve already experienced Shark, they may say, “I want the Shark car” each time they come back. Here’s how Shark can elevate the golf experience at your course.
As times have changed, so too have the expectations of the golfer. At daily-fee public golf courses, it’s now about much more than simply booking a tee time and getting a car key from the pro shop. Golfers want to be entertained, and they would prefer not to be completely “disconnected” from how they live their daily lives, a revelation that has led to technological advancements and new products that deliver what golfers want.
While public and private golf courses have differing challenges, one thing they have in common is a desire to keep their courses busy. In a mobile world, that’s increasingly difficult. We spoke with the golf leadership at Northriver Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where it took a bit of time for membership to fully embrace the Shark Experience—but once they did, it was a hit.
“Just being more comfortable with (the use of) technology and everything it can do is so important,” said Andrew Tomes, Northriver’s Director of Golf. “It comes fairly naturally for those who are already embracing technology, and for those who aren’t, (Shark Experience) is easy to pick up, use it, and find the true value in it.”
The reality is that it’s easy for today’s guests to find a reason not to carve out 4–5 hours of their day—and sometimes longer—to play golf. Big football games and other sporting events on weekends can keep players and their friends at home, but the Shark Experience allows them to connect their devices or listen to play-by-play broadcasts of games streamed directly to the integrated speakers in their car. With Shark, they never miss a play.
Most importantly: it’s fun, it’s modern, and it’s social. The Shark Experience is unique to Club Car—other manufacturers in the industry don’t offer this level of entertainment and technology within their vehicles. It’s tailor-made for a new wave of golfers, and has caught the attention of even die-hard traditionalists.
“The demand for golf in the younger generation is still there, and in order for us to grab that, we have to adjust our business model,” said Steve Marino, Director of Golf at The Golf Club at Yankee Trace in Centerville, Ohio. “They need technology because that’s what they grew up on. Anything we can do to make it entertaining and make it more fun is going to help all of us.”
It’s natural to wonder if pace of play might suffer when introducing new technology. Yet many golf professionals who have brought Shark to their facilities have said it’s in fact the opposite.
The Shark Experience pushes real-time information via GPS right to the vehicle, including hole flyovers, distances to pins and hazards, and more. There’s no need for a laser rangefinder or to pace off yardages—once the car stops at the player’s ball, he or she has the information needed. And according to Marino, the added benefit of staff-to-car communication also helps keep play moving.
“(Shark Experience) lets us identify problems ahead of time so we aren’t guessing,” Marino said. “It’s been phenomenal from a management perspective. With leagues, which are typically slow, we can get out in front of it. We’ve had no negative feedback from it.”
Making the switch to the Shark Experience is, for many courses, a major change. But as we’ve heard from golf professionals across the United States, the investment in resources and time has been well worth it—and well received.
“This is an added-value experience for your customers, for your members,” said Tomes. “It’s also helped us generate more revenue. We did some research and looked at car fees for other clubs in the area and found that ours were a bit low. With Shark, we’re offering something other courses don’t, and our fees are still right in line with theirs.
“After introducing Shark to our course, I really don’t see why anyone wouldn’t consider this technology.”
Modern golfers demand a more engaging, entertaining day on the course—and it’s up to the golf course to make that happen. Are you ready to offer your golfers something entirely new and unique?
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