Jake Gordon knows the pain of trying to land a weekend tee time at a busy public course. He was once the “booker” for his group of friends in the Los Angeles area, refreshing multiple websites on Thursday and Friday mornings while praying the golf gods would come through with a cancellation.
Gordon figured there had to be a better way.
“I was like, ‘This is madness,’ because other industries have solved this problem,” said Gordon.
So, Gordon created a consumer platform called Noteefy to help golfers find times at their local courses, syncing with online tee systems to instantaneously issue alerts if a tee time — based on a user’s preferences — became available. No more endless refreshing.
What he soon discovered is his platform also enables operators to run their business more efficiently, helping eliminate the all-too-frequent incoming calls about tee time availability and seamlessly filling desirable tee times that might go unused if someone booked it online and then canceled. Which happens quite frequently.
Not only is Noteefy addressing a pain point for golfers, it’s saving golf courses time and money.
“The status quo in golf today is you have to call and refresh over and over checking for availability,” says Gordon. “We’re just simply enabling you to never have to pick up the phone and the operator to fill every cancellation while pulling loyal golfers back to the property over and over.”
As an example, a golfer can set their playing preferences for every Saturday for the rest of the year for times between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. at specific courses. The instant there’s a match between a player’s preferences and availability, automated e-mails and text messages are sent via the Virtual Tee Time Assistant. The player can click through an attached link to the online booking portal if they choose, avoiding having to repeatedly call a course or refresh websites looking for a tee time. On the flip side, course employees in the golf shop see less call volume and fewer empty times due to late cancelations.
One of the nation’s biggest multicourse operators, Kemper Sports, has embraced the Noteefy platform and is seeing the benefits — from its popular resorts like Streamsong and Sand Valley to busy municipal courses. Other major management companies are also looking into rolling out the system, which seamlessly integrates with existing tee time reservation software.
At Heron Glen in Ringoes, New Jersey, a popular Kemper-operated municipal facility in a state with the lowest proportion of public golf in the nation, the Noteefy platform helped fill 153 open tee times over a recent three-month period, generating significant added revenue.
During one weekend, heavy Saturday rains caused the course to cancel and reschedule a scheduled two-day event being played by its men’s and women’s associations. The Noteefy platform sent out notifications to users on Friday evening and by Saturday afternoon all the vacated Sunday tee times were filled.
“We hear so often that golfers have to continuously check our website for open tee times, which is never fun,” said Heron Glen General Manager Tim Ward, adding that among the hundreds of users who have signed up for the system the leading age group is those between 60 and 70 years old.
There’s a flat subscription fee for facilities to license the Noteefy software, but operators keep 100% of the playing fees from tee times booked through the platform.
“This is really like the dot-connector and then we funnel all the revenue right back to the property,” said Gordon.
Sand Valley Resort in Wisconsin this season saw about 1,600 rounds filled on short notice by the Noteefy system — times that were likely canceled by guests anywhere between two weeks to a day before and might have gone unfilled. The property’s revenue manager, Jordan Powell, calls the platform a “game-changer” since it was introduced last spring in concert with the rollout of the resort’s online booking portal. While he declined to give specifics on the revenue impact, the boost is readily apparent when you consider Sand Valley’s play rates range between $100 and $275.
“We were able to fill 230 tee times alone on one-day notice,” said Powell, noting that many “day golfers” are more than willing to drive up to 200 miles to get a spot at one of the destination property’s courses.
“We changed all of our ‘day golf’ strategies because of Noteefy,” Powell added. “Every single way we manage day golf inventory prior to launching it was flipped 180 (degrees) and funneled through Noteefy. It’s completely changed how we manage everything. It’s made everything so much more efficient and streamlined.”
Streamsong in Florida has had around 1,500 users sign up for notifications, including many daily public guests hoping to snag a time in between the busy resort play. The dashboard also notifies users when the resort changes its public (non-resort guest) booking window from 30 to 60 days during certain times of the year, giving them a better chance at getting a coveted tee time at one of the property’s three 18-hole courses.
And resort properties are seeing how it could benefit other manual-search customer experiences beyond golf, from lodging to spa services.
“We had absolutely no expectations that this would be something other than having golf applications,” Gordon said. “I thought this was a neat way to improve the efficiency, experience and revenue of a property.”
Noteefy isn’t a booking engine or third-party tee time aggregator like a GolfNow. But it can allow a golfer to sign up with multiple affiliated courses in a particular city, which becomes somewhat of a cross-pollination benefit to the operators who are running them.
“We’re a little bit like air traffic control between supply and demand and all the properties,” said Gordon. “We effectively give all of the incremental demand increases as an aggregator would but without the cannibalization of barter times, and without the discounts. We’re not touching pricing, so we’re optimizing demand without harming the top line of that property.
“So, it’s just a new kind of unique way for them to do this,” he adds. “And then I (as a golfer), I can say, “’I want to play all these courses. Let me know when any of these are available.’”
As Noteefy gains market share in what’s an increasingly busy U.S. public golf market, it’s proving to be a win-win for golfers and golf courses.