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GolfMatch expands its vision, revamps its app

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It’s fitting in a fast-paced, technology-driven age, that a company would significantly alter its vision just a year after releasing its first product.

GolfMatch, who we introduced you to last June, is doing just that.

Last month, the company launched an updated version of its original app, but the changes weren’t the minor modifications and bug fixes you find with most of these periodic alterations. Instead, GolfMatch revamped the app entirely, offering its users a far different iteration from the initial product with a significantly modified objective.

The company started its service as a way to connect like-minded golfers on courses they wished to play, dissolving the risk of a random pairing and eliminating the incompatibility and the awkwardness it could entail. And yes, facilitating these matches is still a main feature in the update, but it appears the focus has shifted a bit.

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The new version of the app is outfitted with a social feature that GolfMatch Founder and CEO Peter Kratsios describes as a mashup of Instagram and Facebook centered around golf. All users have their own profile and timeline where they can share and track their own golfing adventures, as well as a newsfeed where they can read about and view the golfing experiences shared by their counterparts.

[quote_box_center]”[With this update], we’ve allowed the app to be more content-driven,” Kratsios said. “We want to create a community that connects both on and off course, to have great experiences and then share them with a community that is passionate.”[/quote_box_center]

It’s a noble quest for Kratsios and his GolfMatch team, and they have made sure this new social feature goes a long way in fostering these deep connections among a fervent group of golfers.

The newest version of the app is available on iOS and Android devices, and in the added social setting, users can post in a variety of fashions. There are the run-of-the-mill written messages where golfers can convey their thoughts to their followers. Users can also post statuses with up to 15 photos per entry highlighting the round they played, the clubs they’ve been using or whatever else best conveys their golfing time.

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And within the past week, the app has been updated with video capability. Now users can not only share photos, but upload and post about footage of their outings. This new video feature can be shot in real time or in slow motion, an additional setting that allows golfers to put up recordings of their swings and solicit advise on their motion from the GolfMatch community around their profiles.

While this focus is somewhat different from the app’s original sole purpose of matching up golfers, they are attached in the way of fostering attractive golf connections, and ultimately the overarching mission of the app remains the same.

[quote_center]”The end goal is to connect a very fragmented community, solve fundamental problems for golfers and drive meaningful awareness to golf courses,” Kratsios said.[/quote_center]

Still, adding on a sharing-oriented feature to the product wasn’t inevitable from the start. In fact, Kraistos did not have such designs from the outset. The golfer’s initial spark for GolfMatch came about from his long-term experiences being paired up with random partners and the problems the blind match ups could create.

The GolfMatch app wasn’t exactly fledgling either as a partner matchup-only service. There were 2,000 users on the service last June, but interest seemed to be growing, especially as its Instagram followers quadrupled that number. GolfMatch also had business with golf course owners, charging a small fee for marketing campaigns to get players to their tracks. The company already had relationships with bigger corporations like Ship Sticks and PGA Tour Superstore.

As for sharing golf content, social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram could already serve those purposes, one would suppose. Wasn’t it a risk to stray from matchup-making as the sole focus?

Kratsios doesn’t think so.

The GolfMatch headman noted that golf is a visual sport where players tend to remember specifics of their rounds and wish to share these minute details. Sure you can post comments, photos and videos about your golfing experiences on these big social media sites, but most of your followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t golfers and subsequently don’t care about such documentation.

Users of the app also played a large role in this shift.

As with many enterprises in golf, customer feedback is paramount, and within three months of the app’s launch Kratsios was hearing from users that they wanted more. He realized a solution to the problem.

[quote_box_center]”We started hearing ‘Hey I wish I could use this app on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Days when I’m not playing golf,'” Kratsios said. “That that makes us most happy, when people are coming back to the app every day even though they may not be playing golf that day. And with this content-driven sharing approach, you could have people come to the app even if they weren’t playing on that day.”[/quote_box_center]

The GolfMatch crew got to work and tinkered for four months on the updated version that would include this social content-driven feature before it was released in early April.

In the short time of the new version of the app, Kratsios has heard plenty of positive feedback from his customers and the user numbers that had jumped to 10,000 before the launch. And since the updated app launched on iOS in the first week of April, GolfMatch has gained 2,000 new users.

And lest one thinks this all has to do with the new sharing feature from the  timelines, GolfMatch has upgraded its pairing service as well. Users can now post “Golfers Wanted” messages under the Matches tab in the app.

connect_both (1)

[quote_box_center]”People say what they’re looking for,” Kratsios said. “‘Hey I want a competitive match with single digit handicappers with any course near me.’ We then geo-target those match request posts. People from around the U.S. and Canada describe the types of golfers they are looking for and the types of rounds they want to play and what we do is target golfers within 100 miles of you that have put up play requests. So the play requests you see in the matches tab are all within 100 miles of you.”[/quote_box_center]

The product is now getting its footing on this two-pronged approach, and one might believe the company will put its full energy just into these efforts. But for Kratsios and his four other employees, GolfMatch is more than a company — and takes seriously its mission to get people’s attention to golf courses and grow the game.

Kratsios is commencing talk with golf courses about GolfMatch advertising deals at these places to users of the app. GolfMatch produces its own golf content through its website. The company has also started event promotion. Last week Kratsios was in Greensboro, N.C., for the National Collegiate Club Golf Association National Championships. He created an NCCGA user account on GolfMatch and put up a post with 10 pictures from the event twice per day to raise awareness.

But possibly the coolest feature is yet to come.

GolfMatch has a PGA tour Brand Ambassador team compromised of three pros: Padraig Harrington, John Senden and Andrew Svoboda. The trio joined the program to become more engaged with the people that watch them, Kratsios said, and all three have committed to playing a round with a GolfMatch user once per year at the pro’s home course. That’s right, one lucky GolfMatch user will get to play with John Senden at Olympic, Andrew Svoboda at the Bears’ Club and Padraig Harrington at a course to be named.

Kratsios expects these rounds to take place over the summer and the criteria for being a candidate for a spot is simple.

[quote_box_center]”It’ll be randomly selected with who will get to play with them,” Kratsios said. “We’re literally going to take three random GolfMatch users. It’s not going to be anything beside users who have posted on our newsfeed this year. Anyone who’s engaged with the app and has posted on a newsfeed is eligible to play with a pro. For these outings with the pros, we would pay for airfare, the hotel and the round.”[/quote_box_center]

The idea is for the program to grow rapidly, and Kratsios hopes to have 10 total pros committed to this opportunity in the next three months. It’s an ambitious goal, but why not aim high for a company that has dipped its foot in so many different avenues?

After all, in addition to everything else, GolfMatch is in talks with the largest golf publications about potentially pushing additional content through the app and the company is targeting the biggest manufacturers to help promote new products to the user audience. But even with that caveat, Kratsios’s vision for GolfMatch numbers is his most ambitious quest yet.

[quote_box_center]”Our goal is to get to 1 million users,” Kratsios said.[/quote_box_center]

Much ink has been spilled over the decline of golf in America. Well, if a golf app can indeed get 1 million dedicated players to come together, maybe the game won’t be in too much trouble after all.

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Kevin's fascination with the game goes back as long as he can remember. He has written about the sport on the junior, college and professional levels and hopes to cover its proceedings in some capacity for as long as possible. His main area of expertise is the PGA Tour, which is his primary focus for GolfWRX. Kevin is currently a student at Northwestern University, but he will be out into the workforce soon enough. You can find his golf tidbits and other sports-related babble on Twitter @KevinCasey19. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: September 2014

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Peter Heard

    May 27, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    I’ve been enjoying the app for sometime now and spreading the word for others to join. Have been able to leave some cards at a few courses.
    I enjoy seeing the pics from different parts of the country as fellow golfers enjoy this great game. Since I have joined, you have continued to make improvements, which makes sense as more members join and feedback comes in. Adding video was an outstanding feature, as well as the pro news feeds. What I can see as a need, is that more and more members join, allowing everyone to see all posts could become difficult. One will never be able to keep up. Privacy features would be good. Allowing users to see only posts from only those members they follow and again having one’s own posts available to followers if one wishes. Similar to Instagram. As I’ve left cards at golf courses, I’ve encouraged the workers in the pro shop to create a profile for their course to post news specific to their course. Even special deals and such. Having a database of participating courses that offer deals for App members would be great. A feature similar to golfnow that allows users to actually book tee times thru the app might be cool or even a link to golfnow in the app. Also, I participate in a virtual golf club with my buddies. We play weekly at different courses in a season long tournament. We use Gamebook to set up games that allow players to be connected WHILE they play in live time even at different courses. You can talk smack, see scoring, get updates: “Pete had a birdie!”, while on the course. Such a feature would really make Golfmatch a one stop app.

  2. Ringworld

    May 12, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Peter. Good Luck in your endeavors. The interface is nice albeit short on certain features such as editing a post. But then again a lot of these minor inconveniences should be ironed out over time. Where are the adverts? How can you monetize the model if there doesn’t to be an outlet to shill your wares? It was mentioned that you had partnered with companies like the PGA Superstore and Ship Sticks how do you intend to monetize if you opt out of the notifications? Just some thoughts that came across as I was discussing your app with some other golfers.

  3. Mix

    May 6, 2015 at 2:12 am

    I just downloaded the app, looks awesome, easy to navigate, and worthwhile although I wish there was someway to narrow the feed down to the specific state and/or city. To get a better idea of what is going on where I live. Can’t wait to put it to use and see what happens.

  4. Connor

    May 5, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Seems interesting, I am going to download it now!

  5. Peter Kratsios

    May 4, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Hi Bobby,

    As the Founder of GolfMatch, I appreciate your reading the article and replying. That being said, I would love to know a little bit more about your thoughts on our product other than simply, “seems stupid.”

    Our goal is to provide a product to golfers that helps alleviate the reasons why they don’t play as much, as well as for people who are hesitant to get out the first time. We have received amazing feedback from our early adopters and will continue to build out our product to create a better and better offering. By creating a passionate community of golfers, and building out the user-base,our product will provide greater value to our users in each region. This is one of many reason why being written about on GolfWRX is such an incredible opportunity for us as a company.

    I look forward to hearing back from you

    Best,

    Peter

  6. Bobby

    May 2, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Seems stupid.

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Equipment

Wunder: I’ve hit THESE new drivers this year…and this is what I think

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During this lockdown, I have done quite a few “Friday Q & A’s” on my IG, and one of the questions I get asked constantly is “have you hit this?” That, and “whaddya think?”

So, in the spirit of organizing my brain, it seemed like the right time to share what new drivers I have actually hit this year…and this is what I think.

Now, it needs to be said that there is a lot of new gear out there, but, to be honest, I’ve only actually hit a select few enough to actually build an opinion. “Enough” in this case is at least 20 balls. Some of these sticks I tested during our pre-launch preview with the OEMs, at the PGA show, a friend has one, or I actually have it in the bag.

Here we go.

TaylorMade SIM

Setup tested: SIM 9 @8.25 w/ Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage XTS 70TX

LOOKS: The best way to describe how SIM looks behind the ball is “comfortable.” TaylorMade has always made drivers that just look correct. The lines are clean, the shape inspires playability, and I dig the paint job. They hit a home run with this one for sure.

FEEL: Best sound out there in my opinion. Heavy, dense, and if you get one dead-nuts center, it lets you know. The feel at contact is just as TaylorMade drivers have always done, center strikes feel like Thor’s hammer and mishits don’t kill your good vibes.

VS THE M5: I get asked this a lot. I loved the M5. Still do. To be honest the two drivers data wise were legit apples to apples. The only difference is my stock shot with M5 was a low spin straight ball and with SIM its a slight draw with a touch more spin and slightly lower launch. I prefer that.

OVERALL: In my opinion, the TaylorMade SIM is the cool kid in high school for 2020. Last year it was F9 followed closely by M5. TM knocked it outta the park on this one.

TaylorMade SIM Max

Setup tested: Sim Max 9 @8.25 w/ Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage XTS 70TX

LOOKS: It has a bit more of a longer face at address, which makes the head appear shallow which inspires a bit more confidence to turn it over. That’s the main thing I noticed with MAX. Other than that its a tried and true TM shape.

FEEL: Like its sibling, it has a nice solid hit audibly at the impact. So, overall its apples to apples with SIM. However, due to the front weight missing on the MAX, the actual strike doesn’t feel AS meaty as SIM. Not a negative necessarily just something I noticed.

VS M6: Both of these sticks I launched a bit too high versus the weighted versions. That’s why they never got any serious consideration to actually put in play.

OVERALL: As a high launch, more forgiving option, it’s an ace.

Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero

Setup tested: Sub Zero 9 w/ Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei Blue AV 65TX

LOOKS: To my eyes, the newer versions of the Callaway drivers have looked a bit more compact than its competition. To me, this always looked “low spin” for whatever reason. The Mavrik has the same shape which is good.

FEEL: They really fixed the sound. The Epic Flash sounded like a pop can to me, and the Mavrik Sub Zero sounds like a sledgehammer. The good thing here is the sound now matches up with what the hit feels like. I think the Mavrik is the best feeling driver Callaway has made since Epic.

VS EPIC FLASH SZ: To me, a complete improvement on all fronts. Sound, feel, and performance for me were all substantially better. Now I must say that the Epic Flash Sub Zero was a great driver, I always got great numbers out of it, but the sound took me out of it. I’m sure there isn’t that much difference audibly between the two, but in this game, even something minor can represent so much. Sound to me is huge.

OVERALL: In all honestly, I haven’t given a Callaway driver a real hard look to actually put in the bag since Epic. The sound got louder wit Rogue and Epic Flash. The Mavrik SZ  however is a fantastic driver and will def get some more testing out of me.

Cobra SpeedZone

Setup tested: Cobra Speed Zone 9 @8.5 w/ Fujikura Ventus Black 7X

LOOKS: The F9 was a winner on all fronts. The only critique I had was optically it looked like the driver was a little too fade biased. The SZ with its milled in top line gives it softer look at address and for me, softer lines mean more workability, just what my eyes tell me.

FEEL: As with F9 and the earlier mentioned SIM, the Speed Zone sounds EXACTLY how a driver should sound. It has a very heavy hit audibly and that’s across the face. I love the sound of this driver.

VS F9: Apples to apples, it’s the same. Beyond the optics, it feels, sounds, and performs like the F9. Not a bad thing though, the F9 was the driver of 2019 in my opinion.

OVERALL: Nothing wrong with repeating an already awesome driver. SpeedZone will stand up to anything out there. If I’m being fair, I think F9 elevated things in 2019, and this year the competition caught up to it. Changes nothing about how good this driver is.

Cobra Speed Zone Xtreme

Setup tested: Cobra Speed Zone Xtreme 9 @8.5 w/ Fujikura Ventus Black 7X

LOOKS: Like the other drivers in this higher MOI category, it looks a little longer heel to toe.

FEEL: No different than the SpeedZone, sounds great, the impact is solid across the face, and even thin shots feel solid.

OVERALL: The Xtreme is the sleeper hit of 2020 and I’ve heard the fitters love this thing. It’s by far the easiest to hit and overall good time of any driver on this list. Is it longer? No. But is it Xtremely (no pun) playable and competitive? Hard yes. It’s a blast.

PXG Proto

Setup tested: PXG Proto 9 w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 6 TX

LOOKS: Slick. Like all PXG gear, the look is there. The matte crown and elegant lines make it very pleasing optically. I also appreciate that although it’s designed to look high tech. The lines inspire playability, and who doesn’t love a driver that looks like a stealth bomber?

FEEL: I only hit about 20 balls with the PXG Proto in the short time I had with it, but, wow, did this thing surprise me. The sound oddly enough is a bit higher-pitched than the others on the list but for whatever reason, it’s not a distraction. It actually adds to the experience of the hit. I typically detest that, but this sound matched up with the solid hit I was getting. I’m not sure if this is the final version since its a limited tour proto but what is happening is definitely interesting.

VS GEN2: It’s just better. Feels better, sounds great, more playable across the face. The Gen2 did one thing better than everyone else, it destroyed spin. The problem I had was control. The PXG Proto is still low spin but with the new 4 weight system (no intel on the tech yet) seems to add quality launch to the low spin profile and puts the player in a situation where very few to any sacrifices are made.

OVERALL: I was a fan of Gen2. No doubt. But it never flat out beat M5, F9, or SIM. The Proto has elevated PXG’s driver game. I don’t think its a matter of whether or not the driver stands up with the irons, I believe PXG is on the right track to having a driver that eliminates any “yeah, but…” to the conversation. That’s a huge leap since Gen1. These guys are trending hard.

I hope this was helpful.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the final version of Bryson DeChambeau’s LA Golf ‘Texas Rebar’ wedge shafts

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the final version of Bryson DeChambeau’s LA Golf ‘Texas Rebar’ wedge shafts. The look of the ultra-stiff shafts, which originated from Bryson wanting a “graphite shaft that was stiffer than the Dynamic Gold X7″, has impressed our members who have been praising the final version and sharing their thoughts on the concept.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • QuigleyDU: “Awesome.”
  • My2dogs: “Really coming out with some great new stuff.”
  • HateTheHighDraw: “MMT 125TX are absolute fire, but these must be much stiffer.”
  • Robkingasu: “Sweet!”

Entire Thread: “Bryson DeChambeau’s LA Golf ‘Texas Rebar’ wedge shafts”

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Should I move to heavier iron shafts? – GolfWRXers have their say

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the strategy of moving to heavier shafts in irons. WRXer ‘Z1ggy16’ has been making swing changes lately, and the transition has been most challenging for his iron play. ‘Ziggy16’ says:

“Been making some swing changes lately, most notably working to really shallow my club into the downswing. I’m finding that I’m doing this well with my heavy wedge shafts and driver, but I’m struggling a bit in my irons. My strike pattern with my wedges is pretty good, but the irons are a bit all over. Driver is 80g raw, wedges are 132g raw, irons 120g raw. I don’t think I want to go any stiffer, but is there a chance I’ve “outgrown” this weight and need to move to something a bit heavier to help keep these feels going through my set? No idea what swing speed is at this point, but my 7i is normally a smooth/comfortable 175-180 for me.

I really like the feel of my Accra Tour Z Xtreme 475 and my S400’s in the GW-LW. I’m kind of leaning maybe soft stepping modus 120TX or X100’s.. Heck maybe even S200 straight in? Normally I’d just get a fitting, but with Rona still going around, I’m not than keen on it. 2020 is the year of the self fit for me. FWIW, I used modus 120TX 2xSS in my GW & SW last year and that was pretty good feeling. Perhaps a touch too soft… they seemed to really whip/bend hard when hitting from the rough on full swings.”

Our members discuss whether they feel a switch to heavier shafts in the irons will have the desired impact.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Pepperturbo: “You’re not alone. Regardless of age, some of us swing better with heavier shafts. I went from 70g driver and 85g 3wd graphite shafts to 58g Ventus shaft in driver and 70g Ventus shaft in 4wd. In irons went from 130g X to 120g 6.0 PX steel shafts which lasted about fifteen years. Then last year made another downward weight change to Steelfiber (steel & graphite) 110g Stiff shafts, lightest I have ever played. Keep in mind as you transition, changing shaft weight is not the only answer. Increasing swing weight can make up for shaft weight. Though I really like them in 6-3i, not thrilled in SW-7i, so just ordered heavier Steelfiber i125g shafts for my PW-7i blades.”
  • Jeff58: “As someone who has gone through and continues to work on what sounds like a similar situation, your ideal iron shafts will likely change. Where they change to isn’t possible to predict with any degree of accuracy. Don’t change your current irons without knowing. It’s frustrating, expensive, and you won’t have any clubs while they’re being changed out. Instead, get a single club from dealsandsteals or similar and experiment with that. Also, the only relevant experience is outdoors under your actual turf conditions. Indoor and mat use can be grossly different.”
  • Red4282: “Just depends on your tempo and load and preferences tbh. My numbers are about identical to yours; I play 77g in the driver and 125 in the irons. I don’t think I could go lighter than 125.”
  • gvogel: “I have a set of hickory clubs. Of course, hickory shafts are darn heavy, maybe 150 grams or so. I probably hit straighter shots with the irons, and particularly hit better shots with the niblick (wedge). Driver and fairway woods, not so much. That might be a stupid insertion into an intelligent thread, but heavier goes straighter, lighter goes longer. You can go heavier, and it helps in transition, but don’t go too stiff.”

Entire Thread: “Should I switch to heavier iron shafts?”

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