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WRX Q&A: Forelinx CEO Danny Wax

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The thinning of many traditional golf clubs’ member directories coupled with innovation in the web and mobile golf product and app space is yielding some interesting synergies.

One of these, Forelinx, bills itself as “the best way to book tee times, compete in fantasy golf and play 100s of courses with one membership.”

To find out exactly what that means, we talked with CEO Danny Wax.

GolfWRX: Let’s start with a quick explanation of what Forelinx is for those WRXers who aren’t familiar?

DW: Simply put, Forelinx is an all-new type of golf membership. We offer three core products: online tee times, fantasy golf and business memberships. Members get “Forelinx Points” and use those Points to book tee times across a growing network of courses, compete in fantasy golf competitions or share Points with employees and clients. Memberships are month-to-month or pay as you go and any unused Points rollover. We’re leveraging technology to build the future of golf memberships for the next generation. We believe in golf’s traditions but have added modern touches to push the sport forward and attract new audiences.

GolfWRX: Take me back to the point of origin and the business opportunity y’all saw?

DW: The inspiration for Forelinx has been a compilation of first-hand experiences. Growing up at a country club, I was able to see the pain points that discouraged younger golfers from joining. Long term commitments, access to only one course, food and beverage minimums and expensive monthly dues made the thought of joining intimidating and a financial burden. I’ve been able to pull from personal experiences and other business models like ClassPass and the Epic Ski Pass to build a golf membership that caters directly to the ever-evolving needs of golfers.

GolfWRX: Where do things stand now, and what’s next?

DW: We currently operate in three states (California, Arizona, Nevada) and we’re planning on launching three new markets in 2020. Right now our focus is on market expansion and improvements to our platform in order to deliver the best member experience possible.

GolfWRX: OK. Other side of the coin: Tell me about Forelinx from the business/courses side of things…

DW: One of our core missions since the launch of Forelinx has been to build the world’s most course-friendly tee time distribution network. Online distribution has not seen much innovation over the last decade so we took a hard look at existing models like GolfNow, TeeOff, and Supreme and tried to do what we could to build our model in a way that soothes some of the pain points course operators encounter.

Forelinx comes completely free of charge (no barter, commission or cash) to our course partners. The Points-system we use allows us to camouflage the hard-dollar rates our courses are providing to us as a way to protect the integrity of their rates and brand. Our partner contracts are month-to-month and our partners select rates of their choice for every single tee time we distribute on their behalf.

Each of these decisions helps us build a reputation as a course-friendly distribution option. We want to be extensions of our clients’ existing marketing strategies rather than compete with them — and these core principles are critical in aligning our interests of the golf courses that make up the Forelinx network.

GolfWRX: Integrating fantasy golf is an interesting decision…what’s going on there?

DW: Our decision to move into the fantasy golf space was born out of a desire to find ways for members to enjoy their Forelinx Points between rounds of golf. Our overall vision for this product is to use fantasy golf as a mechanism that makes the PGA Tour more exciting and rewarding to watch. Forelinx members can now draft a team on Wednesday, watch their team compete on Thursday and then use their winnings to pay for their tee time on Friday. This marriage of on-screen PGA Tour engagement and on-course golf participation is unique in the golf industry and gives Forelinx members the unique opportunity to enjoy a user experience cycle not available anywhere else.

GolfWRX: Taking a step back, how do you think Forelinx fits into larger trends in the golf industry? Obviously, you’ve taken something traditional and reworked it…are there lessons there for other segments of the golf market?

DW: We take great pride in the fact that we’re a non-traditional form of golf membership. We believe that our model gives our members flexibility and choice — two characteristics consumers desire when making any type of purchase. While we wouldn’t presume to tell other operators how to run their business, we’d certainly think a focus on those two consumer priorities will ultimately pay dividends to any business in or out of the golf industry.

I think the golf industry at-large has had a relentless focus on its own needs during a decade that has been tough on a lot of golf businesses. The needs and wants of golfers have taken a backseat to the concerns of golf business operators and our methodology at Forelinx is to create new trends instead of following them. We listen to our members and work backward to provide solutions that can help sustainably grow the game.

GolfWRX: Good stuff. Anything else you’d GolfWRXers to know?

DW: I think this last decade has been an interesting period in the golf world. Technology is continuing to revolutionize the on-course and off-course golfer experience, and the struggles in the golf economy have created a lot of opportunity for those willing to break traditional molds. Companies like TopGolf and DriveShack recognized early on that customer desires were changing and saw financial upside in delivering the game to a broader audience in non-traditional bite-size portions.

We at Forelinx see similar opportunities in breaking the traditional mold of the classic single-course golf membership. By building a product that speaks to our consumer’s desire for flexibility and choice both on-course and off-course, we think we’re well-positioned to leverage technology to deliver our members a great experience and our investors a great business.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. SoCal Golfer

    Sep 3, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    I subscribed to Forelinx for a little over a year until they started to heavily push the fantasy golf part of their service. They began to bombard me with emails every day about using my points to gamble on pro golf rather than using them to play. This looks like it is designed so that “members” use and lose points on fantasy golf rather than spending them to play golf. Why? Because the points/money they recoup from you when you lose at fantasy golf goes directly back to them while the points/money spent by members on golf goes directly to the golf course.

  2. Derrick

    Sep 1, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    I may be the only one but that pic of Mr. Wax makes me want to have nothing to do with him. A mean mugging headshot doesn’t seem the best way to market what is still a hospitality business, new spin or not.

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