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.
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.
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.
[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.
Blade vs cavity back style wedges – GolfWRXers discuss
In our forums, our members have been discussing wedge style preferences. WRXer ‘Jjfcpa’ is curious to see what style is used by the majority of members and why, and WRXers have been sharing their thoughts on both types.
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.
- cwik: “I play blade wedges personally. I don’t see any benefit from CB style wedges around the green or on partial wedge shots. I guess they could provide some help on full swing mis-hits, but I’ve never seen an improvement in overall scores when playing CB’s throughout the bag. The addition of CB wedges is unlikely to produce any scoring benefits for me over time as well.”
- aaronpoling: “I played SM7’s, then went to MD 4’s, and have settled on CBX 2’s. I play G25’s so going with a CB wedge made sense to me. Both the SM7’s and MD 4’s were great feeling, but I needed something more forgiving, and while they don’t feel as great as the other, they are good!”
- cactusgolf: “I can shank, thin, or fat any wedge. I’m just that good. I’ve played both CB wedges (CBX-type) and now my Callaway MD3s since they came out. I really haven’t noticed a noticeable benefit to playing one over the other as long as the bounce is right for the type of course and how I deliver the club to the ball.”
- texas_tom: “I was just looking into this. I settled on a 50 degree GW CBX2 for pitch shots and bump and run and heavy grass. I have Vokey 54/58 for the “finesse” Lob and high soft shots. Of course, I blade the crap out of most of those, so I use my cbx more and more. I think the CBX has a higher swingweight? It definitely feels like it, I don’t feel as flippy with it.”
Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (07/2/21): (Made for Tony Finau) Piretti Handstamped Matera Elite putter
At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.
We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.
Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a 1 of 1 (Made for Tony Finau) Piretti Handstamped Matera Elite putter.
From the seller: (@Kaexo): “For sale only, no trades. I wanted to like it and use it for awhile but just can’t putt with it. It was originally made for Tony Finau and can be confirmed by Mike the owner of Piretti. Very light wear on the sole but Overall excellent condition. Only weight set is the blank aluminum which makes it 355g. 34″. 355g. 70? Lie. 2.5? loft. Black Piretti standard grip Full disclosure: I am out of town and won’t be able to ship until likely Friday next week but will try to do it sooner. $1200 OBO fedex insured.”
To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: 1 of 1 (Made for Tony Finau) Piretti Handstamped Matera Elite putter.
GolfWRX Spotlight: Tour Edge Exotics C721 driver
Tour Edge’s Exotics line of high-end golf clubs has been known for excellent fairway wood and hybrid performance over the years. The Chicago-based company has been consistently putting out high-quality products, and golfers are really taking notice. The new line of C721 drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids take yet another big leap forward from last year’s EXS line.
The new C721 driver takes a lot of technology from the 2020 EXS line and further refines and expands on it. I know it is a little cliche when companies say every model is their best ever, but Tour Edge is 100 percent right this time.
When unboxing the C721 the first thing I noticed was the much-improved looks and shape over the previous Tour Edge drivers. The biggest change to my eye is the added bulge, giving a more rounded and softened topline.
The overall shape of the C721 is slightly stretched from front to back, giving it just a hint of a triangular look. The Ridgeback is a titanium spine flanked by two carbon fiber wings that add stability and forgiveness to the head, but they can also work together and an additional aiming device to ensure you are lined up down the center of the fairway.
Getting the C721 out on the course is where you really start to appreciate all the technology that went into this driver. Well-struck shots are very long, very boring, and will hang with anything out on the market today. Center contact is rewarded with a long and very low spin shot that is just fun to hit.
The sound and feel are very solid, you can really feel the ball compress on the face as it leaves at high speed. The sound is more of a muted crack and much quieter than I anticipated. If you practice on an enclosed range your ears will thank you for your choice in drivers. Shots hit away from the center of the face retain a lot of ball speed and stay online really well.
My miss is low on the heel and those misses stayed in the air fairly well and went a good ways. Shots hit down on the heel or higher on the toe side still stay online really well due to the Ridgeback spine and rear weight. The C721 is just slightly higher than mid-launch for me, but the low spinning head never allowed my shots to balloon or rise even into the wind. I do wish the face was just a touch deeper as I had to play with my tee height in order to find the optimal setup. The better players will enjoy the neutral weighting and there seems to be very minimal draw built into the driver.
Overall, the Tour Edge Exotics C721 driver is a great club that will probably be overlooked by too many golfers. If you are looking for added distance, a lot of forgiveness and want to keep some money in your pocket, then you should seriously take a look at Tour Edge.
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