GBN.com interviews Anthony Douglas of Hole19, the ‘app’ which launched on the Apple Watch in April. Anthony believes that using Hole19 gives golfers ‘a premium experience’ which will help golf to attract younger generations.
Hole19 recently hit the landmark of 1m rounds, how has the uptake been?
“The app has been hugely successful. We have 500,000 users, although we measure ourself against how many rounds we’re being used on. We’re now at just over 1.3 million rounds. We also launched on the Apple Watch in April, which is doing very well. The USA and UK are our biggest markets although we’ve mapped over 95% of the world’s courses and are available in over 100 countries, so we’re seeing usage grow on a daily basis from countries in all corners of the world.”
What was the inspiration behind Hole19?
“Hole19 is a platform that connects the world of golf. We designed it to be a free utility that tracks how players do in order to enhance their on-course golf experience and improve their game. It was important to us to deliver a product that gives golfers a premium experience.
“Whether it’s through accurate distances at the tap of a finger, visual imagery to help with course management or shot tracking to discover gauge actual on-course distances, there are several benefits to using Hole19 that fundamentally, allow the golfer to strategically plan the way they play the round.”
How do you intend on developing the business over the coming years?
“Golf is a $76bn industry per year and there are over 70m global golfers in the world. That’s a huge number of people doing the same thing, feeling the same emotions on the course and having the same desires when it comes to enjoyment, improvement and experiences. There is a massive opportunity to collate this movement and create a vertical social network that connects the golfing fraternity. A tailor made service where golfers can connect and share experiences.”
What is your vision for the future of golf?
“The average age of a Hole19 user is 39 yet the average age of a golfer today is 54. We need to get this down and to do that we need to get more of the younger generation playing the game. Unlike the older generation, they are tech native, which means they expect to be able to use the latest technology to improve their golfing experience. Anything that allows them to do that will help encourage uptake. Products like the Apple Watch, while still in the early adopter market, will give this a huge boost as it makes it so simple for people to integrate technology with their round.”
If you could change one thing about golf currently, what would it be?
“The biggest challenge with the game we want to address is, ‘how can we reduce slow play’? Regardless of advances in equipment, course design or products like buggies and automated trollies, a round still takes around four hours. How could we speed to this up? If we could even take 15 or 20 minutes off a round, just imagine what that could do in terms of increasing revenue for the clubs and helping encourage a growth in participation rates.”
Anthony Douglas, thank you very much