Data-Driven Driving: How One Company Is Bringing The Science Of Process Optimization To The Golf Course

Market Research – Over the past year we’ve spent a lot of time with Superintendents and grounds staff, to truly understand their work, their challenges and their goals. Investing time in learning your customer problems, is fundamental to the success of all product development. Unfortunately, the golf industry is overflowing with poorly researched and poorly executed solutions. We’ve witnessed far too many companies skip the crucial market research step, and end-up developing over-complicated, nice-to-have solutions.

Market research helps you understand the market problem, and that frames your objective!

Our Objective – Solve the No.1 problem Superintendents face every day.  Managing the productivity of staff & equipment.  For grounds departments, staff & equipment costs account for 40-60% of their overall budget.  We repeatedly hear Superintendents tell us it’s impossible to oversee all their staff, as they just can’t be ‘everywhere at once’.  When Super’s tried to find solutions, and even implement systems, to help make their staff & equipment more efficient, their assistants ended-up spending dozens of hours each week entering information into software programs, that didn’t work properly.  It’s a huge problem. No one had created a task tracker system to efficiently track the productivity of staff & equipment.  This is also a topic written about in many GCSAA and Turfnet articles.  So, if you can’t measure productivity, how can you improve it?

That was it!  Not a mind-blowing problem.  But, there is a reason no one had solved it yet! 

The Technology – Until just recently, there wasn’t any technology available to accurately, cost effectively, and securely capture productivity data. The solutions that had tried to solve the problem, had suffered from insurmountable costs to implement and maintain. What has changed? The evolution of network technology! The IOT (Internet Of Things) & the IIOT (Industrial Internet Of Things) follows the invention of the internet in 1983, and the iPhone in 2007, as the worlds next big technology evolution.  The IOT & IIOT is a network of internet-connected objects that collect and exchange data.  That’s everything from your connected devices in you Smart Home, to M2M (Machine to Machine) connectivity.  With this evolution, we’re on the cusp of an intersection of people, data and intelligent machines, that will impact the productivity, efficiency and the operations, of every industry around the world.

What does that mean for the golf Industry?

The Solution – We’ve used advances in data capturing network technology, across big open spaces, to feed information to our cloud based analytics engine.  That information/data is measured & processed through our complex algorithms, in the analytics engine. What’s then produced, are real-time insights, that are streamed to our application, and integrated into existing staff & equipment productivity and task tracker workflows.

What does all that mean? In short, we automatically capture millions of pieces of data each day, from everything that moves on the golf course. With that data, our platform determines the performance & effectiveness of each staff member and each piece of equipment. If there’s an issue, the application then alerts operators in Real-Time, to the problem.

A simple example…  Every day, our platform automatically tracks the time it takes to mow each fairway, and identifies which staff member is mowing them.  Then, the task tracker system automatically alerts you when a staff member is taking longer than a set time, to mow a fairway or group of fairways.  You are now aware of a potential issue, even if you’re not on property.  Maybe, there was active play that interrupted the task (you can see that in our application).  Or, maybe there was equipment trouble (which you will also see in our application).  Or, maybe you have a training issue where a staff member is not following specific instructions.  Whatever the issue, our application helps you determine the problem, so you can take action.

Connect. Measure. Optimize.

The Results – FAIRWAYiQ’s platform enables Superintendents to effectively ‘be everywhere at once’. And, because it’s automated and does the work for you in the background, it helps Superintendents maximize the performance potential of resources. Which, easily reduces maintenance & staff cost$, and makes FAIRWAYiQ’s Automated Foreman the MUST HAVE solution for every Superintendent!