Friday, February 17, 2012

Craig's Crossing - EzLocator, Fashion Week in the Netherlands

Most of what I have researched about Jon Schultz starts with a 19th-hole story. I listened to Tony Leodora interview Mr. Schultz on Philadelphia radio station WNTP and Tony started the discussion by pointing out that pin placement was always a topic after finishing a round with he and his buddies and that typically it’s the hole-location that makes the least sense that gets the most attention.
In mid-2003, Jon Schultz finished a round of golf at Dallas Athletic Club (DAC) and was settling wagers and swapping lies with his regular golfing group. “Someone mentioned that the holes were in the same locations as the previous Sunday,” Schultz recalls. “The discussion became very heated and lively — everyone had an opinion about how holes were placed at the club.” Jon consulted with the Greens superintendent and went to work developing ezLocator.
I am immediately attracted to and love to talk about any aspects of managing a facility that are in fact manageable and particularly those that impact the image of the facility. Ironically I met Jon Schultz in the bar at the Peabody, considered by many to be the 19th hole of the PGA show, two gin and tonics later he had me.

Jon, it is a pleasure to have an opportunity to speak with you today. Perhaps we could start with expounding on the Dallas Athletic Club story and telling us about Jon Schultz.
My Dad taught me to play golf when I was only 10 years old. I played on my high school golf team and considered myself a pretty good player until I went to the University of Texas. There I was introduced to Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw, and decided I’d better pursue an engineering degree.  After college, I continued to play amateur golf and taught my first wife the game.  As our family began to grow, it was only natural to raise our three sons on the golf course.  Playing golf together gave us an opportunity to spend quality time together and every Sunday became Schultz Family Golf Day.  As our boys grew older, the competitive juices began to flow and it was only a matter of time before I went from number one to number five on the family team.  Over the past 35 years I have been fortunate to play tournament golf, caddie and participate as a tournament chairman at the highest amateur level. I wanted to recreate the same excitement I experienced in tournament play, every time I played a casual round of golf.  That is when I decided to utilize my technology background to create a pin placement system called ezLocator®
I quickly realized I wasn’t the only person who wanted that exhilaration of a challenging game every week.  While sitting in the 19th hole after our Saturday golf games, my buddies and I would complain about the silly pin placements and would either be asking “what crazy person put the pin there” or say “those pins are in the same place every Saturday.” That is when I knew a little technology could make the game a whole lot better. The Dallas Athletic Club (DAC) graciously became the guinea pig for my computer software program I designed. I knew I was on to something when the greens superintendent told me the complaints he received on a weekly basis turn into thank yous. Soon I was taking my creation to golf courses all over the country and that is how this whole thing got started.

 I mentioned that I felt your service improved the image of the course, and it is interesting to me that I am just recently starting to think of hole-locations in those terms.
I believe the most precious asset of a golf course is the greens.  Every golfer wants a perfect putting surface, tournament like pin placements, and information at their fingertips, like the pros.  With a single click of the mouse, ezLocator offers an infinite number of pin locations and presents the golf course like a professionally run tournament. Each day a player can use a professionally designed pin sheet just like a tour player.  Additionally, superintendents rave about ezlocator as the “goto” tool to proactively manage and improve the green condition, and enhance communications with the pro shop and club members. 

What are some of the other major features and benefits of EzLocator?
1.       Creates a new course every day
2.       Reduces maintenance costs
3.       Improves putting surface quality
4.       Utilizes the entire putting surface for pin placements
5.       A method that eliminates hole placement errors and guesswork
6.       Daily pin placements can be downloaded using ezLocator iPhone app

Would you explain the basic logistics of implementing the product and its day-to-day use?
Our system implementation is very simple.  We offer a turnkey solution that starts with the mapping of the greens to find the optimum number of locations per green. We provide the club staff with it’s own web portal of their course greens so the daily holes can be customized from any computer anywhere. Creating the pin sheet is as easy as a simply click a mouse. Within two weeks of our on-site work our customers are up and running.

Everyone in today’s economy is rightfully concerned about and has to justify ROI. This seems to be one of the most compelling aspects of your story.
Many superintendents spend a minimum of at least 4 to 6 hrs. per week working pin placements.  They are either deciding where to put them, managing the placement process or answering member questions about the days pin locations.  The “cup cutter” spends an extra 15- 20% of his time trying to decide and find a good location on the green.  Often times they are put in the same area because that is the only reference point they have.  Additionally, ezLocator fully utilizes the entire puttable surface so fewer chemicals and fertilizers are needed to maintain a healthy green.  With the time savings, reduced green wear and reduced material cost our customers are seeing about a 4-6 month ROI.

I know you have this service in place at some of the better clubs in Dallas but that the launch is relatively in its infancy. Tell us if you would of some other of your placement and their significance?
We are very appreciative of the rapid acceptance of our product and how it has helped many of the top clubs in the country.  Several of our customers are ranked nationally and internationally. St. Georges Golf and Country Club hosted the 2010 Canadian Open and Westchester Country Club hosted a PGATOUR event for 41 years and hosted a Champions TOUR event this past August.
A partial list of elite clubs includes: 
Golf Digest Top 100 U.S.
      Wade Hampton-- #29
Cashiers, NC
      Old Sandwich Club-- #38
Plymouth, MA
      Dallas National Golf Club-- #59
Dallas, TX

Golf Digest Top 100 International
      St. George’s Golf and Country Club-- #27
Toronto, Canada

Golf Digest Top 100 Best Modern Courses
      Lost Dunes Golf Club-- #63
Bridgman, MI
Golf Digest Top 100 Best Classic Courses
      Westchester Country Club-- #93
Harrison, NY
One my most memorable customer experience occurred on a sales call at a Canadian club. We were discussing the many benefits and features of ezLocator, when the topic came up of ezLocator’s ability to isolate damaged areas of the green due to disease or vandalism.  The club’s superintendent quickly chimed in and said they have wild bears roaming the area and he asked if we had an answer for bears “grubbing” on their greens?

When I play with my two sons pin placement is always part of the post round chatter. In fact just recently we played a course in Jacksonville and the pin placement on 17 actually was ridiculous to the point of probably not being within whatever rules govern such things, my oldest who it turns out is an aficionado of such things made the remark that there must be sadists running the facility. I don’t usually pay that much attention as my handicap is significant but it drove home to me the importance of this feature of the round and the impression it leaves on the total experience is in the scope of things.
Jon Schultz is the only man I’ve ever met who has thought this through and has a solution that makes sense. He can be reached at  972-231-4040 or, please tell him you read it here and that Craig says hello.


Golf Fashion Week to debut in The Netherlands.

Den Bosch The Netherlands will be the place to be for all global golf insiders from March 5th-11th who understand that golf clothing is becoming an essential aspect of the future of golf. Co-chairman Auke Hempenius lived in the United States for 26 years and was fashion analyst for The Golf Channel and fashion editor for GolfWeek. A recently signed partnership with the Ladies European Tour has given Golf Fashion Week some serious clout with it’s first edition.
The week kicks off Monday March 5th with the GFW Invitational, a golf tournament - named Dressed to the 9’s - unlike any other. The 9 hole tournament will be played by nine US Kids Best Dressed Award winners, nine amateur Best Dressed Award winners and Dutch touring professionals Chrisje de Vries en Lawrence Möger. During the entire 2011 golf season Best Dressed Award tournaments were held all over the country, where the Best Dressed player received an invitation for the GFW Invitational. The participants will play nine holes and post their net score. The “back” nine score will be given by the celebrity fashion judges for their golf attire. So the player that is the Best Dressed has a chance to win the tournament not playing the best golf….it’s about the clothes remember? The GFW opening cocktail party will follow play.
Tuesday will be reserved for radio- and television coverage. Wednesday there will be special coverage at and Thursday will be social media day with Golf Fashion week on twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Friday night at 8 Pm in The Brabanthallen is the VIP Golf Fashion Runway Extravaganza a runway show where all participating golf fashion brands will showcase their Spring Summer 2012 collection. Holland’s top fashion couturier Addy van den Krommenacker, who is based in Den Bosch will open the festivities. On Saturday and Sunday the runway show will take place at 3 Pm.
The inaugural Golf Fashion Week has garnered global attention with coverage in South-Africa, Spain, Japan, United States and the UK. You can find more info at or at where Auke Hempenius will post updates in English as well.
For direct inquiries e-mail  on twitter @golffashionweek.