OnGolf aims to bring superintendent’s data together

By |  March 10, 2015 0 Comments

One of the more interesting meetings I had at the GIS this year was a sit-down with the guys who have formed OnGolf.

OnGolf comes with some influential leadership behind it, namely co-founder Matt Shaffer, director of grounds at Merion GC, and Shawn Emerson, director of grounds at Desert Mountain and chairman of OnGolf’s advisory board. Walt Norley is the CEO, some may remember his name as the founder and CEO of UgMo technologies.

So what is OnGolf? Let me see if I can sum this up: It’s a cloud-based data collection system that is meant to help superintendents store all their information in one place for easy access and easier decision making. The platform is the little brother of OnFarm, meant for the ag industry. Norley was introduced to OnFarm and shared the system with his old friends Shaffer and Emerson to get their take.

“When Walt brought this software to Shawn and me, we said, ‘Hey, this was made for us,'” Shaffer says.

Norley and Shaffer cut an agreement with OnFarm last July to own the system for the golf, sports turf and commercial/residential markets. OnCourse is currently being tested in five different golf markets, and will become commercially available sometime next month.

(L to R) Shawn Emerson, Matt shaffer and Walt Norley sit down at the Golfdom booth to discuss OnCourse with Seth Jones.

(L to R) Shawn Emerson, Matt Shaffer and Walt Norley sit down at the Golfdom booth to discuss OnCourse with Seth Jones. Photo: Golfdom

OnCourse has five modules to help superintendents track information, according to Norley. They are:

  • Turf health indicators
  • Water and energy monitoring
  • Playing conditions (speed and firmness)
  • Labor management
  • Fertilizer budget management

And it’s all available on your phone.

Emerson says his hope is that the system will help turf pros cut their hours worked by 10 percent.

“Time may be our No. 1 focus. Superintendents and assistants are leaving the industry because they don’t have enough time, they don’t have a balance of life,” Emerson says. “I’ve told my superintendents and assistants, if you normally work 55 hours, with the information you’re getting, see if you can cut it down to 50 hours.”



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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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