Tagmarshal takes on the pace of play problem

By |  August 3, 2017 0 Comments

Some ideas are inspired from unfortunate situations. A frustrating round of golf might not be the most unfortunate circumstance, but that’s where the idea for the pace of play management solution, Tagmarshal, came from. 

“A friend of mine is an avid golfer and he was waiting to play his next shot on the 17th fairway during a round that was approaching six hours and there wasn’t a marshal in sight,” says Bodo Sieber, co-founder and CEO of Tagmarshal. “A member of the group ended up calling the clubhouse to complain about the delay, and they were baffled when management told them that they were unaware of the situation.”

That experience inspired the idea for this company, and today almost fifty public, resort and private courses around the world are using the South African-based Tagmarshal to maintain the pace of play on their properties. Recent major championship hosts Erin (Wis.) Hills, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wis., and Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Ken., are all currently using the technology as well.

The technology uses geo-location devices that are either installed out of sight on a golf cart or clipped onto the golf bag of a walking golfer or caddy. The devices, roughly the size of a matchbox, then send information to the cloud, where Tagmarshal tracks the location of each group, and its algorithm evaluates the pace of play. That analyzed information is then sent back to the course via a software program that shows the groups playing on a digital version of the course. The program can be accessed on any internet-enabled device.

“With that geo-location data our system assess how far a group is off the pace in terms of the course recommendation, how far they’re off the pace in term of play on the course and are they delaying a group that is behind them,” says Sieber. “The algorithm takes account for things like a group four minutes behind pace on hole No. 3 is more of a problem than a group four minutes behind on hole 17. Management gets a very clear picture of the course, and we realize there’s a lot of complexity in the system but the user interface is one that is easy to use and that people enjoy to use.”

When the user looks at the interface they will see the groups as dots on the screen, colored either green, orange or red. A green group means they are playing at a good pace, orange indicates that the group is off the pace but it’s not their fault and red signifies that the group is playing behind the pace. The more the group falls behind, the larger their representative icon becomes.

“The marshal doesn’t have to go around with any chart and constantly try to make sense of the course because the system tells you where you need to be and they can preemptively have a chat or have a non-confrontational support when telling a group they are a certain amount of time behind the pace,” says Sieber. “Because there is data, it’s less of a hearsay experience or the group can’t say the group in front of them is slowing them down.”

Superintendents at the courses with Tagmaster are able to use the technology to help them with their jobs, too. The geofencing capabilities allow the course to set areas out of bounds and if a cart or golfer enters that area, the management will receive a notification. With the technology constantly collecting data, including wear on the course and the weather, superintendents can access a heat mapping function that can alert them to turf that might be susceptible to disease or other issues.

“Some of the superintendents use the system to see that there’s a gap in play between holes 3 and 4 or in tee times and that is a perfect opportunity for superintendents to send somebody out to do some maintenance and even when a player is approaching they can pull the crew member off again,” Sieber. “Some of the superintendents are using it very actively and they say they can get so much more done because they have line of sight and they can send crew members out at the right times.”

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