Why the Golfdom Summit matters for golf: A business’s perspective

By |  February 26, 2019 1 Comments
Good talks during the 2018 Golfdom Summit board room meetings. L to R: Chris Benevides, growth development manager, FairwayIQ John Gurke, CGCS, Aurora (Ill.) CC Dave Schlagetter, superintendent, Indian Hill Club, Winnetka, Ill. Dave Vanslette, CEO, FairwayIQ. Photo: Seth Jones

Good talks during the 2018 Golfdom Summit board room meetings. L to R: Chris Benevides, growth development manager, FairwayIQ; John Gurke, CGCS, Aurora (Ill.) CC; Dave Schlagetter, superintendent, Indian Hill Club, Winnetka, Ill.; Dave Vanslette, CEO, FairwayIQ. (Photo: Seth Jones)

I’ve always thought introductions are important in life, as a general principle. Simple, respectful, and a great way to start off any conversation or interaction. So that being said, for those of you reading and do not know who I am and since this is the first time I’ve written for a golf publication, my name is Chris Benevides and I work for FairwayiQ. We’re a business located in Waltham, Mass., just outside Boston. We’re a company that attaches sensors to equipment to pull a whole slew of data in real-time to report on things like labor management and equipment diagnostics. We become even more valuable (I’d like to think) when our system is integrated with taskTracker to create EliteiQ — the reporting of actuals on taskTracker estimates.

Late last year we attended the Golfdom Summit for the very first time at Reunion Resort, close to Orlando, Fla. The format of the Summit is simple — Golfdom invites some of golf’s most skilled and influential superintendents to meet with each other and with golf-focused businesses to learn about the products and service that can make their properties and their teams better.

Over the course of a few days, we were lined up with about 40 or so superintendents in our suite to discuss a bit about FairwayiQ and answer questions about our system. It felt a lot like professional speed dating to give you a sense of the vibe.

So why does the Golfdom Summit matter for golf? It matters for two major reasons that are critical to golf.

First, the Golfdom Summit means relationship building. Not that this is an exclusive point that separates golf from other industries since building relationships is really what matters for most industries, but The Golfdom Summit is one of the few opportunities that I’ve seen in golf that generates quality time among people. Trade shows are great, but I’d much rather spend intimate time getting to know someone in greater depth with less distraction around us. And that is what the Golfdom Summit provides, a chance to shake hands and learn about people and what they care about.

Second, and most importantly for golf, the Golfdom Summit means ‘Americana’. What do I mean by that? We, as a company, have to earn the right to be a golf course vendor. All Golfdom does is create that pursuit of “business” happiness. It creates the environment and structure, and it is incumbent on us to execute and do the work necessary to have superintendents as customers. This ultimately makes us better at FairwayiQ and I’m sure the other businesses who have attended the Golfdom Summit would agree. It forces us to really listen to what people want, leading to things like FairwayiQ’s integration with taskTracker (and soon POGO). It forces us to create a product worthy of a superintendents time, consideration, and ultimately usage on their property.

I heard several times at the Summit from superintendents that the maintenance side of golf got the “leftover” products that trickled down from agriculture. As someone who does not come from golf, but who has worked in a number of other B2B environments, I understood what these superintendents meant. The products and services on the maintenance-side of golf have lacked innovation and maturation; yet, more maturation would undoubtedly move golf down a more efficient and brighter path if that came to fruition.

In fact, that time has now come for superintendents due to things like the Golfdom Summit. Although it is a small ripple in the golf universe, the Golfdom Summit model is the correct one because it makes us better, which makes superintendents better, which makes golf better.

Chris Benevides is the growth development manager for FairwayiQ. You can contact him at chris@fairwayiq.com.

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