Canadians golfers are playing golf and adapting to new technology such as the Golf Canada App like never before.
In a year where record numbers of recreational rounds were registered with Golf Canada through June (1.2 million), July (1.6M), August (1.5M), September (1.5M) and October (618,500) embracing technology and new apps has become a way of life for most Canadians who have spent much of 2020 learning to deal with COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing measures.
“It has been here for years, creeping into our lives, but the rapid spread of technology accelerated by the pandemic has led to a digital transformation like no other – even for golfers, who now book the vast majority of their tee times on-line, post their scores digitally and use a virtual scorecard,” says Vanessa Morbi, Senior Director of Marketing at Golf Canada.
We carry less cash – it is all about contactless digital payments. We go to school less – it is all about virtual distance learning. We do not go to work as much or see people face-to-face – it is all about remote working and Zoom meetings. So much for seeing your doctor in their office – we are now using Telehealth. Friday night at the movies or concerts have become almost nostalgic – it is now all about on-line entertainment and the increase of endless streaming services. We shop on-line like never before. We are ordering take-out like never before and we connect with loved ones using the internet much more than we ever would have imagined. The COVID-19 digital transformation is now part of the fabric of our lives and there is mostly likely an app for that or it is in the works.
“Many businesses across this land have been extremely busy creating and expanding digital platforms to maintain or grow their business, while connecting with old and new consumers in creative ways,” added Morbi. “The launch of Golf Canada’s bilingual app on August 1, 2020 was a perfect parallel with the smartphone app boom. It has hit a real sweet spot with Canadian golfers.”
Golf Canada experienced a tremendous 175% increase in net-new downloads of its app between August 1 and October 1. Monthly active users soared 77% over last year and monthly app sessions are up 67%. Score posting for handicap purposes has been hugely popular with users of the new app. Score posting for September 2020 was up 28% versus September 2019.
“In my books Golf Canada really hit a home run with this app and I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for 2021,” says Frank Novello, a member at Dundas Valley G&CC in Ontario. “I love the new interface. It is so simple to use. I really like the new options and user experience. Everything is at your fingertips. It’s awesome actually.”
Golfers can enter their scores on the app as they play hole-by-hole or at the end of a game. Shot-by-shot GPS is also hugely popular. Golfers can track a variety of stats including driving accuracy, greens in regulation, putting strokes, sand shots and up & downs. You can also add friends and track those scores following their rounds.
“All my buddies at Dundas Valley use it. We have a little Saturday morning match for a beer and we use the app to keep track of how everyone did. It is a ton of fun,” Novello adds, noting that due to COVID-19, the club, like many others, eliminated traditional scorecards and pencils as a safety precaution.
In September, Novello went on a buddies’ golf trip. The two foursomes played Lora Bay, Batteaux Creek, Monterra and Cobble Beach in the Collingwood area.
“Once you start using the app it simplifies the game,” he added. “It was easy to determine our handicaps for each of the courses based on slope and course rating of each course and using the GPS feature on a course you’re not familiar with proved to be a real shot saver.”
As the 2020 golf season winds down, Golf Canada is delighted with the success of the app to date. During a time when Canadians have been separated and distanced from each other as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the app allowed golfers to better connect with the game they love and those they play it with.
The app is available for download for both iOS and Android mobile devices from the App Store and Google Play at no cost. Some benefits and features require a Golf Canada membership to use.
“COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of digital readiness, which allows business and life to continue as usual – as much as possible – during pandemics,” Morbi says. “The Golf Canada App was our leap forward during a challenging year. We are preparing to include exciting new features including Shot Tracer and gaming for 2021 to build on the momentum and create a more connected golf community among our 1,400 member clubs and those who play the game.”
To download the new Golf Canada App – a free tool for Canadian golfers to enhance their course experience and go digital with their game – click here.