Editor’s Note: Golf Inc. has named five individuals as 2023 golf business Visionaries of the Year. Each has helped the industry move forward through their visions and examples. In addition to Don Rea, as featured in the Jan/Feb Golf Inc. issue, we feature here Mike Zisman, founder and CEO of Golf Genius. Check back to read more about our other featured Visionaries.
Since you founded Golf Genius in 2009, what are some of the highlights of the company’s growth in the past 14 years? Anything you’re most proud of accomplishing?
What really transformed the company is when we entered partnership with the United States Golf Association (USGA). In 2017, they adopted our product and distributed to 10,000 clubs in the U.S. It’s really changed the vector of the company, and the partnership has gone extremely well.
I’m proud of the incredible levels of customer satisfaction and renewals. My focus is always on customer satisfaction.
When the pandemic hit in march of 2020, we issued a 15% credit for our customers within a week. We thought everyone else would do it too. We received an enormous amount of goodwill by doing that.
How have you led Golf Genius to where it is today, to become a leading software company for the golf industry?
The secret sauce really isn’t so secret. We are one of the largest employers of PGA professionals. We have 70 PGA professionals in the company, or they were head golf professionals in prior lives. This gives us prior insight into the problems they’ve experienced.
There are a little over 200 people right now in the company. One hundred of those people are part of the development/investment in products. We really go out of our way to treat our employees well. This includes good compensation and benefits.
What is your outlook on the industry embracing all these new technologies? What technological developments do you see as being essential long-term for operation? What is vital and what is not?
Golf has always been a technology-based business, the design of golf balls, clubs and equipment. It’s all classic technology, and that technology is changing dramatically.
We have customers today that don’t print scorecards; they use their live scoring app. The whole area of coaching is also becoming more technology based. What revolutionized teaching was video. We take it for granted today, but something as simple as video is powerful, and there continues to be more and more innovation.
There is also better automation in a back office (tee…