Why Golf Outings Need Mobile Scorecards and What to Look For

By:
Keith Moehring
July 5, 2022
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If you’re like many golf purists, or my father, smartphones have no place on the golf course. When you step onto the tee box, the phone goes in your bag, and then eight hours later you’re tearing apart the house and car trying to find it. 

The thing is, these golf purists are in the minority now. Today, we have to regularly check email, keep track of shots and yardage on GolfShots, or post the staged caterpillar crawling across a ball video to Facebook. 

PlayThru Golf Outing Scoring App

If you’re hesitant to introduce mobile scoring apps to your golf outing, it’s time to reconsider. Today’s platforms can simultaneously simplify your life as the outing organizer while adding a level of excitement for your players. 

But My Golfers Are Too Old

One common argument against using mobile scorecard apps for a golf outing is that not everyone has a smartphone, and/or older players won’t be able to figure it out. That may have been true a few years ago, but the times, they are a changin. 

According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans now own a smartphone, with a sharp increase coming from those over the age of 50. Here are some specifics by demographic: 

Gender:

  • Men: 85%
  • Women: 85%

Age:

  • 18-29: 96%
  • 30-49: 95%
  • 50-64: 83%
  • 65+: 61% (just pair them with someone in their 20s)

Income:

  • $30K to $49K: 83%
  • $50K to $74K: 85%
  • $75K+: 96%

But Why Do I Need a Mobile Scoring App?

You don’t. Golf outings have proven that you don’t need technology. Many successful events get away with printed scorecards and large paper leaderboards. But there are opportunities to do a few things better.

  1. Competition is exciting. Imagine knowing with 5 holes to play that you’re only down 2 strokes. Would it change your shot selection, or how you use your mulligans? In PlayThru’s first trial run, we had 22 groups use the mobile scoring app. After the event, I looked at the analytics, and there were more than 1,000 web page views, with the top page being the leaderboard. Competition is exciting for everyone. 
  2. Tallying scores takes time. Collecting scorecards, adding up scores, and double checking your math takes time. With skins and flights, your job takes that much more time with additional layers of complexity. My family has run an outing for many years, and on average it takes 5 people more than 35 minutes to manually come up with flight and skin winners.
  3. Mistakes Happen: Manually adding scores for dozens of groups is hard, but introduce the pressure of anxious groups breathing down your neck while adding and you're sure to make at least one mistake. Hell I added my own score wrong after 9 holes in a tournament of only 8 people. Technology doesn't make mistakes.
  4. Sponsors get more visibility. Some mobile scoring apps will let you add sponsor names to each hole, providing greater visibility to the biggest revenue generator of most outings. Other apps will also allow you to customize each hole’s background image to showcase any sponsor logos and website addresses. These are nice value-adds to thank your sponsors, or opportunities to upcharge a bit. 

Not Just Any App Will Do

Before signing up for any old golf outing mobile scoring app, make sure it’s going to give you and your golfers the best experience. 

Easily accessible.

Downloading an app is fairly straightforward, but trying to explain to a group of half-interested individuals how to find the app, download it, and then find your outing in that app .

Alternatively, you could send everyone a link they’ll click in an email or text. From there they simply select their name and start entering scores. Web apps, which use a smartphone’s browser, can be much simpler for groups to get started with. Ideally, you’d email or text the link to everyone’s phone the day of the outing, and include a shortened link on a cart flyer. 

Simple enough for a 2 year old.

Despite everyone using their phones all the time, the minute someone (no matter how old) gets overwhelmed or confused by the information or controls, you’ve lost them. A golf outing scorecard app should limit the words and controls on a screen to the bare minimum. No one needs to see every outing detail at one time. 

With PlayThru, my 2-year old daughter was one of the first to test the scorecard functionality for this exact reason. Her face lit up when shot got it after only 5 seconds, “I can did it Daddy!” In the spirit of full transparency, she can work the phone better than I can. 

Reasonably Priced.

Many golf outings are held to support a charity or good cause. If you’re spending a lot of money on a mobile scorecard app, you’re taking away from the purpose of the outing. Price matters when you’re donating your time, energy and all proceeds collected. There are quality apps available at reduced prices or free.

The Time Is Right

Your golfers are ready for the fun and excitement of live scoring. Create a free mobile scorecard for your next event here.

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