This month’s “Quick 9″ is with CollegeGolfPass’ CEO and co-founder Kris Hart. Listen in as Kris shares more about this unique golf program.
1. Kris, tell me a bit about your background and how you started CollegeGolfPass?
My background in the golf world started out as a caddy at 12 years old (Oyster Harbors and Longmeadow Country Club). I was lucky enough to get introduced to the game through my brother who also caddied. I quickly fell in love with golf as a teenager even though my parents were not golfers. My golf life progressed as a competitive high school golfer and ended up playing varsity golf at Bryant University.
Bryant was where the idea for CGP started since I did not play on the varsity team my senior year deciding to focus on academics. Since I did not play on the team, I did not play much golf since it was too expensive on a college budget. I knew there were hundreds of other students on campus like me who liked the game, but were held back by the traditional barriers like cost.
3 years after college, I revisited the idea, did some research, and started executing. The business was started with a passion to grow the game and stop people from saying “man, I wish I started playing golf when I was younger”. Golf has meant a lot to me and my life and think every college students should be able to experience the game and all it has to offer.
2. Can you give us a quick overview of what CollegeGolfPass is all about?
CGP makes golf a reality for any college student by making the game more affordable, accessible and fun. We do this by making it very easy to learn golf, play more golf, and even compete. Any student can use our service for free to track their scores and find local courses to play, but students who join CGP as a member receive many other significant benefits which help them as a student golfer.
3. What’s included when you join the CollegeGolfPass Community?
The CGP Membership provides:
- Unlimited savings on greens fees of up to $85 per round
- A USGA GHIN Handicap
- Discounts on golf equipment
- Reduced fees for CGP tournaments
4. Is CollegeGolfPass just for college golfers?
Yes – You need to be an active college student to join CGP (graduate, law, and medical students can join CGP)
5. What is a “Mobile Membership” badge?
Instead of having a physical membership card you keep in your wallet, a mobile membership badge allows students to show their membership on their phone. Students simply show their college id and mobile membership badge on their phone to get the college-rate at any local CGP partner golf course. Anyone can instantly join the program on their phone too.
6. What has been the feedback so far on your business?
Our business has been built and will continue to be built for our members. We constantly survey, poll, interview, and ask our members what they want. The mobile membership, new golf course additions, score tracking, equipment discounts and other benefits of CGP have all been brought to us by our members. Our goal is to create a winning scenario for all parties involved in our business including golf courses, students, and the industry as a whole.
Students love our business since they can learn the game and play more affordably. Courses enjoy partnering with us since they get free marketing and ancillary revenue from new consumers. The industry a whole is very interested in CGP since we are growing the game and putting an end to the 18 year old lapsed golfer.
During the PGA Show in January our team met with many seniors leaders in the golf industry who were very interested in our business. American Express did a study on golf spending in the US between 2007-2011 . Golf spending for Gen Y increased 27% where as golf spending in every other demographic was down 19-21%.
7. Is the National Collegiate Club Golf Association also part of CollegeGolfPass and what exactly is it?
Yes, NCCGA and CGP are the same legal entity, but operate different brands. NCCGA is specifically for non-varsity competitive golfers that are part of collegiate club golf teams. NCCGA provides a tournament framework which includes two regional tournaments and a national championship each semester.
The NCCGA currently supports over 100 club golf teams at different universities across the country and plans to support over 200 teams by the fall 2013 season. We are lucky to have a tremendous student leadership team as part of the NCCGA and student regional coordinators helping run these events around the country.
8. What new developments in your business are you most excited about?
We are excited about the growth of both CGP & NCCGA. We are most excited to grow the CGP course network and be able to deliver a product to thousands of new student golfers around the country.
Students around the country suggest where they want college rates, and we go out and build the business for them. Watching the NCCGA grow to supporting over 200 collegiate club golf teams will be exciting too. Our roots are as a golf company, but technology is a big part of our business and we have some new technology developments in the works.
9. How can people contact, get involved and learn more about CGP?