Who’s Winning the The Tee Sheet Wars? – MN/WI 2019 Update

It’s time for the annual update to our analysis of the “Tee Sheet Wars”.

Why you should read this

It’s hard to run a consumer business these days without a strong presence on the Internet, and for most daily fee golf course operators that includes offering customers an opportunity to book a tee time online.  Yes, there are holdouts (more than you’d think) even though we are now two decades into the age of the Internet.

Savvy operators stay abreast of the evolution of the tee sheet software market and periodically re-assess whether to stay with their current system or to make a change.  Here’s your opportunity to invest 5 minutes and get the benefit of many hours of research.


The scope of the research –  what’s included

# of courses studied

This post focuses on the 471 public 18+ hole regulation length golf courses in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  We are currently working on a US-wide version of the study that will cover every public 18+ hole regulation length golf course in the US… all 7,300 of them… that info will be released in September along with a more comprehensive analysis of what the results mean.

What we measured

We visited the website of every golf course in the study, searched for the “Book Tee Times” button, pushed it and recorded which software system the course currently uses to provide golfers with Internet booking capability.  We then compared the relative market share of the leading vendors to the results from our 2018 study.


The scope of the research – what isn’t included

Functions/Features Analysis and Pricing Comparisons

This is NOT a discussion of specific functions and features or price tags of these various solutions… those are evolving frequently and if you want some help sorting that out we can point you to some skilled consultants in the area. 

Market Trend Opinions

I have some theories on how this market is evolving, but I’m going to hold my tongue until we have completed our analysis of the entire US market… MN/WI is not a large enough portion of the market to draw any serious conclusions about trends.  Stay tuned for the update to this post that will most likely appear in September and that will include the Gadfly’s analysis of the position of each major software vendor in the market and some predictions regarding how this market will continue to evolve.


Some words of wisdom from our readers

Feedback from our past posts on this topic have yielded some thoughtful responses… we’ll mention two in particular.

A senior executive from one of the software companies pointed out that what his company offers is a comprehensive golf course management system that covers much more than tee time bookings… it includes point of sale capability for both the golf course and the retail operations within the facility, inventory management for the golf shop, customer database/CRM capability, etc.  This is a valid and important point.  Our “Tee Sheet Wars” label doesn’t mean to imply that the only feature that is important is the tee time booking capability… but it’s something that can be used to capture market share data and that’s the primary focus of our study.

An executive from another major software vendors pointed out that the value that a golf course operator derives from tee sheet/golf course management software is only partially a function of the software features.  A perhaps even more important factor is the way that the software is used… some courses squeeze maximum value out of the capabilities of their software while others barely scratch the surface of the capabilities.  As a long-time systems integrator, I couldn’t agree more with this point.  A skilled user can get superior results from an inferior software product… although the best combination of all is rich featured in the hands of a skilled user.

We’re hoping for some similar thoughtful feedback this year.


The market share facts

Without further ado, let’s get on to the raw facts.  Here are the number of MN/WI public golf facilities with at least one 18+ hole regulation course that are using the online tee time booking products of the leading vendors:

Vendor                       2019 #/%                  2018 %          Share +/-

GolfNow                     129 (27.5%)              29.7%            -2.2% (8% decrease)

NONE                          118 (24.7%)              26.9%           -2.2% (8% decrease)

Club Prophet              48 (10.2%)                 9.1%               +1.1% (11% increase)

EZLinks                       46 (9.8%)                 10.2%             +0.4% (4% increase)

ForeUP                        46 (9.8%)                  10.4%             -0.6% (6% decrease)

Teesnap                      32 (7.0%)                   6.8%               +1.7% (25% increase)

ChronoGolf                 19 (4.1%)                   1.3%               +2.8% (68% increase)

Vermont                       7 (1.5%)                   1.5%               No change

Quick18                        6 (1.3%)                   1.1%               +0.2% (14% increase)

Tee-on                         5 (1.1%)                    1.3%               -0.2% (22% decrease)

Misc/Other                 15 (3.2%)                   3.4%             -0.2% (6% decrease)  -1.4%


So… GolfNow is still the leader in the market share sweepstakes… but the lead continues to shrink and yet another serious contender (ChronoGolf) is gaining strength.  How will the next few stages of this horse race unfold?  That, my friends, leads us firmly into the realm of opinions and prognostications… which I will happily provide in September with more facts in hand.

If you’d like to see the raw data that supports the table above… here it is.

Even better, if you’d like to offer some comments on this topic… please do so below.

And while you’re thinking about this topsy turvy market, here’s a little entertainment.


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