So here we are, start of May 2013 and I've had a 360 degree turn of events in my life. I have a solid direction in my golf career, a consistent paycheck, and a happy family. This wouldn't be happening if not for Mike Zisman and the wonderful team at Golf Genius Software....
"So... Where you working this year Jim?"
I tell them
"Golf Genius Software. A web based golf scoring solution for leagues, trips, and events."
"What do you do there?"
"I'm Sales Manager Canada."
Their jaw drops as they wonder how a golf pro that has very little experience in sales can land a National Sales Manager position with an aspiring software company. In case you didn't notice, I know all about golf, golf tournaments, golfers, golf scoring, web based software, and I have a giant network of golf professionals and golf industry experts. My life has been all golf since I was about 6 years old.
They then ask
"You must travel lots."
"No. Its web based, my office is my laptop, and I can work from anywhere at anytime."
The next question is then "How did you get that position?" Well, as I said, it started with a truthful and honest email. I had finally found a solution to a problem and Golf Genius Software had the product. The rest is a matter of timing. I was searching for a new position and they were looking to come into Canada.
As President of the Golden Horseshoe Area Golf Tour, I was in search of a web based scoring solution that offered live scoring, record keeping of season long statistics, link backs and widgets of leaderboards to embed in our website, and quick scoring and results for each event. I don't think I was asking for to much.
I first came across GolfTripGenius.com in February of 2012, and felt it was a unique product but not quite what was needed for my tour. But I signed up for the site on a whim of one day going on a golf trip and using this cool software. Then, in November I received a message from newly incorporated Golf Genius Software. They were releasing a new product GolfLeagueGenius.com. I checked it out. I was blown away. This was my saviour. What they didn't know was I just went through an aggravating season where my tour held me to over 40 hours of scoring and posting results. By the way, we only have 8 events. Yes that's right, it would take over 5 hours to get results out to my players. I would generally have them available 48 hours after the event was completed. My life was so busy I would work on it about an hour at a time.
Sidebar: Our first GHT Event of the 2013 season took me about 35 minutes to score and post the results to our website. www.goldenhorseshoetour.ca. That's Genius.
So, I sent a message to the President of the company Mike Zisman. I had no idea that my message was being received by a giant in the software industry. My message basically outlined how his well thought out product will save me enormous amounts of time and that I thought with a couple changes it could be used by many facilities and associations here in Canada. He sent back a polite thank you and "would you care to have a phone chat?"
Michael Zisman is a wonderful man and a great leader. I've worked for and played golf with some of the greatest leaders in the golf industry. But to have an opportunity to work for a man that has a heart of gold and a business mind that is among the world's elite is priceless. When the contract was presented to me, I felt this was a once in a lifetime offer and I would do anything to make sure I help this company succeed.
What you have to understand is that when I went to Philadelphia, I had only researched the company and what their products were about. I never researched Mike Zisman. I don't know the history of computer software and the people behind it. Mr. Zisman told me "I don't know much about the history of golf, I know lots about business and technology, I just love to play golf." This was after I mentioned Nick Faldo in a conversation and he asked "Who's that?" But little did I know I was sitting beside someone who had a career in the software business similar to Nick Faldo in the golf world.
My life is golf. His life is software and business. Yet he holds membership at Merion Golf Club, one of the finest golf clubs in the world. We have products that are web based solutions for golfers. I feel blessed and fortunate to be one of the PGA professionals looked upon to help get our product in the hands of frustrated league managers and tournament coordinators. I'm not saying I was the greatest thing to happen for the company. I'm saying that every person in the company was brought in for a reason. We all have specialized skills that assist in making the company grow and continue to make our products better. We were strategical hires by a genius business mind.
On my trip to Philly, I met Eric Whitten VP of Technology, Jon Sirois Support Manager, and Alyssa Rosend Marketing Manager. My first impression was how young, smart, and forward thinking they were. Next to Mike Zisman I was the oldest in the room. At 33 that rarely happens. But in this case, I saw the first line of defense behind Golf Genius Software and was extremely impressed. This was not a company desperate for business, but rather hungry to be the market leader. Mr. Zisman laid the foundations of my contract in front of me and I told him "My wife will need to see these terms." My decision was made before my flight home had landed.
I started with Golf Genius Software on February 1, 2013. My first sales call came a week later with my home club. I met with the Men's League manager and though I knew very little on how the system worked, I was confident he would see a solution to present problems in the league. Within 5 minutes I knew I was getting a big fat NO. Words were exchanged that didn't sit well with me. Saying the product was so new that whats to say it will be around in 6 months from now (he obviously doesn't know who's leading the company). He was also afraid of losing data from previous years. He had other personal words that were said to me that I won't publish as they were directed towards my career. However, I'm one that never backs down from critics. I listen and apply. Bottom line is, it was not a great first sales meeting for the company.
I'm not going to breakdown every sales call. Since that first meeting I have Hamilton/Halton Junior Golf Tour, Golden Horseshoe Area Golf Tour, Lowville Golf Club, Richmond Hill Golf Club, Heron Point Golf Links, BGAT, Ottawa PGA, and the biggest so far the PGA of Ontario all using the software for 2013. There will be more to come.
GolfLeagueGenius.com offers many solutions to golf leagues, tournaments, and associations. It can enhance current formats and add to player experiences. The software can create new and exciting games to your existing lineup of weekly events. Offer leagues a personal website and a free app for live scoring and more. All of us in the company are experts in building leagues and giving players exciting results so they return year after year. Our company staff is built with PGA professionals, world class software developers, and marketing wizards. We all share a common interest. Golf and growing the game.
10 years ago I was not a forward thinker or someone that thought much outside the box. I was groomed to believe there were only certain ways to be in the golf industry. I wanted to play golf. I chose playing golf over a bunch of opportunities presented to me. I knew playing golf would take me somewhere. I felt it would give me experience and see things from a different perspective. I gained great friendships and contacts along the way. I saw the right way and wrong way to do things. I made bad decisions and great decisions. But everything I did lead me to where I am now. I can't thank Mike Zisman enough and I am honoured to have the opportunity to learn from him and help make Golf Genius Software become something the golf world will be proud of.