If you play golf, it is more than likely you’ve benefited from something iGolf has contributed to the sport’s technology.
The San Diego-based company maintains the largest and most accurate database of golf course maps and for the last 20 years has quietly become a brand specifically focused on providing the golf technology sector with advancements in software, hardware and GPS content.
“We are definitely a company that has our fingers in an awful lot of areas, but we are quiet about them,” said Brian Verdugo, iGolf founder and CEO.
The company’s behind-the-scenes nature is due to its role in the industry – licensing its intellectual property to more than 60 of golf’s biggest brands, including Fortune 500 companies.
iGolf’s IP has found its way into a variety of products including golf carts, watches, lasers, handhelds, mobile apps, electric push carts (trolleys), launch monitors, speakers and gaming environments.
Because of its growing presence in so many areas of golf technology, iGolf has come out from behind the curtain to make its contributions more known.
“The vertical market we initially went after was very easy for us to understand what it was, and the companies knew who we were,” Verdugo said. “Now that our portfolio is much more horizontal, with IP in more areas, we have to tell the story a little bit better.”
To tell that story better, iGolf recently made some big announcements in tandem with over a dozen of its long-time and brand-new clients during the 2023 PGA Show in Orlando, Florida, held Jan. 24-27.
iGolf announced it is currently working with distance measuring companies Blue Tees, RAD Golf and TecTecTec. The company also announced partnerships with companies in the golf carts and trolley space, such as Yamaha, MGI, Motocaddy, Powakaddy and Evolution Golf. iGolf is also focusing on the emerging virtual golf gaming segment with brands like PhiGolf and Rapsodo.
The company also re-signed stalwart industry clients TaylorMade and the USGA, both of which use iGolf’s GPS and mapping technology.
The new and renewed partnerships are the result of iGolf’s recent investment in adding new IP to its licensing portfolio, including radar-based launch monitor technology, laser range finder sensors, trolley and golf cart intelligence, 3D elevation terrain on 23,000-plus courses and virtual reality environments for the gaming sector.
Focusing efforts on helping develop technology like radar-based launch monitors is important in developing virtual golf gaming – an important growth area for golf as a whole because of its ability to attract everyone one from pro level golfers to novices just looking to be entertained at places like TopGolf, Verdugo said.
“There’s a huge market out there that we think our customer base can go after and provide a different technology or different platform for bringing in more people,” he said. “It’s an add on to our licensees, saying, ‘If you want to enter this industry, you don’t have to spend five years building incredibly complex technology, we can aid in that process. You still need to build around your brand and what you want to accomplish, who your market segment is, but we can help you get there much faster than you attempting to take that kind of risk and investment to get into the industry.’”
Another important growth area iGolf is invested in is map-based intelligence for golf carts and trolleys. Verdugo said golf course owners and operators in the U.S. need technology that can control fleets of golf carts and keep them from operating in “sensitive areas” on the course, as well as alert pro shops when a cart is driving where it’s not supposed to. “That’s some of the intelligence level that we’ve put in,” he said.
An even faster growing segment in golf is the trolley market, which Verdugo said “exploded over COVID” when golfers could no longer ride together in golf carts. Like golf carts, trolleys use iGolf’s mapping technology to control where they go and navigate areas of the course with steeper elevations. iGolf provides its IP to the top three trolley makers worldwide, Verdugo said.
“Imagine building golf courses and seeing what they’ll look like in real time or pre-processed autonomous maps for follow me vehicles. The day will come when even golf carts will be fully autonomous. And we’ll be there to power them,” he added.
CEO: Brian Verdugo
Headquarters: San Diego
Business: Developer of IP technology for the golf industry
Notable: iGolf has spent the past two decades providing the golf technology sector with major advancements in software, hardware and GPS content.