NC trend: Golf’s revived popularity boosts SportTrak

 In October 2021

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如果把一场全球流行病称为你的企业的“转折点”听起来有点自相矛盾, well, sometimes you have to take breaks when you get them. 尤其是在你花了几十年时间在一个利基市场上努力开拓空间之后.

对于总部位于温斯顿-塞勒姆的SportTrak来说,这个领域就是高尔夫技术. Originally known as AccuSport International, 该公司花了超过20年的时间生产靶测距系统和后来的矢量发射监视器生产线, 它跟踪了高尔夫球从球座击中的飞行和距离. “我喜欢告诉人们,在Topgolf出现之前,accuse就是Topgolf,” says SportTrak President Don Thorup, 这家总部位于达拉斯的公司经营着50多家高尔夫练习场, simulators and lots of partying.

SportTrak technology helps golfers analyze their swing.

While AccuShot delivered in many ways, it was expensive. 只有主要的高尔夫产品公司和顶级的教学专业人员为定制产品支付数万美元.

In 2014, AccuSport shifted gears. 与高尔夫技术公司SkyGolf合作,更名为SportTrak, its inaugural device, the SkyTrak Launch Monitor, was a less expensive option than its predecessors. The device sits on the floor and connects through wifi to phones and computers; golfers can work on their swing in small spaces and get instant shot analysis and ball-flight data for about $2,000. 该公司开始获得行业认可和热情的用户反馈, including a 2017 award from Golf Digest magazine.

“我们想要一种产品,消费者可以负担得起,但在数据方面经得起专业使用,” Thorup says.

当COVID-19大流行导致关闭和隔离时, 高尔夫球成为少数可行的娱乐和社交选择之一. 渴望有活动让家人开心, 人们发现,建立一个在家高尔夫体验不像过去那么复杂或昂贵.

“我认为(大流行)某种程度上提高了人们的意识,”Thorup说. “无论是Peloton还是园艺或家庭装修,效果都是一样的, people became more aware of what was possible. 其中一个可能性就是在家里打真正的高尔夫球.”

Golf technology is advancing rapidly

2021年上半年,运动和健身设备的零售额增长了23%,SportTrak因此受益, compared with the same prepandemic period in 2019, according to researcher NPD Group.

A surreal time became golf’s “year of resurgence,” according to the National Golf Foundation, which reported 24.8 million golfers in the U.S. in 2020. 这比前一年增长了2%,是17年来最大的净收益.

SportTrak的势头与高尔夫球的流行势头相吻合. Thorup说,SportTrak 2020年的销售额比2019年增长了35%至40%. “And we’re on pace to do that again,” he says. “2021 is running between 55% and 60% over 2020. 有趣的是,即使事情已经开放,我们的业务还在继续增长.SportTrak与几家值得信赖的高尔夫模拟公司合作. 顾客可以在舒适的家中享受在圆石滩或派恩赫斯特等著名高尔夫球场的乐趣.

“We have a very flexible footprint,” Thorup says. “如果玩家想要在自己的车库中安装这款游戏,并拥有网络、垫子、iPad或手机, that’s fine. 但是如果他们想在家里腾出空间来放一个围栏或投影仪的话, some other amenities, a putting green, they can dress it up as far as they want to go.”

SportTrak最近要求客户提交他们SkyTrak家庭设备的照片. “纽约的一个家伙在他公寓的门框上放了一条毯子,” says Andy Allen, SportTrak’s managing director of golf. “其他人在科罗拉多,在他们的甲板上,拿着太空加热器. 还有这些装饰得很漂亮的额外房间. 只要你有足够的空间来安全挥杆,你就有足够的空间.”

事实证明,SkyTrak在乡村俱乐部和高尔夫球场也很受欢迎, along with high school and collegiate golf programs. International sales have also increased.

Two years ago, 温斯顿-塞勒姆的Maple Chase高尔夫乡村俱乐部增加了一个配备了SkyTrak技术的模拟室. 长期从事教学工作的Brad Luebchow说,他的两个最优秀的学生——北卡罗莱纳州威尔明顿大学的Mallory forbes和温斯顿塞勒姆里根高中的Macy Pate——从SkyTrak项目中获益良多.

“下雪、寒冷或下雨的时候,我们可以去那里工作,”他说. “It’s always 72 (degrees) in that room. 梅西(佩特)说,SkyTrak是她楔子玩得如此厉害的原因. Because she can trust the numbers.”

Luebchow和他的员工合并SkyTrak,在课程中提供可操作的数据, as well as for club fitting and member entertainment. Dozens of clubs across North Carolina, 包括阿什维尔乡村俱乐部和威尔明顿的鹰点高尔夫俱乐部, offer the technology for members.

该公司由密西西比州里奇兰市的一家平等合伙企业所有.-based SkyHawke Technologies and SportTrak. SkyHawke owns SkyGolf, 是哪些公司生产了各种帮助高尔夫球手确定距离并做出更好决定的产品.

Thorup自2005年以来一直参与该业务,此前曾在温斯顿-塞勒姆担任战略规划顾问,并担任过各种财务工作. 他指出,自SkyTrak调整价格以吸引更广泛的兴趣以来,该公司的现金流一直为正.

Because of its recent success, he adds, 这家拥有40名员工的企业吸引了大型体育科技公司的兴趣. ■

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