We were originally set to launch around the beginning of February. This was a decision based on some strategy with one of our partner golf courses (they were finished with reseeding, and trying to target a weekend for a good tournament launch, we were going to cater and invite a bunch of friends and fans, etc.), along with the fact that we’d need some time to take care of testing and some design tweaks. As a veteran of app launches, it’s all about the details, and it almost feels like there’s more effort involved in testing and fixing or enhancing functions than there is building the thing, because the absolute last thing you want is to get your baby that you’ve spent all this time working on into the hands of a user only to have some vital function crash. It’s about the same feeling as when you accidentally let out an obnoxious fart in a crowded elevator, and everybody knows it was you.
That said, the day after the Super Bowl, one of our co-founders and CEO passed suddenly of heart failure at the age of 36, which was not just a shock to our business, but also a personal blow. We employ a team of consultants and contractors, but our core is a small partnership of only a few guys. We’re all friends as well as teammates, and creating this business has been a hectic yet fun ride of development, pitching to groups, and post-event meals spent joking and talking crap to each other. To have a man who’s been there since the beginning suddenly taken away was a huge blow, compounded by the fact that he appeared to be in good health and great shape. But, even though we had to take time to grieve, and then to figure out how to deal with his share of the business, when life throws you a curve ball, you don’t give up, you move on.
That said, it’s been an interesting couple months. Here’s a short list of some things we’ve done over the last couple months:
- We’ve brought in a new CEO, who is still coming up to speed, but we’re hopeful that he’s going to do some great things. He’s already had some good ideas for future enhancements we really like.
- Major improvements to the underlying app logic to improve the in-game experience. Formerly, each video had to be accessed remotely via streaming, similar to YouTube or any other video site. Now, when you purchase access to a course, we download the videos temporarily to your device until you’re done with the game, meaning there’s absolutely zero chance that you’ll ever sit through lag or delay related to our app while you’re playing a round, no matter what your cell reception is like on a course.
- Negotiated a deal with Dobson Ranch course to offer a free play option for a trial of our app. They believe in this idea and are thus willing to forgo several weeks of potential payments for each user, just to get you hooked into using this for your game.
- Started negotiations with approximately 24 other courses in the Phoenix area.
“Gee,” you’re probably thinking, “that’s great and all, but when is this thing you’ve been hyping us all up for going to come out?!”
Short answer: within the next 6-8 weeks.
Longer answer: in addition to the loss I mentioned above, we’ve had one contractor get offered her dream job at a major firm (rhymes with “Macehook,”) and withdraw from the project, another get sick and have to withdraw from his work, another have a major event with his machine that he couldn’t get fixed for over a week thanks to the Corona Virus closing all repair shops in his area. I should add all of this was in addition to a major amount of work to prevent hackers from breaking into our cloud hosting, multiple review sessions with Apple to fix areas they were worried could be a security concern (Apple is perhaps overly thorough, but we appreciate their attention to detail). Then, of course, there’s this whole larger shutdown of much of the world due to COVID-19. You ever play social distancing golf? That’s been a new one for us, going out in a group one person to a golf cart, all keeping our distance. Obviously, this virtually assures there will be no opening tournament anytime soon.
So yes, we’re in progress, and still have our eyes on the prize, even if it’s just a soft launch with not much fanfare beyond online. In the coming days, I’ll be posting about new happenings, upcoming features, and occasionally just some fun golf-related links/jokes/articles. Until then, we hope everyone stays safe out there, and that you’re all able to get out there and hit the ball a bit, no matter what your skill level is!