iWanamaker: Keeping it Real-Time

If you disapprove of cellphones on golf courses or enjoy the post-tournament suspense as scorecards are calculated and results calligraphed, then iWanamaker probably isn’t for you. But if you want to know if a birdie could win a member-guest, or if you just like seeing where you stand during any event—be it an eight-man best ball, 144-person charity scramble, or a virtual skins game across different time zones—then read on.

The brainchild of Colorado Springs IT specialist Doyle Heisler, iWanamaker delivers real-time scoring directly to a players’ smartphone. You simply key in scores the same way you’d pencil in numbers on a card. It’s easy, it’s fun and so intuitive players aged 13 to 80 can do it.

Heisler hatched the idea while staging tournaments for family and friends as part of a “Heisler Golf Association” he started in 2001. He’d hold competitions around each major (the Wanamaker is the PGA Championship trophy) and would enter scores into programs and spreadsheets. “I’m always looking to automate and make life easier,” he explains. Heisler first had players report real-time scores via walkie-talkies, then via pagers, then via texts on cellphones. By 2011, he’d developed a real-time, browser-based, smartphone-friendly event-scoring system that accounted for handicaps and course ratings and would work across all platforms. He rolled it out at a tournament at Boulder Country Club and then got Oregon’s Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club to deploy it at its 120-player member-guest, where it was an out-and-out hit.

Success stories from The Broadmoor, Pebble Beach and dozens of other courses have followed. Not only is iWanamaker a real-time way for event planners to engage entire fields for leagues, events and charity tournaments; it also presents multiple revenue streams for the courses. After paying for an annual iWanamaker subscription, these courses can sell advertising on leaderboards or license the program to organizations whose events they host. At a recent charity event, sponsors paid $5,000 for leaderboard advertising space. iWanamaker also encourages badinage on its “wall,” and will soon be adding the ability to post video and photos. Advertising opportunities exist in those areas as well.

“I’m as old-school as it gets, so I was skeptical,” says Colorado Golf Association Executive Director Ed Mate, who tried a “paperless experiment” by using iWanamaker this May at a Colorado Junior Golf fundraising tournament. “But overall, I’m very pleased. It couldn’t have been easier. And it was great fun.” iWanamaker.com

Colorado AvidGolfer is the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.comJon Rizzi is the founding editor and co-owner of this regional golf-related media company producing magazines, web content, tournaments, events and the Golf Passport.