This morning I had the opportunity to interview Bob Parise, president and founder of ForeTees, an online tee time reservation system designed by golf professionals exclusively for private country clubs.
In use by 24 of the top 100 clubs in the nation (300+ clubs overall), the system has processed more than 8 million tee times since the March 2002 launch. Top Minnesota clubs using the system include Interlachen, Hazeltine National and Northland.
Parise was a member at Dellwood Hills and owned a technology consulting firm, RDP Consulting. In the spring of 2001, Dellwood assistant professional Travis Galleberg and head professional Jay Norman led the charge to bring an online system for tee times to their members. Finding nothing to their liking in the market, Parise stepped in and the initial ForeTees system was born.
Five additional clubs joined by the end of the first year and Galleberg left Dellwood to join the company. Current director of technology Paul Sindelar was also involved from the start and the company now employs nine people in their new office, located just down the road from North Oaks.
System features have expanded over time to meet the custom needs of each club. For example, tee time lotteries are popular with Florida clubs, so that feature was added in 2005. Other new features include event sign-up, handicap integration with GHIN and expanded reporting capabilities for club managers.
With sensitive member rosters and information, security and backup systems are vital. ForeTees hosts their servers in a Minneapolis data center and have multiple procedures in place for contingencies (such as when a club loses its internet connection).
Techies will be interested to know that Macs play a big part in the ForeTees operation, while Linux is used on the back-end servers. The development platform is Java-based, with MySQL databases used to store system data.
ForeTees is a true Minnesota golf success story. Parise said they’d like to improve the look and feel of the product in the future and are managing through the difficult economy. They also continue to partner and integrate with existing club systems and web sites.
Everyone I’ve talked to at a private club that has ForeTees loves it. After visiting the operation, it’s easy to see why. Kudos!
Originally published by DK on August 22, 2008 at 5:20 pm