With his new mobile app, Rancho Santa Fe resident Pascal Stolz is hoping to get more people hitting the greens more often, playing as many holes as they can on their own time. As time is at a premium for many Americans, Stolz said one of the biggest obstacles golfers face is finding the hours to play nine to 18 — with eGull Pay, he believes he has found a solution.
“Golf is the only sport that one can’t play for one hour and not everyone has time to spend four-and-a-half to five hours on a golf course,” Stolz said. “eGull Pay allows golf courses an opportunity to invite golfers to play a few holes.”
eGull Pay officially launched in November 2017 with the Southern California Golf Association and followed up this January with the 2018 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, the biggest golf show in the world.
The way the app works is kind of like Uber, Stolz explains.
“With Uber, there’s a place you want to go. With eGull, you have a time slot that you want to play golf so you locate a course and search for availability,” Stolz said.
While on Uber you make a request to find a driver, on the golf app you’re booking the time to play on the course nearest to you. In the same way that Uber tracks your route, eGull tracks the holes played. If you play five holes, you are charged five holes.
The app tracks and bills the golfer only for the holes played. There’s no need for golfers to return to pro-shop to pay and no marshal is required as everything is tracked by GPS—golfers can’t cheat.
A native of France, Stolz moved to Rancho Santa Fe in September 2017. He previously spent 15 years in the golf business— from 1987 to 1999 working for TaylorMade Golf and helping launch the Burner Bubble Driver Shaft in 1995. A Del Mar resident at the time, he went from TaylorMade to Cobra Golf, where he served as the worldwide vice president of marketing.
In 1999, Stolz moved to Seattle and got into technology, working with the e-commerce start-up ShopNow.com and going on to co-found ITNetworks and serving in an executive position at Microsoft.
Stolz had met the founder of the French company eGull while he was working at Cobra and when the time came for eGull to explore marketing opportunities in the U.S., they called on Stolz.
eGull had many iterations before it found its “a-ha moment,” including a scorecard on a smart watch to improve the pace of play. At the end of the day, many ideas were too difficult to implement but once they added the payment option on top of the technology, Stolz said eGill created a business model that is a “win-win-win” for everybody.
The product launched in France in April 2017 and some tweaks were required before it could be introduced to the states. In France, most golf is played walking, while in the United States, 80 percent of golf is played using carts so the technology needs were very different.
“One of the things we had to do was adapt it to the American lifestyle of riding versus walking,” Stolz said.
The app is more tailored for use to the public-access courses rather than clubs like the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club—it’s intended for courses such as Torrey Pines, Coronado, Encinitas Ranch or Mount Woodson.
Stolz believes that the app is a benefit for golf courses because 50 percent of the time, courses are empty and tee times go unused.
“It brings in more revenue for the golf club because eGull Pay gives a number of opportunities to bring golfers that otherwise would not come because they don’t want to be tied to an 18-hole round,” Stolz said, listing endless opportunities for play like quick early morning holes, moms with an hour to kill from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. before they have to pick up kids from school or a golfer who wants to squeeze in a few holes at 5 p.m. and be done by 6:15 p.m. for happy hour.
“What we found in France, people who used to play three times a year, now they are golfing two times a month, playing seven holes in an hour,” Stolz said.
Playing more frequently, albeit in smaller chunks, also offers an opportunity to turn beginners into addicts and allows golf courses a way to drive rounds and revenues at their facilities.
There are currently 12 courses on the app including The Crossings in Carlsbad and St. Mark in San Marcos with an additional 100 requests. By the time of the Masters in April, Stolz is hoping to be up to 100 to 200 courses on the app.
Stolz said they’ve heard two things the most since they’ve launched the app: Golfers have asked “Why didn’t I think of this?” and golf clubs have said nobody has ever asked for it and question if it is really a need.
“We want golfers to express their voice and let their golf clubs know this is something that they want,” Stolz said.
Right now golfers who let their favorite local course know they want eGull Pay as an option can be entered in a sweepstakes to win two tickets to the 2018 Ryder Cup in France.To learn more, visit egull.golf