The game of golf has found itself stuck in a bunker when it comes to its appeal to Millennials. With young folks today favoring yoga and jogging (not to mention brunch) on the weekends, many of the sport’s leading organizations are scratching their heads as to how to revitalize its popularity. The USGA has created the PLAY9 initiative for those with time concerns and some courses are experimenting with a bigger hole to make it easier to score (…that’s what she said).
As far as tech is concerned, there are several tee time booking and score tracking apps available, but no one has successfully created a social platform for the gentleman’s game. Atlanta-based, gottaGolf, believes that by seamlessly connecting golfers with their app to build stronger communities at each course, in each city, and nationwide, they can not only increase engagement among young golfers, but also among every golfer, everywhere.
Founded by Clint Jarvis (CEO), Jesse Wallace (Design), and Kartik Patel (Development), “gottaGolf is a new way to connect with the golf world around you. Think of it as a digital country club; a place where any golfer, anywhere can share golf experiences, connect with the golfers and courses nearby, and discover rounds, outings and tournaments to join,” explains Jarvis. “The golf industry is very fragmented. If you want to connect with other golfers, you don’t have an option and if you want to find out about what is going on with the courses, you have to subscribe to 100 different newsletters. We aim to unify all of the golfers and courses in one convenient place.”
“After graduation I moved back to Atlanta and fell in love with golf. I wanted to play more and interact with all of the golfers and courses around me,” he recalls. “The thought I kept coming back to was, ‘Why isn’t there an easy way to connect with the thousands of golfers and dozens of courses that are within 10 miles of me?’ When I didn’t find a solution, I decided to build one.”
Screenshots of the gottaGolf iOS app
Clint grew up in Atlanta and started his first company, a landscaping business, as a high school student. While attending Auburn, he studied under professor Jim Corman, an entrepreneur and angel investor who invested in the Atlanta-based company, Triplingo, through his angel investment network, The AIM Group. “He introduced me to the company’s founder, Jesse Maddox, when he came to Auburn and spoke to our class. I was intrigued by his story and upon graduation, I asked Jesse if I could work with Triplingo part time to learn more about the startup world and how he built his company.”
“I began working a few days a week out of Hypepotamus with Jesse and the Triplingo team. It was an eye opening experience. I fell in love with the Atlanta startup community and quickly realized that all the pieces needed to launch a startup were sitting right in front of me, I just needed a plan of action,” says Jarvis. “I started working on an elevator pitch for my ‘social golf concept’ and telling everyone I knew about it. Jesse gave me advice about finding a team and told me about Atlanta Startup Village and Atlanta Startup Weekend. After hundreds of conversations, countless pitches, and a lot of networking, I pieced together a talented team of veterans that were willing to join me on this adventure.”
Jarvis has been bootstrapping the company for over a year by freelancing at other startups and putting every penny he makes back into the company. “My co-founders still have day jobs and we’ve built our current solution in-house by working nights and weekends together at the Atlanta Tech Village,” he adds. “Our goal is to grow to 3 million golfers and we are focusing on the Atlanta market first. We plan to expand quickly after we conquer the local area. The resources and strong community around the Atlanta have played a key role in our story and will continue to be a big part of our growth. I don’t think I could have gotten to this point in any other city.”
Download the gottaGolf app for iOS on the App Store.