One of the UK's busiest golf resorts, The Belfry, is using the latest GPS technology to remotely control its golf car fleet, optimise course maintenance, pace of play and drive additional revenues.
The former Ryder Cup venue and Home of the PGA in the UK, has boosted its golf-car fleet with 80 of the latest electric Club Car Precedent i2 and i2L vehicles, all fitted with the groundbreaking Visage GPS mobile golf information system.
Director of Golf at The Belfry, Gary Silcock, explained that just one person can now remotely control where golf cars drive on the course with a simple map-based computer application.
"Visage is invaluable in allowing us to programme a golf car's movement on the course," he said.
"The system has enabled us to create virtual buggy paths. So, when it's wet, we map out a buggy route on the computer along which the cars can travel but cannot deviate because of the automated GPS control.
"What's important about this is that it will increase the number of days the golf cars are operating in the wet without adversely affecting course condition. In October 2010 alone, the golf cars were off the course for 10 days because of bad weather, but with Visage we might only lose two or three days, increasing our revenues."
Visage technology now also enables the Belfry to send golfers messages about pace of play, control car speed, check the battery and disable the car when parked to prevent misuse.
Phil Lewin of GPSI, which makes the Visage system, said: "The purpose of Visage is to benefit both the player and the golf course operator.
"The course operator can control where the car goes, limiting it to designated areas and preventing the car from going into any hazards, water, car parks, or out of the course.
"Visage is the only system that can control the engine of the cart in this way. It can slow it right down, stop it altogether and send messages to the golfer explaining why this is being done. Visage protects the golf course and protects the venue's assets being stolen or used inappropriately."
The system the Belfry is using comes with a wealth of consumer benefits designed to enhance the customer experience and generate increased rental income.
A user-friendly 10-inch touch-screen features precise shot and distance information, flyover video graphics of each hole, complete with audio tips from the Belfry's PGA Professionals, a food and beverage ordering facility, plus a live scoreboard for society and corporate competitions.
"The ability to order food and drink, or monitor live scoring during a corporategolf day, are great innovations within Visage," added Gary Silcock. "We are already seeing the results of being able to upsell these benefits - it's what customers want."