Right on course
App idea involving drone brings students award at world event
March 2, 2016
playing golf. You reach the 14th hole and, rough day that it has been, you’ve
run out of golf balls.
You pull out your
smartphone, access an app and order more balls from the pro shop. Within a few minutes,
two sleeves of balls are delivered by a drone, which lands at your feet.
That’s just one
scenario University of Wisconsin-Stout School of Hospitality Leadership students
envision with their concept app, Club Air.
While Club Air may
sound futuristic, it had golf club managers from around the world talking
recently at the Club Managers Association of America world conference in San
They liked the idea so
much that the UW-Stout chapter won a Club of the Future award at the
conference, which was attended by more than 2,500 club managers and 350
The app would target
tech-savvy millennial golfers, who also could use it to:
- Bypass the pro shop check-in if they’re running late for the first
- Order food and beverages from the course and have the order
delivered by drone.
- Make dinner reservations at the course
- Get e-receipts.
- Upload a personal profile and share it when playing other courses
The app, for example,
could remind a golfer on the seventh hole that he or she typically likes to
order a beverage on that hole.
A ‘very realistic’ idea
With its advantages,
Club Air could speed up the pace of play and improve overall operations efficiency
at clubs, said Taylor Kadrlik and Ryan Hoag, who developed the idea and gave
the presentation in San Diego.
“I think the idea made a great impression on people because it
is very realistic. There are similar apps out there, but the only difference is
that they don’t incorporate a drone into their system,” said Kadrlik, of Baldwin, a junior in golf enterprise management.
“Millennials want things done on the spot.”
Kadrlik and Hoag are
looking into the possibility of turning Club Air into a real app. “I
think it will help clubs increase their customer service and increase sales. If
you really think about it, a beverage cart only comes around once every nine
holes. So if you play 18 holes you will only get served two, maybe three times
depending on how busy the course is. More sales equal more income to the club,”
Hoag said the idea
captured the attention of club managers. “Because of the relevancy of
the idea, during our presentation we fielded many questions from club managers
and other professionals; they all had a very strong interest and showed a great
curiosity on how the technology could be implemented at their club,” said Hoag, of Roseville, Minn., a freshman
in golf enterprise management.
Hoag said clubs
already are using drones to take photos of their courses, so incorporating
drone use into an app to better serve customers isn’t far off. The drone would be programmed to land at
designated sites on fairways and tee boxes.
Kadrlik and Hoag
said they received critical support on the Club Air project from Rollie Carlson
of the CMAA Upper Midwest chapter. The Upper Midwest chapter and Wisconsin
Badger CMAA chapter also provided financial support to help students attend the
UW-Stout won the
award in the app division. Club of the Future awards were given out in four
other categories involving about 25 student teams total.
The UW-Stout chapter
also won a Club of the Future award in 2014.
Tim Komaromy and Associate Professor Phil McGuirk, who accompanied the 13 students
at the conference, provided input on Club Air.
Komaromy, Kadrlik and Hoag said the conference experience is
“The world conference is an excellent educational and
networking experience for not only students interested in the private club
industry but all students. No other organization can bring together 350
students and upwards of 2,500 industry professionals from around the world in
one location like CMAA does,” said Komaromy, of Algonquin, Ill., a junior
majoring in hotel, restaurant and tourism management.
In recent years, every UW-Stout CMAA member at conference has
returned with an internship or full-time position, Komaromy said.
McGuirk founded UW-Stout’s CMAA chapter, the first one
admitted to the national organization, in 1975.
The conference featured speakers, education sessions and a
UW-Stout’s chapter of the Club Managers Association of
America won a Club of the Future award at the world conference for its Club Air
app idea. Clockwise from upper left are Taylor Kadrlik, Ryan Hoag, Tim Komaromy
and Associate Professor Phil McGuirk.