The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to leave a lasting impression on the way clubs manage their operations, not least in the area of competition and social scoring.
Initially fast-tracked by MiClub as a six-month free trial to assist clubs in managing social distancing requirements, the MiScore digital scoring app looks set to become the scoring method of choice as both club management and golfers alike warm to the benefits of a digital platform over a traditional paper scorecard.
Golf’s governing bodies – the R&A, USGA and Golf Australia – encouraged the move to digital scoring in 2019 as they set about making golf more appealing to the younger generations.
The introduction of digital scoring pre COVID turned out to be very fortunate in its timing.
During the Covid period, which has seen an unprecedented increase in online timesheet bookings, a growing number of clubs across the country have seen scorecard use drop by up to 95%. Furthermore, the uptake of digital scoring via the MiScore App has been prevalent across all age groups, further dispelling the myth that new technologies aren’t being embraced by older generation club members.
Will digital scoring continue post-COVID?
It certainly appears that digital scoring will overtake traditional scorecards post-COVID. A high percentage of clubs using the MiScore App have reported between 80 – 95% of scores being submitted digitally, surprising many in the industry given that it is still optional for members to use paper scorecards.
Feedback in the form of over 1600 survey forms, emails and phone calls has been overwhelmingly positive. The often-cited concern of older membership demographics has again being shown not to be a significant issue, with 80% of survey respondents were aged over 55 years of age.
“Very easy to use once one gets used to the system. Will try the distance features next game as has been concentrating on using it correctly, at my age of 87 I find it very helpful. My various playing partners have also found it great & prefer it to cards. Some did both for a couple of games but now digitally only.”
-John Morris – Busselton Golf Club, WA
“The ease of using it, I am in my senior years and find it very user friendly, all information so easy to access, MiScore is the greatest thing, easy to use, no more pencils, scoring cards, at my Club have not found a Member that is not using the app. Well done MiScore!”
-Graham Mackay – Eastern Golf Club, VIC
“I like it a lot. I never want to use a pencil and a scorecard again. It’s simple and seems to operate logically at least for me. Don’t make it too complicated if you make changes. I don’t have any recommendations.”
-Wayne Gill – Charlestown Golf Club, NSW
Club staff and management committees alike have been overwhelmingly supportive of the recent changes, not only in assisting to reduce physical ‘touchpoints’ around the club but noting in particular that the immediacy, speed, and efficiency of the digital platform has greatly assisted in their daily competition management. The pending addition of a full interactive Pace of Play module in the coming months has also created considerable interest.
The portability and immediate availability of digital scoring have also appealed to golf organisers who move from course to course, with inquiries to utilise digital scoring for many events outside the standard club competition format rapidly increasing.
Public courses are also coming on board as they embrace the opportunity to make significant savings on scorecards and provide value-added services to clients.
Amongst the club fraternity, the uptake of digital scoring has been shared equally, with notable early adopters having included The Royal Melbourne Golf Club who had sought a digital scoring option well before recent COVID restrictions were implemented.
While some clubs have noted concerns over the misuse of phones on course as a reason to not move forward in adopting the MiScore App platform, clubs with previously strict mobile phone policies have not reported significant issues or negativities with the relaxation of the phone use for scoring.
At the time of writing, over 200 clubs and 130,000 club members across Australia are using the MiScore App digital scoring platform, with hundreds of more golfers coming onboard daily.
As one CEO of a leading Australian club stated, “once you give members digital scoring there is no way you can take it away from them”.