Golfing score app winning concept

Kieran Patchell (left) and Daniel Howe are developing a golf-scoring app which has already achieved success in business competitions. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Kieran Patchell (left) and Daniel Howe are developing a golf-scoring app which has already achieved success in business competitions. Photo by Craig Baxter.

For two University of Otago students, Chisholm Park Golf Club in Dunedin has been the site of some good rounds, some self-described shockers - and one ''business idea epiphany''.

During one particular round, long-time friends Daniel Howe and Kieran Patchell (both 22) had played the first hole and were at the tee for the second when they realised they had forgotten their score cards.

Rather than walking back a few hundred metres, and admitting to feeling a little lazy, they decided to enter their scores on their phones.

That prompted a discussion about whether there would be an existing app for that or, if not, how they might make one.

They have since developed GolfPoint, a multi-platform golf-scoring system they hope will bring scorecards ''into the 21st century''.

The idea was to use mobile app technology to not only simplify and streamline the golf administration process, but also to allow golfers to capture and record their round in a simple form and have their statistics reported back to them, Mr Howe said.

''We see huge potential for development into a connection device to link together players to other players and the wider golfing world, putting tours, clubs and fellow players in our customers' pockets.''

While still in its infancy, GolfPoint has made the top 40 in this year's Audacious Business Challenge.

It has also secured a top-three regional placing in the ANZ Flying Start business plan competition, along with Will Catton from Seethesolutions Ltd and Denis Page from HorseNZ International.

More than 600 business owners and budding entrepreneurs submitted business plans for the first stage of the Flying Start competition.

The top three from each region were then selected and invited to enter more detailed versions of their business plans for stage two.

From that final shortlist, the judges will pick 17 regional winners. That number will then be reduced to the final five best regional winners. They will be invited to pitch their plans to a panel of judges in Wellington in September. Those five will compete for $58,800 worth of prizes.

Being involved with both those competitions had been a ''fantastic way'' to refine their ideas and meet people, with knowledge and experience, happy to help a fledgling idea.

It also provided some credibility when approaching other organisations for support, Mr Howe said.

Both men were originally from Wellington, where they had been at school together since they were 10. Mr Howe is studying accounting and marketing, while Mr Patchell is a genetics (honours) and anthropology major.

The pair had reconnected with a friend from Wellington College, who did programming, and there had been discussions about getting him involved to start developing the systems.

They planned to spend some time in golf clubs doing audits of the way that clubs' processes worked so they could develop the app around actual needs. They hoped to work with New Zealand Golf and were designing an online survey for clubs.

It was hoped to launch the app at the beginning of next year. While the initial product would be a lot less than the aspirations they had for it, they wanted to get it out, then add extra functionality, Mr Howe said.

They saw GolfPoint as a ''really great opportunity'' to build a job where they could work together.

As for their own golfing prowess?

''I'd say we're part-time golfers, full-time students,'' Mr Howe said.

Originality

It continues to surprise me that innovation awards are considered for the development of ideas which are already commonplace.  There are literally thousands of apps for golf card scoring out there.  What is it that makes yet another entry into a very generic market area sufficiently different to justify progression in such a competition?