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Belfast golf tee time firm in drive to smash records after it bags 30 million bookings in year

By John Mulgrew

Published 08/04/2016

Rory McIlroy during a practice round at Augusta for the 2016 Masters
Rory McIlroy during a practice round at Augusta for the 2016 Masters

A golf business set up by two Belfast brothers is on course to break records as it drives its business to 30 million bookings in the space of just one year.

GolfNow, the brainchild of Brian and Rory Smith, makes software that lets golfers book tee times online.

The company, formerly called BRS Golf, is now part of GolfNow, a division of the Golf Channel, itself owned by US cable giant Comcast, which also owns US television network NBC.

According to Brian Smith, the business is on course to grow by around 10%, year-on-year.

With Holywood's Rory McIlroy taking to the fairways at the Masters in Augusta this week, Mr Smith said the business was set to enjoy the busiest period of the year.

"This year, we are on par to beat all records, with an anticipated 14,000 rounds of golf booked for that day alone," he added.

"The golfing industry is going through a real boom period at present.

"In addition, we recently celebrated 30 million rounds of golf booked in 2015 through our cloud-based reservation platform. That is equivalent to one booking every second all year.

"BRS Golf has generated some £12m in online revenue for our golf course partners in the UK and Ireland."

The business, which added 28 new jobs in 2014, employs 70 members of staff.

Co-founder Rory, GolfNow's vice president of integrated products, said the countdown was "well and truly on for the start of the new season.

"We are hoping to smash all targets and have another boom year, from which all of Northern Ireland will benefit," he added.

The sale of the business to Comcast was revealed during an interview with the Belfast Telegraph in 2013.

Brian said that he and older brother Rory were fanatical golfers and computer whizzes who married their passions through their tee time booking system.

Meanwhile, around eight million people in the US are expected to view a major golf marketing campaign advertisement by Tourism Ireland.

The campaign is due to air to households across the country over the next few days on the NBC Golf Channel, aimed at boosting the number of visitors to golf courses right across Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland's head of North America, said: "Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way this year, to highlight our world-class golf and encourage more Americans to consider a golfing vacation on the island of Ireland.

"Our message is that Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland offer American golfers the complete package, with some of the very best golf in the world."

Belfast Telegraph

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