Belfast Telegraph

Golf website drives off the tee with new HQ in Newry

BY CLARE WEIR

A Co Down company is creating 12 new jobs and making a £600,000 investment in its dedicated golf website.

GolfJug.com, created by Irish entrepreneurs Greg Francis and Ian McGuinness, is establishing a head office in Newry.

The company's web portal will provide golfers around the world with original golf TV and access to performance statistics for professional players as well as video tutorials, competitions and golfing merchandise. It will also stream original golf programmes and weekly news shows.

GolfJug.com already has 35,000 Twitter followers and 200,000 people globally have signed up to follow the sport on their PCs, tablets and smartphones.

Invest NI has offered GolfJug £167,445 in assistance, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The sum also includes £45,000 under the jobs fund.

The news comes a day after it emerged that Belfast brothers Brian and Rory Smith have sold their software company BRS Golf to GolfNow, a division of the Golf Channel, itself owned by US cable giant Comcast.

Greg Francis said that the portal would make watching the sport more user-friendly.

"We know what golfers want and don't want to penalise them with adverts when they want to view the best golf has to offer," he said.

"Invest Northern Ireland's research and development support allowed us to develop the software for the site to make all of the functionality we want a reality.

"The availability of skilled ICT professionals in Northern Ireland was a crucial factor in our decision to locate in Newry.

"Invest NI's jobs fund support has also meant we are able to get a team in place quickly and begin capitalising on the huge interest in golf, both at home in Northern Ireland and internationally."

Barry McBride, Invest NI's executive director of international business, said that GolfJug is an ambitious start up company with high export growth potential.

He added: "Once again the quality of our workforce has been a key influencer in the company's decision to locate here.

"This is an innovative new venture that will be able to tap into the local software development talent pool here in Northern Ireland."

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