As published in the January 2015 edition of PGA Magazine. Article by Lisa Goulian.
When Foresight Sports uses the copyrighted slogan “Game Changer” in its advertising and marketing materials, the San Diego, California-based company isn’t only referring to the way its launch monitors and simulators can help your golf game.
Foresight has revolutionized these product categories since making its debut five years ago, bringing camera-based technology into a market that had been dominated by radar –and helping drive down the pricing of these products dramatically.
“We introduced technology that matched the accuracies established by radar outdoors,while greatly exceeding the accuracies indoors, all at a lower price that wasn’t there before 2010,” says Scott Werbelow, president of Foresight Sports. “Prior to our launch in2010, you could get good technology, but it was really expensive.” In fact, the top radar system at the time cost around $30,000,while the other market leader offered a unit for between $15,000 and $20,000.
Compare this to Foresight’s initial price of$6,000, which eventually drove the competitors’ pricing to under $10,000 – even as Foresight’s rose to $6,700 per unit.
“It’s difficult to bring new technology to their market and challenge the existing technology, but even more so when you consider our competitors’ prices dropped significantly, while ours actually went up about 10 percent,” Werbelow says.
It’s tough to argue with the numbers: the company, founded by partners Werbelow, Jon Watters and Scott Wilson and later joined by Chief Technology Officer Chris Kiraly, has grown from six employees in the startup year of2009 to 40 today. The first year they sold 800units; at press time, they were expecting the total for 2014 to be around 3,000 units sold.
“That’s pretty meteoric growth,” says Watters. “We started with the GC2 Smart Camera System, have since added HMT Head Measurement Technology and every year we’re expanding on those technologies and will always be looking to bring something new and innovative to the market.”
The latest is a performance kiosk that is an ultra-portable, touch screen driven, simulator on wheels that can be moved easily allowing golfers to practice, compete and play a simulated game of golf from many different locations. That means a golf facility can use it indoors in the colder months and outdoors during the season.
In addition to golf facilities, Foresight’s technology is also being applied in the research and development labs of golf OEMs; in many of the game’s premier testing facilities, including the USGA’s; by top golf retailers; by companies providing amenities for their employees; by event coordinators using the technology for special events; and in the homes of avid golfers who want to use it with their friends. If you need further validation, 80 PGA Tour players have purchased the products.
Foresight appears poised for even greater growth, as with the recent acquisition of their critically acclaimed graphics engine, the company is now what Watters likes to call “vertically integrated.” This means all Foresight products, software included, are now designed,engineered and manufactured under one roof —all in the U.S. — which puts them in a position to be able to respond to customer needs and react faster to market demands and changes.
As for a lack of growth in golf participation,Watters says Foresight’s technology can only help, as it addresses complaints often heard about the game, including lack of accessibility, cost, time commitment address codes. Not to mention technology attracts the younger demographic, the future of golf. “If it attracts new people to the game,eventually they’ll get out on the course,”explains Watters. “We’re not trying to say we’re replacing golf. We’re working in conjunction with golf courses, which can transition to simulators in the colder months and give people a reason to come out in the off months. For the younger generation, this satisfies their need for technology and feedback, and it gives PGA Professionals a way to continue to create additional revenue.”