iGolf: A Trailblazer in the World of Golf Technology

iGolf: A Trailblazer in the World of Golf Technology
Original article found at NewEngland.golf — written by Bill Sangster

ORLANDO, Florida (Jan. 31, 2023) – Over the last 20 years, iGolf established a strong global presence in golf data mapping and is still a best kept secret of the golf technology industry best-kept secret – until now.

A long-running belief by employees and partners of the company is if you play golf, more than likely you’ve benefited from something iGolf has contributed to the industry.

That touchpoint could be something as simple as GPS maps in a golf watch or as complex as a semi-autonomous electric trolley. Working with over 65 brands, including Fortune 500 companies, iGolf’s intellectual property has found its way into a variety of products including golf cars, watches, lasers, handhelds, mobile apps, electric push carts (trolleys), launch monitors, speakers and even gaming environments. 

The origins of iGolf date back to when CEO and Founder Brian Verdugo was a student at San Diego State University, learning to play golf during his spare time from earning a degree in economics.

“I’d find myself on a golf course thinking: ‘There’s got to be a better way of doing this.’ At that time, I had a palm pilot and I thought why can’t we put something on these devices instead of using a laser, which at that time was challenging to use,” said Verdugo. “Why not figure out a way to use your smart device (later a smartphone) for GPS distances, so golfers would know how far they hit their golf ball?”

This light-bulb moment initially transitioned into a hobby for Verdugo, who enjoyed handing out re-purposed palm pilots to his golf buddies and then observing their reactions.

“It quickly went from: ‘That’s cool,’ to ‘Well, how do I get it to work on my course?’ I would say: ‘Well, you have to go map it and that takes about two hours.’ And then they’d pause and say: ‘No, I don’t want that. When my course is mapped, call me and I’ll buy one’ Their reactions certainly confirmed that the opportunity was there, but one of the barriers to entry was mapping out an infinite number of golf courses,” said Verdugo.

“On the flip side, people really liked the concept and the technology. So, I funded the initial round, and then took investment money from two women who ran a small venture capital fund, Del Mar Ventures. We raised half a million dollars and within three years paid it back and repurchased all their shares.”

The rest is history and Verdugo has established himself as a trailblazer in the world of golf technology.

He also figured out early on that a fulfilling life is one where a career is built around personal passions, which in his case were flying, boating and playing golf. It just happened to be the case that all three of these industries were all about to enter a hyper growth phase in technological advancements.

Consequently, those random rounds of golf which Verdugo played on various courses in Southern California led him to create what we know today as Golf GPS, for which he’s credited as one its early inventors and collaborators. He also gives Richard Edmondson from SkyCaddie credit as they both were pioneers for consumer Golf GPS when many doubted its relevance and importance to the game. 

However, the journey to date has been both quiet and understated for a handful of reasons – and it all started with the tireless efforts of a driven, motivated and innovative twenty-something who loved to tinker in the solitude of his research laboratory.

That proved to be a very wise use of a young entrepreneur’s labors because Verdugo and the earliest incarnation of iGolf were at the forefront of cutting-edge GPS technology and mapping-related products.

Fast forward to now, iGolf is providing technological advances in software, hardware and GPS content for the golfing sector while continuing to grow its robust database of GPS information for roughly 40,000 golf courses in more than 150 different countries in a 3D environment including terrain. 

“Imagine building golf courses and seeing what they’ll look like in real time or pre-processed autonomous maps for follow me vehicles. The day will come when even golf cars will be fully autonomous. And we’ll be there to power them,” adds Verdugo.

Dare to dream big was the mantra early on. Verdugo and his iGolf team have already conquered a few mountains and exceeded some of their own expectations; now it is time for them to step up another gear for the next act, leaving a lasting impact on the game of golf while inspiring the next wave of innovators.

Verdugo believes change and growth are not just inevitable but necessary for the game of golf to grow with younger generations. All while understanding the importance of history and traditions of the sport.

If golf is going to thrive generation after generation, then a melding of the traditional ways with the new is crucial – and the iGolf’s mission to bridge that gap while providing the same cutting-edge technology for both the established brands and the next wave of disruptors.

About iGolf:

iGolf began as a data mapping company which has become a brand uniquely focused on providing the golf technology sector with advancements in software, hardware and GPS content. With a strong global presence in golf data mapping spanning more than 20 years, iGolf is perfectly positioned to license companies Golf GPS maps for nearly 40,000 golf courses in 150 different countries. iGolf has invested heavily in adding new intellectual property to its portfolio including radar-based launch monitor technology, laser range finder sensors, trolley and golf car intelligence, 3D elevation terrain on 23,000-plus courses and virtual reality environments for the gaming sector. Over 60 licensees, including Fortune 500 companies, rely on iGolf’s technology to bring advanced products into the hardware, software and mobile sectors.

Unlock endless potential at iGolf.com

For further information: email us at media@igolf.com, or reach out directly to George McNeilly at 407-791-6851.

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