Getting More Out of Golf: GameBook Event Scoring System

Getting More Out of Golf: GameBook Event Scoring SystemA few weeks ago, I had the chance to play the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club in Tampa, Florida. I was in town for the 2011 Spring Golf Inc. Conference, and on Monday they had a networking event that allowed attendees and sponsors a chance to play the course. The course actually is home to the Transitions Championship, an event held every year on the PGA Tour. It just so happened that we got the chance to play the course the week after that very tour stop. The course was under PGA Tour conditions and the greens were fast. It was a great day of golf… except for the rain.

But enough about the golf course, the point of this blog post is to talk about one of the event sponsors. When I was getting my stuff ready for the day, I noticed that GameBook was a sponsor of the outing. I had never heard of GameBook, and thought nothing of it. I thought nothing of it until we were greeted by a GameBook representative on the first tee.

He handed us a device, a little bit larger than a cell phone, and introduced himself on behalf of GameBook. He explained the device and asked that we keep track of all our scores on it for the day, rather than the scorecard that was waiting for us on each of our carts. He proceeded to give a demonstration of the device, and talked about the different ways you can use it. I wasn’t impressed until I began using the device.

Imagine a digital scorecard. It’s that simple. We were using it as a way to keep track of everyone’s score, not just our own. Each team was entered in before we teed off, more than likely done by a member of GameBook. Of course, someone from the conference very well could have entered all that data. Regardless, you enter your score on each hole and as you move along it keeps a running total. If you turn the device horizontal, you see the scores of all teams, as you are taken to a leaderboard.

This is great for outings… but how could this device benefit you, the average golfer? First off, it offers live scoring for all events. Whether you are playing a round by yourself or you are in an outing with your friends, GameBook will keep track of all scores for you. And don’t worry, if you don’t actually have the device in hand, you can download the application on your iPhone and other smartphones.

The thing that I like most about GameBook is the instant up-to-date scoring. No matter where you are on the golf course, you can see where your competition is and where they are in relation to par. This could be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on how you play. For an outing, I think it’s great, especially when you are playing a scramble. We played a scramble at Innisbrook.

Bringing in the Side Games

GameBook also allows you to keep track of side games, like closest to the pin and longest drive. During our round at Innisbrook, they had us set up for closest to the pin as well as longest drive. When you arrived at the hole that had the side game, you were notified of who was in the lead and what the length/distance was. It your tee shot and you enter your result. Did you beat the person in the lead?

GameBook is great about keeping track of all of these scores during your round. So not only are you keeping track of your score, you are also keeping track of your side games. Everyone is on the same page here, and there is no way for you to really “cheat the system”. I say that loosely, as you could theoretically enter any score that you wanted. But I hope that, as golfers, we have a little more respect for the game than to do that.

2009 British Open Championship champion Stewart Cink had this to say about GameBook:

“GameBook elevates the atmosphere of regular golf tournaments with a tour-like scoring experience. I have used GameBook in many of my charity golf outings getting overwhelmingly positive feedback from all players – amateurs and professional alike.”

GameBook Tournament Management Service

GameBook goes beyond the applications. There is a dashboard that works in all web browsers and lets you organize and manage your event before you hand off the device. You can create the event, both primary and side games, and even manage the players, teams, flights and pairings right from your desktop.

The system requires no software to download, and no installation is required. You simply go to the website and begin entering in your information. And did I forget to mention that GameBook also has Facebook integration so that once you have completed your round you can simply post your scores to your Facebook page. There’s no better way to brag about your great round than on Facebook!

This device was a blast to use, and while the application isn’t free, I have a lot of ideas on how to make this system better. First off, does it keep my score on any golf course that I play? I am talking as a solo user here, using this as my scorecard, not for an event or an outing. Does this keep track of my fairways, greens, and putts? How much data does it store? Can it keep my official USGA handicap based on the rounds that I play? The only way this would be beneficial for me to own is if it allows me total control over my stats on a per-round basis.

Imagine a device that you can keep your scores on, record all your stats, and then view all your stats once you get home. The fact that said device would integrate with the USGA handicap system makes it that much more appealing. I’m not sure GameBook does that… yet? Perhaps I should call the guys over at GameBook and see if I can’t get a call with their R&D team. Regardless, it was a blast to use during my round, and I highly recommend checking it out if you have plans on hosting an event anytime in the near future. I would love to see an event run on the iPhone and not even use the handheld devices that GameBook provides. (They limit these to 36 per event, so if you have more than 36 guys playing in your tournament, you are out of luck.)

GameBook was fun for me and I am sure that you will enjoy it too. I’m just not sure they are quite there yet as being beneficial for all players. But if not GameBook, someone will figure that out sooner or later. If not me, then who?