We caught up with John to find out more about his experiences to date and this innovative piece of wearable technology.
Hi John. Can you tell me a bit about your background and how you ended up designing Game Golf?
I am an entrepreneur for the past 15 years. Having worked both as a software engineer and in the field of behavioral psychology as applied to sport, GAME and GAME GOLF combine my two loves, technology and sports. I also am a co-contributor for the book Business Model Generation which is now used in universities such as Stanford, Harvard etc.
After a successful Indiegogo campaign, how did you find using this method for funding and can you tell us what you feel are the positives and negatives of taking this avenue?
Positives are it gives fantastic visibility to the company to the product and brings revenue via contributions into the company
Negatives are you just committed to your contributors a timeline for the product to be delivered. It makes it real!
Can you explain how the whole Game Golf system works?
GAME GOLF is the world’s first automatic shot tracking system for today’s golfer. It consists of a small, lightweight device worn on the player’s belt and individual sensor tags that attach to the top of the grip on each club, records every shot played during a round of golf using GPS and motion sensing technology.
By simply tapping the GAME GOLF sensor tag to the device worn on the waist, the GAME GOLF device automatically records the course, location on the hole, club used, club distance, and accuracy. After the round, the golfer simply uploads the data via computer to GAMEGOLF.com for review of every shot from every round, which can also be viewed via a mobile app or web platform.
The USGA and the R&A have ruled that GAME GOLF is “Permitted under The Rules of Golf” and is already being used in competition.
GAME GOLF has strategic partnerships with the most influential entities in the golf world, including The PGA of America and Golf Channel. In addition, PGA Tour professionals working with GAME GOLF to develop the product are 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, 2003 U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk, and Lee Westwood. McDowell has been testing and providing feedback on the product for the last two years. President Barack Obama was also spotted using GAME GOLF during his vacation at Martha’s Vineyard in August.
GAME GOLF is currently available in golf specialty stores, online at www.GAMEGOLF.com, amazon.com, Apple stores and specialty retailers throughout Europe for $199.
You’re now based in San Francisco. Did you feel as a company you needed to be based there or was it more to do with establishing partnerships such as the one with the PGA?
From day one I wanted the company to be design led versus technology led. Yves Behar considered to be one of the top product designers, lives and works in San Francisco. Also knowing the company would need considerable investment to launch a consumer product to a global market I felt my opportunity to make that happen was in Silicon Valley.
It must have been a nice moment for the team to see President Obama using your product during the summer?
We estimate that event gave the company at least $3Million dollars worth of free PR not to mention the personal satisfaction of seeing something you have been working on for 6 years appear on the clubs of The President of the United States! It appeared on numerous TV stations, media, print etc.
We interviewed Vinny Coyne some time back for our site, just as Game Golf was starting out. Can you tell me some more about the rest of your team and is there a strong Irish contingent out there with you?
The company is Irish at its core and this in the world of golf I believe is a very strong advantage. Graeme McDowell was our first Sports Star and has contributed to the R&D of the product over the years. We have a strong presence in Galway and in San Francisco. The Galway team leads our mobile and mapping initiatives. Their work ethic and attitude is second to none.
Have you encountered any resistance from the pros introducing wearable technology like this or have you found they are only too happy to try gain an advantage by using it?
The process of tagging each shot is actually a mental routine that came from Graeme McDowell. For the Sports Stars as well as the data collection they love the fact that the system is a way for them to connect with their fans through their golf data.
You plan on taking your tracking technology to other sports in the future. Have you any details about this or is it still in the works?
This is still cooking but watch this space. We know that we can compete on a global stage – not just compete but lead. We created this category for Golf and we intend to use that same process for multiple sports to become the No 1 Digital Sports Platform for the 600 Million active consumers worldwide.
What does the future hold for Game Golf and John McGuire?
Great to get a round of Golf in with President Obama! Being the person I am I continually look for areas where there is a cross section between technology, behavior and future trends. Somewhere in that intersection there is opportunity? We have started with golf – aspirations for multiple sports and after that there is a vision also – that’s for another day as its very far-fetched, much like GAME GOLF was 6 years ago.