Golf has been a huge part of my life. I came to the United States on an athletic scholarship and played NCAA Division 1 golf for two and a half years. My target users are golfers of a variety of skill-levels from the occasional hacker to college level golfers. Discovering a golf course that appeals to every golfer can be difficult - especially with how expensive the game of golf is and the different kinds of golfers there are. With these problems, I present Golfir, an IOS application that provides users with a way to explore courses, book a tee time, prepare for their round and provide informative statistics to improve their game.
My design prompt started with a discovery from Covid-19 - with most activities becoming unavailable due to safety precautions, golf seemed to be one of the few activities that remained open. Therefore, I attempted to identify the needs of golfers and design a better experience since I myself am very familiar with the game.
I conducted a survey with five questions to quickly quantify the characteristics of a different variety of golf players and to find out what trends were common.
Millennials are about to overtake all other age demographics as the largest market share in golf. Thirty-six percent of the nearly 24 million golfers in the United States are young adults aged eighteen to 39, according to The National Golf Foundation’s annual study of golf participation in the United States and over 15 million additional millennials expressed interest in taking up the game. Golf brands and companies that have golf as a category including Under Armour, Top Golf and Foray Golf have had a huge boost in sales targeted the "next generation".
Since millennials are overtaking the market share in golf, I found it interesting that IOS technology didn't seem to be used very often when booking a tee time or tracking statistics of any kind. The most popular way tee times were booked 20 years ago by phone call seems to not have changed over the years due to the perception of it being too complex especially for the middle-aged golfer.In fact, millennials are commonly known to hate phone calls. 75% of millennials avoid taking phone calls because they are time-consuming and 81% of millennials get apprehension anxiety before having to make a call.
Understanding millennial interest is growing in golf, I wanted to try and capture this audience - and try and avoid the phone call route.
I decided to have conversational interviews with a few golfers I already knew to get an understanding of what they needed. Chatting with Shenna, Jen and Nicolas - I came to these conclusions.
- Golfers need a better way of tracking yardages - the current way is either to guess your yardage from a course scorecards and yardage plates or to use a rangefinder costing an average of $200-$500.
- Millennial golfers want to avoid the dreaded phone calls when booking a tee time.
- Golfers need an efficient way to browse courses and read details about that course as well as book a round on one platform rather than multiple sources.
To verify what's missing in the market, I conducted a comparative analysis to compare between the top existing applications and what seems to be missing from both. I found some nice GPS features, but both apps weren’t intuitive, and they didn’t seem to me like they bring the best solutions for their users’ needs. One major issue with GolfNow was the inconsistencies between prices of the "Hot Deals" section and when you go to checkout. The app allows users to book a round at many different golf courses on any given day/time available. However, after testing and questionnaires — users found GolfNow to be difficult to use, particularly issues with checking out. SwingU focuses on providing the user with a satellite visual of each golf hole. Users are able to drop a pin on selected positions the golf course to view yardage from that specific point. However this is the only feature the app provides and with golfers becoming more in tune with available technology - it makes the most sense to provide the user with the easiest way to play golf from start to finish.
Before proceeding to build the sitemap and the wireframes, I ideated and prioritized features for the app. The features were:
- Easy sign-up and login for new and existing users.
- Explore page to search for golf courses based on distance, number of players and date/time.
- Course detail pages to break down everything you need to know about the course including: ways to contact, directions, tee length/par/slope, weather, course info and policies.
- Ability to book a course: choosing the number of players, golf cart and selecting the date/time.
- Search engine to look up a specific golf course.
- Bookmark feature to save courses for a later date
- Course layout pages to view a birds-eye view of the golf course as well as pin-pointing a specific place on the hole for the yardage.
Based on my design goals, I wanted to focal point the design principles:
Engaging: How pleasant, satisfying or interesting the ESPN social feature is to use.
Efficient: The speed and accuracy with which users can socialize with their friends/family while watching a channel.
Sketches and Wireframes
I quickly drew out sketches of the apps main functionalities.
I explored different logos for the app and after some explorations, I chose one that represented golf and exploring — A golf cart.
- For the colors, I chose the primary color to be ‘forest green’ as it gives a golf and outdoor vibe. Darker shades of blue were used for dark backgrounds. Black and grays served as the neutral colors for texts and other necessary elements.
- Before choosing ‘Palanquin’. I iterated in different font styles and ultimately settled with the Google font. Palanquin was chosen because of its monolinear style and subtle design. It’s extremely versatile and balanced for the heading and body fonts.
As a former golfer, I have plenty of ideas on how to expand this app or adding additional experiences to improve the users golf game.
- Adding a swing evaluation feature to improve your technical skills would provide the user with an easy, inexpensive and accessible way to become a better golfer.
- Since this app is primarily for the golfer, I would also like to building an experience/user flow for golf course & pro shop managers to manage tee time bookings on one single platform.
- A close up of each green for slope statistics. Currently it only shows long game statistics for each hole, I would like to be able to have a close up view of the green for players who are at a higher level. For those that use AimPoint, a common technique used to read the break of a putt, green slope statistics can be extremely beneficial and improve your score.