A Quick Nine with Ron Zevy, Founder and President of Golf Points Index. http://www.golfpointsindex.com
@36aday is pleased to introduce interviews with leaders in the game of golf. Nine questions are presented to probe important issues of the game, personal experiences, stories and insight. Just like 9 holes of golf, I hope you find this enjoyable and that it leaves you wanting more.
- I am pleased to be joined by Ron Zevy, Founder and President of Golf Points Index. Thanks for joining me for a Quick 9, Ron. Golf Points Index. For those who are not familiar, what is GPI?
RZ – Golf Points Index is a golf scoring and handicap system which uses points earned on individual holes in relation to par in order to keep score and track progress.
It awards 1/2 point for a double bogey, no points for doubles if your GPI is under 10, 1 point for a bogey, 3 points, for a par, 5 points for a birdie, and 8 points for an eagle. All other results are scores as a 0. Your GPI handicap is the 9-hole average point total over the last 180 holes played. It is a way to benchmark your progress and allows golfers of different abilities to compete on an even playing level. So for example, a golfer with a GPI of 18 playing a golfer with a GPI of 15 would give his opponent a 3 point lead in a 9 hole match
36aday – So to be clear, based on your points system a higher GPI good. I know your website provides more details on this and even allows for people to register and track their own GPI.
RZ – Yes, our slogan is ‘When They Go Low, We Go High’. For us, a higher index, the better. And people can register to create their own GPI handicap.
- What is the problem or issue that GPI is seeking to address?
RZ – The stroke based scoring system renders meaningless what is arguably the most compelling and interesting part of the game. That is, the challenge to make par or better on each individual hole. How can a birdie only be worth one stroke less than a par when it is considerably harder to achieve? The graduated scoring system equitably rewards good play and does not unfairly punish bad play. A poor start can be redeemed by one or two good holes while a good start cannot be obliterated by a poor finish. If you score a birdie, those are 5 points that cannot be erased even if you then make 3 doubles.
GPI allows you to play as many or as few holes as you want and still post a score towards your handicap. You don’t have to play 9 or 18 holes. If you are only playing a GPI scoring game, then you pick up if you can’t make double or better. It speeds up the pace which is also a benefit.
Finally, GPI is free, and does not require you to belong to a golf club in order to carry a handicap.
- How has GPI been received in the golf community?
RZ – The response has been very positive and we are especially buoyed by the enthusiasm we are seeing from The First Tee chapters. While we knew it would be well received by mid and high handicap players, who welcome the opportunity to benchmark their progress in an encouraging and engaging manner, it was especially gratifying to see the response by low handicappers who have embraced it for match play.
- Has there been any criticism by people to this and what would be your message to critics?
RZ – We have not encountered criticism in large part, I believe, because we are positioning it not as a replacement to the current system but rather as a companion. Any new innovation perceived as something which can help sustain and grow the game should be well received.
- Who should be engaging with you about this new scoring system? Are you marketing to courses or players, or both?
RZ – We are pitching it to golf courses, golf clubs, organizations, and individuals. Both the website and apps are free. We set up golf courses/clubs with a free portal which allow them to create accounts for their members, download customized score cards, and track their results.
Individuals can use the website to add partners and set up and track matches.
In addition, we are launching our new Play With a Pro feature which allows juniors, and those of us young at heart, to partner with a PGA pro in virtual match play.
- I notice you’re working with The First Tee and TPC Harding Park. Are there expansion plans?
RZ – We have set up about a dozen First Tee chapters so they can pilot the program in the new year. The nature of the scoring system, the ability to play only a handful of holes and still enter scores, and the excitement of having their first live handicap, has made it an appealing proposition. We hope to grow the number of chapters in 2018.
- I understand the concept but I am curious about the business model? What does success look like for you for GPI?
RZ – GPI is a passion project for me. The website and apps are free and we have no revenue model. Our challenge is to launch the first new handicap system in over 100 years. I think success for me would be standing on the first tee and a stranger asking me what my GPI was.
36aday – That would be very cool!
- How about yourself. Are you a golfer and do you use GPI regularly?
RZ – I am an avid golfer and play both in Toronto and in Florida where I spend the winter. I currently have a GPI of 15.8. I only keep score with GPI as does anyone playing with me 🙂
- Ron, this is a standard question in this – what course tops your bucket list and who would be in your dream foursome?
RZ – Like many others, Augusta National is a course that I would love to play and see how many points I could get on it. While there are many professional golfers and personalities I would love to meet, I think I would still prefer to play that course with my regular foursome of friends- they know to be generous with short putts 🙂
36aday – Ron, thank you for your time and for sharing about this very interesting innovation to golf scoring.
RZ – My pleasure Mike, thanks for speaking with me!