In 2014, Golf Channel will expand upon its wildly successful and lucrative GolfNow booking platform with a golf-course review site.
GolfAdvisor will debut in January, according to sources within the organization. It will be a site largely based on golf course reviews and ratings from the same GolfNow customers who book their tee times using the service.
Golf Channel talent may also contribute to the site, offering their own reviews of courses as part of an increased emphasis on travel content in 2014 to be led by former Golf Digest travel editor and currently "Morning Drive" co-host Matt Ginella.
The reviews, as one might expect, somewhat emulate the review structure at Trip Advisor, a site whose reviews and recommendations can be a boon or bust for a hotel, resort or destination. Golfers will be asked to provide star ratings on various aspects of the golf experience, from course conditioning to difficulty and other factors. Users will also be able to share photos and video from the round, as well the type of golfer they are to place some context behind the reviews.
GolfNow currently offers tee times at over 4,000 courses in the United States. In exchange for access to GolfNow's large client base and marketing support from Golf Channel, the courses offer up at least one time on the tee sheet for GolfNow to price out as it sees fit. Players typically pre-pay for their rounds through GolfNow, which has also become a competitive tee-time booking platform for golf course operators.
Offering reviews and ratings as content to surround the GolfNow platform could help solidify Golf Channel's tee-time platform as the industry leader as it continues to try to take market share from Chicago-based EZLinks, whose booking engine software has been the industry benchmark for years.