Launched by Jim Lafferty in January, the website lets golfers place ads detailing when they want to play, their average score, gender, and age, or search ads for playing companions. The website is currently free, but will likely require a subscription as it grows.
Jim Lafferty, 47, found himself in a predicament one day about a year ago, when he wanted to play a round of golf but didn’t have a playing partner. He turned to the internet, looking for a website that would help him find a playing partner, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“All I found were dating sites,” said Lafferty, a married father of three.
He set out to serve his and others’ tee-time needs by developing ReadyToPlayGolf.com, a website he launched in January where golfers can place ads detailing the basics—when they want to play, their average score, gender, and age—or search ads for playing companions. As Lafferty works to establish proof of concept, access to the site is free. That’ll likely change to possibly $10 to $20 a year as use grows. Lafferty said he’s been averaging four or five subscribers a day the past month. His goal is 100 subscribers every 10-mile radius, first in the Philadelphia region and then in other cities, the Inquirer reported.
Initially, advertising revenue will come from Google ads on the site and affiliate ads to, for instance, a golf equipment page on eBay, from which Lafferty would collect a 10 to 15 percent commission on purchases made. Once traffic to the site grows, he’ll solicit his own ads, the Inquirer reported.
Without a fat budget, marketing has been dependent on sheer hustle. Lafferty has dropped off business cards at nearly every public golf course in the Philadelphia region, and at some in Florida and Maryland while on business trips, the Inquirer reported.
Lafferty said courses in the Philadelphia market have rolled out the welcome mat for ReadyToPlayGolf.com, seeing potential for not only gaining more general players but also participants for charity outings, which have been on the decline. “Every course I’ve approached has agreed to put my cards out,” Lafferty said. “This can only help them get more rounds.”
At Skippack Golf Club at Evansburg State Park, where singles cannot book tee times, Lafferty’s business cards have been on the front counter in the pro shop for about a month, said General Manager Tim Astheimer.
“I believe there will be a demand for this product,” he said, noting that when he started at Skippack 20 years ago cleaning golf carts “we were doing 8,000 to 10,000 rounds more than we are this year. When I first started, it was easy as a golf operator because of the Tiger boom,” Astheimer said.
“The idea is, hopefully, after you use the site a few times, you see the same people posting ads, you play with some of the same people, foster relationships, you might create some golf buddies for life,” Lafferty said.