Stracka entered the golf industry in 2008 with the creation of StrackaLine and the purchase of GolfNet, the game’s premier handicap and tournament management software provider. With Stracka’s technical background, he saw opportunity for advancing technology for golfers.
Since 2008, Stracka has made a name for himself in the golf industry as an innovator. Before Stracka, Greens Guides did not exist in a commercial product and now they are common place among competitive golfers.
THE STRACKA STORY
I lived in Houston for over twenty years and had a successful Security and Auditing software business. In 2002, I sold my company, PentaSafe, and decided to relocate my family to Southern California. I joined a country club called The Bridges of Rancho Santa Fe.
Coincidentally, Scotty Cameron also belonged to The Bridges and we became friends. During one of our rounds of golf, Scotty gave me one of his prototype putters called the “Detour.” At that time, I had an “Aha moment.” Scotty makes a great putter. Scotty’s putters are used by the best golfers in the world. Scotty’s putters are so beautiful, they are considered collector’s items — a piece of art. But the revelation for me was that “every putter in the world just hits the ball straight.”
Except for varying degrees of loft, every putter is a flat stick. If the golfer does not know what direction to hit the ball, no matter how good the putter is, the ball has very little chance of going into the hole.
Misreads while putting happen all the time. Think about it — if you hit the ball to the left edge of the cup and the ball is breaking left, the ball will immediately be moving away from the hole. With StrackaLine Green maps, you will be able to read putts better and have a better chance of making the putt.
With that simple thought, I found the technology to create the Green Guides, and over the last ten years, found a price point that works for golfers and golf courses. The journey has been wonderful. I get so much positive feedback from golfers on how my guides help them play better golf. Many golfers use the guides from the fairway to help with their approach shots. Then, once on the green, being able to figure out if the putt is breaking right or left and is uphill or downhill. Putting is not an exact science, but with a little more information, everyone can be a better putter.
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion?
Innovation. Discovering new innovation that helps people is very exciting to me.
How long did the development process take until the final product happened?
The development process never ends. A final product today will be considered a stepping stone in months to come. My first book took a few months to design and build.
What separates what you do versus others in the marketplace?
I never stop pushing the product forward. I am always trying to make the product better. I look at my competitors and their product has not evolved over the past few years.
Your product clearly adds a good deal of information which aids golfers in reading greens. Does it concern you your efforts may be deemed outside the scope of the rules during major competitions administered by the USGA, PGA of America and PGA TOUR?
No. In late 2017, the USGA and R&A released the new rules for 2019 and they did not change the rules to make Greens Guides illegal.
If a club wishes to engage your services what’s a ballpark figure on the costs to do the job?
$1500. For $1500, a club gets their greens laser scanned and 100 books to resell in their shop.
Given the different number of companies you have started — if you had a mulligan — what one thing would you do differently?
I learn from every success and failure. The path to a successful company is never a straight line. So, when starting any company, make sure you buy a handful of mulligans that you can use along the way.
If you can change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
Rules. The rules of golf are very intimidating to “regular” golfers. Most “regular” golfers do not know the rules of golf. When they see a professional golfer get DQ’d or penalized for a rules infraction, the impact to “regular” golfers is stunting. Their thought is ,”I do not know the rules, so I cannot play because I would just embarrass myself.”
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from? If you could offer one piece of advice to those just getting started in the golf industry what would it be?
“There is no substitute for hard work” said my dad. As for getting started in the golf industry, be patient; every golf business plan will take longer than you planned to execute.
The major golf organizations — USGA, R&A, PGA of America, LPGA, European PGA Tour — are all engaging various programs to get more people playing the game. This is especially so for Millennials, women and minorities. What would you advise they do in order to build the ranks of future golfers?
Work with schools to introduce golf to children starting in the first grade. Golf is not for everyone, but if a child it is introduced to it, that child has a better chance to play golf again at some point.
Clearly, you have long had a zest in the area of idea creation and translating them into practical business applications. What’s the next area you’re contemplating for the golf arena?
Mixed Reality(AR/VR). Many people can enjoy the game of golf away from the golf course. I will introduce a simple Augmented Reality product in 2018.
For more information on how to order a greens guide
or have a course scanned, go to www.StrackaLine.com.